This is the biggest single question I am asked and probably most other designers. There is no direct answer to this quest as it depends purely depends on your requirements. Strangely, many do not give due consideration or thought to one of the most important parts of their business, their online presence.
To help I have put together a checklist that will help you and initially me what your requirements may be.
First of all, do you need a domain or do you have one?
The domain is your web address and with this, you’re with address extension i.e. mywebsite.com / mywebsite.co.uk or mywebsite.org
Usually, domains should be the name of your business, organisation however if you are undecided then you should look for a name that is short, easy to remember and quick to type.
Example: artisanbakers.co.uk not artisanbakerwithafrenchinfluence.co.uk
The extension also has importance. The extension also has an impact as regards your business and can also help your search ranking. If you are a global reaching business you may wish to have a .com. Based in the UK and all your business is in the UK or just want to state you are in the UK then .co.uk might fit better.
The UK is still part of the EU until 30th March 2019. Being part of the EU also allows UK residents and businesses to register .eu domain extensions. However, unless you have a business based in an EU county after Brexit then it is unlikely that you will still be eligible to own/lease this extension.
Well, you lease the domain. You pay a yearly sum to keep the domain. The cost varies depending on the name and extension and if you don’t keep up the lease you lose the name and the website will not be visible on the internet.
I can purchase domains on your behalf however you need to give details on your preference. In some cases, the preferred domain has been taken or the preferred extension has been taken. If this is the case there are things that we may be able to do to obtain your desired name.
Some clients have already purchased a domain and hosting package and may have a webpage or website that they wish to be updated or rewritten. Others may need a hosting package.
Hosting packages like domains have an annual cost and depending on the package type, the price will also vary.
I use hosting packages from Godaddy.com however if you have a package already then in most cases this can be used.
Packages vary and cheap ones can be restrictive. A basic package may only allow a single domain to be hosted on it and may or may not allow for a database website to be hosted on it, that is if you need such a website. Other packages may allow for more than one website and will allow growth.
Hosting can be restricted to storage size, and bandwidth, so if you haven’t purchased this yet, then I can advise based on your website requirement.
If you don’t currently own a website you may have a regular free email setup with one of the main providers such as Gmail, Hotmail or MS Outlook. However, you can add firstname.lastname@example.org email address when you obtain a domain.
Although it is possible to set up free email address @yourdomain.com via what is referred to as a cPanel of your website it is inadvisable to do so.
cPanel bases emails live on a dedicated web server designed to host websites, these are not designed to host emails although they can. Receiving emails at these types of emails is fine however when sending emails from a cPanel address can be refused by the receiving email server. It may in some cases not even inform you of that the email has been refused.
If you are serious about your business you should have a contact email at your domain. It makes you look professional and presents a professional image.
When a domain is purchased, this is usually pointed to a web host or web package, that is if you have a package that will host more than one domain address. The domain can also be directed to a dedicated email hosting package that is stable, unlike a cPanel email address.
I referred to cPanel emails being made on a website server platform that is designed to host websites and not designed to host emails. Some emails sent from the cPanel email can be refused because the receiving server can see this type of email as spam! cPanel emails and dedicated email servers communicated with receiving email servers in a different way and rather get too technical, if you wish to have an email @yourdomain.com my suggestion is the domain is pointed to both a dedicated web server and a dedicated email server. I tend to use a Microsoft 365 email for email address hosting.
Well, there isn’t really a restriction, however, each one set up on an MS Microsoft server will have a cost so again think what fits best to keep your costs down. Good general names enquiries@ info@, admin@ contact@ sales@ accounts@ or of course if you’re business and you are the person that is likely to answer the enquires then your own name might be the best fit for you.
These are just a small part of the process and all of these will require an annual subscription. I can set these up for you and allow you to maintain the payment directly for these without my further involvement. I do not profit from your ongoing domain, hosting, and email upkeep.
A few questions to ask yourself.
What is the purpose of the website?
Sounds a bit strange but what are the key points you want to get across?
What is your target audience?
From time to time your website might need updating or you might need wish to features. Maintaining your website is something that I do on a regular basis. It helps keeps your website looking fresh, it draws previous viewers back. More importantly, as your business moves forward your website moves forward. So, look at your website has an extension of your business.
Social media is important and some try to run their business solely via these services. However, if you are visiting this website then I guess you have come to realise social media has its place but only reaches your social circle.
Moving forward to a full website will give your business great exposure, it can help explain your business and answer some of the frequently asked questions some people may have. If you are in business, run an organisation, need to promote yourself then you should seriously consider having a website.