Let’s examine the basics that make up a website, while trying to eliminate as much techno-mumbo jumbo as possible. Firstly, here’s a picture to put everything in perspective about the functional needs of your website:
As shown in the above image, a website needs:
- A website address
- Website hosting
- A website content management system
- Ongoing maintenance and vigilance
Let’s examine these four items in detail
1. You Need a Website AddressEvery website needs a web address, such as www.mysite.com. This address is your unique location on the internet. Think of your website address as being similar to your phone number. No one else has the same phone number, just as no one has the same website address. This means you can safely print your website address across your materials and take comfort that a customer typing in your website address will be taken directly to your website.
Here are some other quick points about website addresses:
- Only accredited companies can sell website addresses
- You never ‘own’ a website address, just like you don’t own your telephone number. You just rent a website address from an accredited website address provider
- Website addresses are typically purchased for two years at a time. Once you have registered and purchased a website address, you have it forever, as long as you continually renew it
- The wording of your website address is important. See choosing the best domain name for tips on selecting a great one.
How Do I Get a Website Address?
Below are some popular companies where you can register a website address
The website address business is pretty cut throat these days, which means the cost of website addresses is pretty standard. Allow for about $10 per year for .com addresses and about $15 per year for .com.au addresses.
As noted above, it’s important to carefully consider your website address before purchasing it. You can check the availability of suitable addresses on the website of website address providers.
2. You Need Website Hosting
Every website requires website hosting. If you’ve never had a website before, you probably haven’t heard of website hosting. After all, it’s not something that you gaze at when opening your curtains each morning.
Put simply, in order for your website to exist and be accessible on the internet 24/7, it needs to be stored somewhere. It can’t be stored on your computer, as your computer isn’t designed for this task. The solution is to have your website stored on an external server, which is controlled by a website hosting company.
This essentially means that your website hosting company is responsible for keeping your website live, with as few glitches as possible.
How Do I Get Website Hosting?
Did I mention that Small Business Planned offers website hosting? Check out the benefits.
Alternatively you can seek website hosting from another provider. The cost of hosting varies quite a bit depending on your needs. In most cases you get what you pay for. By going with a cheap host, your website may load slower, may be offline for longer and may restrict the amount of content you can upload. So make sure you choose a reputable host that suits your needs.
Once you’ve organised your website hosting, your website address needs to be connected with your website hosting. This will route people who click through to your website, directly to your website. This process is called ‘directing the nameservers’. If you’re hosting with Small Business Planned, I will complete this process for you. If you are hosting with another hosting provider, you will need to complete this process yourself.
3. You Need a Content Management System
Content Management System sounds technical doesn’t it? All it means is; a program you can use to update your website. At its core, your website is a bunch of technical code which is difficult to make sense of without training. A content management system (CMS for short) interprets this code and presents you with a graphical interface for you to add, edit and delete the content on your website.
So put simply, a CMS is a system which allows you to easily make edits to your website. It’s usually online based, which means you can make changes to your website wherever you have an internet connection.
How do I Get a Content Management System?Good news. The majority of Content Management Systems are free to use. Yes Free! Popular CMS’ include:
- WordPress (Recommended)
Each of the above CMS’ has a different method of adding, editing and removing content. Like anything in life there are hardcore fans of all CMS’. There have also been countless articles comparing and contrasting them to find out which one is better. If popularity is anything to go by WordPress is the winner.
4. Ongoing Maintenance
It’s important that you continually monitor and maintain your website to keep it as secure as possible. This is done by:
- Regularly visiting your website to check that it is still active
- Installing updates to your content management system
- Paying your website hosting bills on time
- Renewing your domain registration on time
This ensures that your website stays online and is able to weather potential hacking attempts.