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What Does a Small Business Need to Get Started on the Internet?
Before you can sell products and do business online, you need an up-and-running website. This is a step-by-step process, and doesn’t have to be complicated if you have the right tools and know-how. That’s exactly what we want to take you through – think smart, start right and enjoy a profitable web presence over time.
Get a domain name
The very first thing you need when setting up shop online is a domain name, i.e. a ‘nameofyourbusiness.com’. Zeroing in on a good domain name is an auspicious start – do some research and first ensure that the names you have in mind are not already registered. Brainstorm to come up with word-combinations that accurately represent your brand and can be easily recollected.
Using domain lookup tools that are offered by every domain registrar, check if your desired domain name, or variation of the domain name is available for registration. You can also verify if the name(s) you’re interested in are available under different extensions like .biz or .net. If you want to target different locations online, it is a good idea to invest in domain names with multiple extensions. On an average, a small business can expect to spend anywhere from $5 to $35 per year on a domain name registration (depending on the domain extension).
Once you have hit upon that perfect (and available) domain name, the next step is registration. It makes sense to compare the features of different domain registration and hosting companies to make an informed decision.
How to choose a Domain Registration / Hosting company
Some of the factors to keep in mind when selecting a hosting provider are:
- Pricing: Take a close look at costs of long-term contracts, up-front-payment, discounts and special offers
- 27/7 phone support: Ensure that the hosting company offers 24/7 on-phone assistance at no extra charge
- If you need a static IP address to safeguard sensitive client data, check if the hosting provider offers the same for free or an additional charge
- Based on your requirements, you may want to engage the services of a hosting company offering email routing and email auto-responder solutions.
Set up your website
Creating your website is not an uphill task thanks to the many easy-build tools available online. One of the most popular is WordPress, a simple tool that has helped many small business owners set up blogs and websites for ecommerce and online marketing. WordPress is a content management system that even the less-tech savvy businesses with little or no knowledge of CSS and HTML, can leverage to create unique, custom websites. Many WordPress plug-ins and themes are available for free online.
Website Builder is another simple solution that includes hosting and customer email address as part of the overall package. Some reasons why Website Builder is fast becoming a popular choice are:
- You only need to follow three easy steps to build a fully-customized small business website
- Website Builder offers a mobile site converter that optimizes your site for smartphones.
- You have an advanced design option to use your CSS and HTML knowledge for creating more intricate/complex designs.
Once your site is in place, you can focus your attention on your core business – your customers.