In our previous article we dealt with how to plan and deliver on your website goals. This week we’re looking into some of the biggest early decisions to make for your business’ website…
Some of your early decisions will include what to actually call your website URL, and how you can get ownership of that website through a hosting service that will benefit your business the most. This article provides some guidelines, starter terms and reviews some common rumours to help you get a handle on making an informed decision and avoid rushing the details, whether you are starting out or are considering making changes to your business website.
Here are some recommendations for anyone in this position including those who are considering changing their hosting service…
- Be sure to consider as many options as possible, become familiar with package limitations and what different web hosting services promote as their key service benefits. Don’t forget to also view any hidden costs (renewal, data-transfer, phone calls or similar)
- You don’t need to limit yourself by geography, but keep time zones in mind when tech support is available
- Go beyond the service’s website for reviews and information on big “no-no” factors such as server down time and support responsiveness, http://whirlpool.net.au/ can be very helpful for this
- Avoid just going with the cheapest option, saving a few dollars a month isn’t worth the pain of half-day server failures or finding out too late that your data hasn’t been backed up
- Decide for yourself what you need and don’t need, anticipate site updates and changes that are a part of your online business goals
- Hosting: When a hosting service makes your web-ready material available to others on the internet. This normally includes a package of options you can make available through a server such as email, databases, sites with Z amount of memory, domain names and files.
- Server: Similar to a high speed computer, when you’re searching the web a server containing the relevant information will send it to your computer through a high speed net connection.
- Domain: A uniquely named and owned part of the web which can connect to similar pages bearing the same basic domain name. i.e. www.domainnamehere.com
- IP Address: All individual servers have an IP address eg. ‘3220.127.116.11’ when a user is searching for your domain they will be directed to your IP address which contains the files on your website.
- That holding onto a domain for several years will give you ‘search authority’ for search engines such as Google. The simple truth is that while time is a small factor, if you’re not investing into a site, it will grow cobwebs like anything else.
- That your site name has to include certain words. Calling your site ‘QualityPhysiotherapyMelbourne.com’ for example may actually do more harm than good. Aside from being too long, to the viewer names like this may represent a directory or information source and may not differentiate you from other service providers.
- That ending a domain name in “.com” will always get you more business. Using “.com.au” is widely accepted for Australian businesses and may have more flexibility and availability for your name.
“To Do” For My Business
I have listed and understood what my site needs to function effectively, and have an idea of where I think it could grow in the future.
My preferred domain name is short, understandable, memorable and representative of my business.
I’ve looked into several providers and what people have said about them.
The chosen service provides ongoing support and security. They will also advise me of expiration times and renewal charges well in advance.
I will maintain and monitor the email address I have selected to be advised of expiration dates (otherwise the domain name will be lost due to your failure to renew).
Web Hosting Options in Practice
If you anticipate needing an e-commerce sales or appointment function available directly from your website, make sure your host service can allow for automation of that process online as much as possible. Be sure to review the level of tech support available and what kind of package upgrades may be necessary. For example, if you can save mountains of time by allowing users to book an appointment or buy a product through your website just be sure to take into account how easy it will be for staff to be able to manage this process and use the system correctly when the time comes.