Five steps to setting up a website…

There are several steps to building and setting up a website, and a fair bit of work goes in behind the scenes before any content actually makes it online. I’ve put together a short guide of what’s involved, and what sort of costs you can expect to pay…

Step 1 - Register a Domain Name.

Register a domain name. This is the part that comes after the “https://” or after the “www” in any website address. The DOMAIN name of this site is andymoore.biz. Of course, it’s getting harder and harder to pick a domain name, as most of the good or suitable names have been snapped up by now – this is when we need to get creative with website names. Some countries have specific rules about what you can or cannot use – for example, here in Australia if you want “.com.au” at the end of your domain name, you must have an ABN. Your domain name should reflect your products or services so that your customers can easily find your business through a search engine.
COSTS – A domain name can cost from only a few dollars (or sometimes even free) per year to several thousand per year, depending on the name.

Step 2 - Find a hosting company or package.

So now you have a domain, you need somewhere to host it. A hosting company is simply a firm selling you some space to put your website on. You may have a great domain name, but that on its own is no good – you will need to link that name to some space. You will need to decide how much space to buy. If you are just running a Blog site with little media content, then a few GB (gigabytes) will be sufficient. If you are a photographer, who wants to post 1000’s of high-resolution images, you would need a hosting package with unlimited space. Very often you can buy a domain name and a hosting package from the same firm – this will make setting up and maintenance easier, but it may be a more expensive option. 
COSTS – Hosting is generally charged yearly, and you should expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $300 per year, depending on how much space you buy.

Step 3 - Setup and install a CMS

Once you have a domain name, linked to a hosting package, you will now be able to visit www.yourname.com. The problem is, we still don’t have any content, so visitors will just see a blank screen, and error, or maybe an advert. We need to add some content to your site. This is where a CMS comes in.
CMS stands for Content Management Software, and is normally a program which is installed on your hosting site. The most popular ones a WordPress and Joomla, although there are many others.
COSTS – These CMS programs are generally free, and often have a one-click-install included as part of your hosting package. 

Step 4 - Prepare some content

Once a CMS is installed and running, it’s time to add some content. This can be pages, blog posts, or eCommerce shops. All CMS systems will have different pros and cons, but all are relatively simple to use once you have navigated your way around them. Think of them like Microsoft Word – a program which produces documents, with all sorts of handy tools built in. A CMS is the same, it can produce web-pages, blogs and all manner of web-content; it’s just a manner of learning how to navigate the menus and page builders. 
COSTS – Once the site is installed, there are some paid options which may be necessary, depending on your business. For example, a freight company, requiring online logistics tracking will need some custom programming, which could incur considerable cost – a hair salon needing an appointment booking system may not be so time consuming, and not so expensive. 

Step 5 - Invest in SEO

SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation means the process of improving your site to increase its visibility on sites like Google, Bing, and other search engines. The better visibility your site has in search results, the more likely you are to attract customers to your business. Remember a website with no visitors is pointless, you will need to get as much traffic (visitors) to your site as possible. 
COSTS – There are some free tools which can help with SEO, but generally you will require a bespoke approach from a marketing specialist. This can be at a budget you set, where you decide on a weekly or monthly fee, or if you retain a specialist over longer terms. 

Summary

So, in summary, there is quite a bit involved with the initial setup, but once that hard work is done, it can be as simple as a few hours a week to maintain or update your website. I’m available to help with all aspects of the above, and in most cases I take care of all the domain, hosting and setup work. Please get in touch to find out more, or request a consultation. 

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