What is website hosting?
Think of website hosting as the computer your website resides on. Your website is a collection of computer files, and to be accessible to the internet continuously it needs to be on a server (computer) that is always on, has full time connection to the internet, and is fast enough to handle multiple visitors at the same time.
Why don’t I get website hosting with my domain name?
Your domain name is just the name that people use to connect to your website, example www.bizlinks.co.nz. When I create a web hosting presence for your website, I link your domain name to the hosting space.
Should I get a “co.nz” or a “.com” domain name?
Think of who your primary audience or customers are. If you are targeting the international market, then you can’t beat a .com name. If you are targeting New Zealand customers, then a .nz domain name is more likely to be found. You can have more than one domain name pointing to your website, so you could have both a .com and a .co.nz domain name.
Can I get email with my domain name?
Yes, that’s one of the key advantages of having your own domain name with a website. You can “brand” your email address as your own. As an example, instead of email@example.com, you can have firstname.lastname@example.org. You can have as many addresses to your domain name as you like including generic addresses such as email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, etc.
What makes a good website?
Think about why you want or need a website
You know your business, so you are the best judge as to what you and your customers want to get out of your website. Make a list of what you want to achieve, eg, provide information on your products and services, list contact information for your business, keep your customers and potential customers up to date on your offerings, online sales and so on. Also think about what you want your website to achieve from a customer viewpoint. Make a list of this too. Having all this thought through will make the website design process a lot smoother.
Spy on your competition
Why not? They will be spying on you. See what’s good about their websites and see what’s bad. And don’t just look at New Zealand competition. Use search engines and check out similar businesses in other countries to see if you find any good ideas.
Put everything together in a brief
Website designers like customers who know what they want. Lack of a brief can lead to a poor result, and disagreement over expectations. It will also help if you can prepare any ideas for content (text) and provide images, logos, photos, etc, of your products and business.
Contact some website designers
Take your brief to some web designers. Make sure they understand your requirements, and gauge how well they grasp the needs of your website. Also, ask them for any ideas they have to help you achieve what you want, ie, technology or techniques you can employ to make your website function better. Check out some of their work. Get an estimate of costs and decide who you want to work with. Then agree on basic website layout and content, and firm up a price for their services.
Work in stages
Remember you can phase your website development. Stage 1 may be to get a basic affordable brochure website up and running, stage 2 may be to add an online catalogue, and stage 3 may be online sales with credit card facility. The internet lends itself to this type of approach so consider it from the start with your designer and you can avoid major costs to add a new feature.
Help your website
Make sure you or your web designer registers your site with New Zealand and international search engines. Consider even paying a specialist to do this work. Add your domain name to all company printing, eg, business cards, email signatures, letterheads, signs, vehicles and advertising. Make use of techniques such as mailing lists to keep your customers up to date. Remember that you should obtain permission from recipients before emailing them, and include an opt-out instruction so they can be removed from your list if they no longer want to receive your messages. Consider advertising and other promotion to market your website, and finally, check email regularly and respond to information requests promptly.