On paper, buying a domain may seem like a small step, but it’s like the first moon landing. It’s a huge leap for your business or project.
That little string of letters is an essential part of your journey to establishing a real presence online.
It’s the first thing you need to get seen online and, ultimately, to grow there.
So, what’s next?
No doubt you’ll have been preoccupied in the past few hours, days or even weeks with the fine details of getting the perfect domain name – from choosing the right combination of words to picking the perfect domain name ending.
[EXTRA READING: Four ways domains can help you protect your brand identity online]
So, in this blog, we’ll walk you through the next steps to establishing an online presence to be proud of.
Step 1: build a website
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the idea of building a website, especially when you’re not particularly experienced in tech or IT.
However, it doesn’t have to be hard to get a site set up online.
Once you have a domain, you have three choices…
1. Build a site from scratch
This route is for those with some decent tech experience because it requires knowledge of HTML and coding languages.
If you’ve got time to learn, there are some great and affordable courses out there that can teach you how to build a website from scratch in just 10 weeks. The Code Academy website is a great place to start if this is the direction you want to go in.
If you already have the skills, meanwhile, Heart Internet’s cPanel-based Web Hosting comes with a wide range of scripting and developer features to help you create and manage your site.
2. Use a CMS to build your own site
Content management systems (CMSs) are designed to make it easier for everyday people to build websites.
You don’t need to know HTML or coding languages to be able to use one.
CMSs let you build a website using pre-made templates that can be adapted in thousands of different ways. They also make it easy to add images, text and media to your site and you can build everything from a blog to an ecommerce site using one.
WordPress is one of the world’s most popular CMSs. Not least because it allows users to customise their sites in almost infinite ways.
At Heart Internet, we offer hosting that’s specifically designed for WordPress users. You can find out more about this in the Step 2 section below.
3. Get a professional to build you a website
Getting a website built from scratch isn’t always cheap. Some companies can charge up to £10,000 for a simple site with no ecommerce functionality.
If you do decide to go down this route, shop around, and be sure that you know exactly what you want from your site before you go to a professional. The more comprehensive your brief, the better your experience will be.
Step 2: find the right hosting for your site
So, what is web hosting?
You can think of web hosting in terms of a dinner party. Your domain name is a distinctive front door, that makes it easy for your guests to find your house.
Your website is a lovely meal that you’ve prepared for your guests.
Your web hosting is a little like the waiter that serves your courses to your guests and takes any feedback from your guests back to the kitchen before the next course is served.
Without the waiter, your guests wouldn’t get their dinners. Without web hosting, your customers can’t access or interact with your site.
Of course, web hosting is much more complex than this, but the above goes to show how essential web hosting is to a website.
So, how do you know which web hosting package to choose?
There are hundreds of web hosting plans out there and some will be more suited to your needs than others.
For example, if you’ve decided to build a website using WordPress, you’ll want to pick a WordPress hosting package, like the ones we offer at Heart Internet.
Our WordPress Hosting plans come with WordPress preinstalled, so you can get to work on your website right away.
Plus, they come with all sorts of perks like free domain names for the first year, a free SSL certificate for the life of the plan, and a free Essential Business Email for the first year.
We also offer WooCommerce plans for customers who need to build an online store.
WooCommerce is a WordPress add-on that makes it easy to build an online store.
It lets you customise your site using free and premium ‘plug-ins’, which you add to your site as and when you need them.
At Heart Internet, our WordPress Ecommerce plan comes with WooCommerce auto-installed. Plus, it gives you £4,000 of Premium WooCommerce plug-ins for free.
These free extensions can be used to enhance everything from the checkout experience to payment options on a site.
If you’ve decided to use a different CMS like PrestaShop, OpenCart, Joomla or ZenCart, meanwhile, you can install them to our cPanel-based Web Hosting plans in a single click.
The packages come with perks like a free domain name for the first year and unlimited bandwidth.
[EXTRA READING: ‘5 reasons we love cPanel’]
Here are a couple more things to consider when choosing a plan…
- If you intend to grow your site in terms of both content and visitor numbers, look for a plan that makes it easy to upgrade when you need more resources.
- If you anticipate getting high visitor numbers from the start, choose a plan that features unlimited bandwidth.
Step 3: set up your professional email
Once you have your domain name, you can set up an email address that mirrors that domain name.
Using a branded email address instead of a generic Hotmail or Gmail address makes you look so much more professional and therefore more trustworthy to customers.
It can also help customers recall your email address, as Hotmail and Gmail addresses are so common there’s nothing memorable about them.
At Heart Internet, our WordPress Hosting plans come with a free Essential Business Email for the first year.
Alternatively, you can buy a professional Business Email plan separately for as little as 99p per month.
Ready to go?
With your domain bought, your site built, your hosting chosen, and your email established, you’re ready to start welcoming visitors to your site.
The next things you’ll need to think about are security and marketing, which you can read more about elsewhere on our blog.
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