5 Steps to get your website up and running!

Step 1 - I Need My Website to ...

What you want your website to do for your business will help in choosing your Web Hosting & highlight possible extra costs involved that you might not have thought of.

For example, "I need my website to ..."

  • Let people know about by business
    • You only need a "Basic Website"
    • You do not need a lot of storage space or bandwidth to start with
  • Display my products and/or services
    • You only need a "Basic Website"
    • You do not need a lot of storage space or bandwidth to start with
  • Sell products & services
    • You will need an eCommerce site
    • You will need at least one payment module (Paypal, Stripe etc...)
    • You will need to purchase a SSL Security Certificate
    • You may require larger storage depending on how many products and product images you will be storing
    • Possibly add extra security to your website/hosting so data cannot be breached
      • Australia has new laws relating to data security breaches - This is discussed further in Step 3.
    • Higher website maintenance & updates to maintain a high security level
  • Collect & store customer contact details - e.g. email address for promotional/advertising reasons
    • You only need a "Basic Website" with maybe a custom form or two
    • You will need to purchase a SSL Security Certificate
    • Possibly add extra security to your website/hosting so data cannot be breached
      • Australia has new laws relating to data security breaches - This is discussed further in Step 3.

You may need your website to perform a few of these tasks or maybe all of them plus other not listed here but this should give you a basic idea of what you need to think about when it comes to choosing hosting and domain names.

Step 2 - What Domain Name Should I Choose?

This step will help you to decide on a domain name (e.g. switchedonitsolutions) and domain extension (e.g. .com.au).

I would recommend that you register your domain name as soon as possible regardless of whether you are ready to build your website or not. If you leave it too late someone else might register it before you do! Registering a domain name does not mean you have to have your web hosting and website design all ready to go. You can set that up later.

Write down 2-3 potential domain names & extensions in order of preference. For example, my business name is "Switched On IT Solutions". I wrote down switchedonit.com.au, switchedonits.com.au, switchedonitsolutions.com.au. A lot of the time your preferred domain name is already taken (in my case, switchedonit.com.au was already taken). It is wise to have a few written down in case 1st preference is not available.

Being an Australian Business it would be beneficial to register your domain name with the .au extension (.com.au, .net.au, .org.au etc....) This immediately recognises you as an Australian business. I know that when I am searching for a service or product in Google, I am looking for a result with the ".au" domain extension, as I know that it will more than likely be an Australian business.

If you are selling products and services both in Australia and internationally you would consider registering a ".com" domain extension as well as a ".com.au".

You can register multiple domain names with different extensions but only have one website. You set up your website with your main domain name and then redirect the other domain name/s to your website. For example, My main website uses the domain name "switchedonitsolutions.com.au" but I also registered "switchedonits.com.au". If you type switchedonits.com.au in your web browser it will redirect to my website.

There are some restrictions with certain domain extensions. As an example I'll use the common extensions used by a lot of Australian businesses - ".com" & ".com.au".

There are NO restrictions for a ".com" extension. Anyone can register with this extension whether they have a business with the same or similar name or not. This extension can be registered on a yearly basis.

In the case of ".au" domain extension, strict rules are in place (and that's a good thing). For example, ".com.au" registrants must have a registered business in Australia. Your domain name also needs to be either an exact match or abbreviation of your registered business name. The registration eligibility criteria for ".au" extensions mean that your domain is associated with Australia and has a great deal of trust and confidence in local and even overseas online shoppers. This domain extension has to be registered  for a minimum of 2 years and renewed in 2 year intervals.

You can check your preferred domain names here.

Type in the full domain name you would like to check (e.g. switchedonitsolutions.com.au)

So you've got your domain name & domain extension figured out and are ready to go ahead and register it. There are two things to consider when registering a domain name.

  • Make sure YOUR domain name is registered in YOUR name. There are some web businesses out there that offer domain registration (often cheap) but actually register the domain name in THEIR OWN NAME NOT YOURS. Then what can happen is when the domain name comes up for renewal after 1-2 years they offer your domain name renewal at an inflated price or worse sell it to someone else and because your name is not on the Registration you can't stop it from happening. If this happens you may lose both your domain name and your website.
  • If you like things neat and tidy and prefer a single invoice and single point of contact for both domain name & hosting then you might want to consider registering your domain name once you have chosen your preferred web host.

