We are increasingly living our lives online, searching for products and services on smartphones and online directories such as 118businessdirectory.co.uk rather than consulting traditional paper directories. Companies that don’t have a website could be missing out on a large number of potential clients, but setting up your initial website is often seen as something tricky and technical. But is that necessarily the case?
The first thing you should decide is your domain name – this is the address which a customer will type into their device to find your website. Every address is unique, so you will have to come up with something which nobody else is using. This isn’t as easy as it might first appear, and will depend on how unusual your company name or brand is. Many of the big website hosting companies like Squarespace or Wix will let you enter your preferred domain name and will tell you if it’s available, or suggest alternatives if not. You will also have to choose ending for your web address and as a general rule, a .co.uk ending will be cheaper than .com. You can of course choose to buy both. Once you have registered that domain name it is yours to do with as you please.
Website hosting just means paying for server space to keep your website online. Larger businesses might host their website on their own servers but for a smaller organisation this isn’t always an option. Most websites are hosted through an external provider, which will charge you a set fee for a year’s website hosting. They’ll probably have packages giving you a certain number of website pages and use of your domain name. Start small – you can always increase your package if you want to add in more pages or have the ability to make sales directly through your website.
There is no need to be a coding expert to get your first website online. Major hosting companies all have templates that can be used and adjusted to your requirements and give you a unique look. This is no more complicated than editing a template in other packages like Word or PowerPoint. If you choose to go down the route of hiring a professional website designer to build your new site, then spend some time considering what you want from your site before your initial meeting. This will allow your designer to go away and develop several concepts which may be appropriate before allowing you to choose your favorite.
Once built, your website should be reviewed regularly to make sure you are still happy with it, and that it is up to date. Hosting companies often provide lots of information about who is visiting your website and how long they are spending on it, and what keywords they are using. You can also choose to manage this yourself, or get an external website manager to handle it all for you. Try to update your website regularly with new content or blog posts as this will increase your visibility on Google.