By Gordon Meyer
I’m about to embark on a project that other entrepreneurs have been doing at various levels of sophistication for many years: create a website to promote my business. Because this is the first impression that many people may have of me and my business, it’s got to look like a million bucks, even if it costs less than $100 – and it will.
The process takes the following stages:
- Creating and registering a nifty domain name
- Finding an inexpensive web hosting service that includes a reasonable amount of storage plus email forwarding
- Designing and building the site
- Regularly updating the site with text and video content
I came up with what I thought was a pretty good name for my site, then starting shopping some of the sites that offer inexpensive domain registration, often discounted even further if bundled with a year or two of web hosting. One of the gotchas about the latter is that while the companies often promote low monthly hosting fees, you actually have to pay for a full year at a time so the upfront costs may be higher than anticipated.
For now, I decided to just register the domain name and then deal with who would host the site and how I’ll build it later. For now, I may even use my new domain strictly for email.
But, first things first – time to register that domain name, which it turns out was already taken, at least if I wanted a “.com” domain. I could use something like .biz or .info, but let’s face it – most people automatically look for .com. Fortunately by making a minor change, I was able to get my domain name as a .com. Thanks to a sale at Network Solutions, my registration cost only $6.99 a year.
When deciding who to register your domain through, some things to consider include how many years you want to initially register the domain for, confidentiality issues in the public domain ownership record (i.e. what shows up when someone does a WHOIS search on your domain) and what kind of web hosting packages, if any, they offer. The last element was at least initially a lower priority for me, but Network Solutions does have some low cost hosting packages that I may well consider when I’m ready.
My next step is to figure out who, in fact, will ultimately host my new site and what features can I look forward to, including any site building tools.