Registering a domain name is not as difficult as you think. If you have chosen a decent, honest web hosting business then they can handle that for you (I offer this service at no extra cost - Just the cost of the domain name). If you prefer to do this yourself then there are plenty of Australian sites where you can register your domain name.

Step 3 - Where Should I Host my Website?

When choosing where to host your website, don't be tempted to go with "FREE" hosting. You don't have to spend a lot but at least be prepared to spend a little money. We've all heard the saying, "You get what you pay for".

Here are a few reasons why you should you should at least spend a little on your website hosting.

  • Time is Money - Nothing is FREE. Even if you are not physically paying money it will cost you a lot of your time which in reality is money!
  • Limitations - The so called “FREE” hosting companies will always try and up-sell you to the paid version by forcing limitations on the FREE version.
  • Location - Majority of the “FREE” hosting companies do not have servers here in Australia. For example, Awardspace's servers are in Sofia, Bulgaria and Weebly servers are in the US. Why is this important? There are several reasons to ensure that your website is hosted on Australian servers.
    • Speed – When someone goes to your website and it is hosted overseas the request has to be sent to the host server and then the website content has to come all the way back to your potential customers computer. If it is taking too long to load some people will close it and go to the next one in the search results.
    • Search Results - You want your site to be high up in the search results (preferably on the first page of a Google search). One of the things Google looks at when ranking your site is the speed at which it loads. If it is slow to load it will be further down the list in a Google search. Further down the list means less customers.
    • Legal - Depending on what type of business you are operating there may be legal reasons that your website & emails must be hosted on Australian servers (Medical, Legal Practice etc..)
    • Security - In an age where sites are being hacked and data stolen do your customers really want their personal details on a server in Bulgaria? Especially if you are running an online shop and may have credit card details on file.
      • Australia has new Data Breach Notification laws that came into effect on 22 February 2018 and requires businesses to report all instances of personal data breaches. Businesses have a duty to report data breaches that are likely to result to serious harm to any individual whose personal information is disclosed in the breach.
  • Support – Most of these “FREE” hosting places have email or job ticket support only. You cannot phone them to help you because you accidently deleted a file and your website is broken or you can't login. I think everyone would prefer to be able to call local Aussie support and not a call centre in the US or India. When looking for somewhere to host your website I think it is important to look around for a local business which can provide you with affordable entry level hosting to keep your costs down but also provide great personal service. This may also help your business because a local web host may show your website on their "Portfolio" page which in turn provides you with advertising.
  • Cost - You can always start with an entry level cheaper hosting plan and only upgrade to a larger plan as you grow and are making more money.

I know I am a bit biased as I am a Web Host and I have tried to be impartial when writing this tutorial but I understand if people have had good experiences with other Hosts in the past and are hesitant to change plus recommend them to others. I am always willing to provide any assistance, help and advice regardless of where you choose to host your website. The thing that might separate me from other hosts is the personal support I can offer and if you are local to Townsville I am available to meet with you and discuss your hosting needs. If you wish to contact me you can do so via FacebookContact Page or call/sms on 0424 852 500.

Step 4 - How Do I Design & Build My Website?

Coming Soon... I will advise via Facebook when this content is ready to go!

Step 5 - How Do I Maintain My Website?

Coming Soon... I will advise via Facebook when this content is ready to go!

Term Definitions

Domain Name

Domain names are used in website URLs to identify particular Web pages. For example, in the URL http://www.switchedonitsolutions.com.au, the domain name is switchedonitsolutions.com.au.

Domain Name Extension

The definition of a domain extension is the notation at the end of a web address that specifies an Internet category or a country code.

  • An example of a domain extension which is an Internet Category is .com for commercial, .org for organisation, .gov for government, .edu for all educational institutions, .net for a network etc...
  • An example of a domain extension which is a Country Code is .au (Australia).
  • So a ".com.au" domain extension is a commercial business in Australia.
eCommerce

E-commerce (electronic commerce or EC) is the buying and selling of goods and services, or the transmitting of funds or data, over an electronic network, primarily the internet.

SSL Certificate

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browsers remain private and integral.