How to Get My Business Online

September 16, 2009 at 4:09 am Leave a comment


Many times, businesses getting online for the first time will only purchase a domain name thinking that will provide the tools necessary for a proper web presence.  Soon, however, they return when they realise they also need web hosting, which actually provides the ability to produce and store a website and email account(s) for the domain name.  To the unsuspecting business owner, this process can end up being more surprising and stressful than it should be.  For this reason, we have put together a helpful guide for getting your business online for the first time including what is needed to start running email accounts and your own website.

  • Register your domain name.
  • Purchase hosting for your domain name.
  • Set up email account.
  • Build a website.
  • Market your website.

1) Register your domain name. Find a domain provider, which can depend on the type of domain you want to purchase. Be wary of the price when purchasing a domain name because there is a huge unjustified price gap in Australia. 

Please note:

a)      Since registering domain names falls under a completely different class of rules and regulations than the trademark process, one cannot assume that his/her business name will automatically give them the rights to a domain name.   Therefore, it is important to research the possibilities for a good domain name.  You can use a domain lookup tool to see if your desired domain name is available.

b)      You must also have an ABN, an Australian Business Number, before registering a .AU domain name and pass the eligibility process specified by the auda.  This is done in order to lessen the amount of people purchasing random domain names with intentions of reselling them for huge profits in the future.

2) Purchase hosting for your domain name. Without a hosting account, you simply have the lease for the domain name and nothing else. By not purchasing hosting, which is the space on a server that will store your website, there is no way that you will be able to set up a website or email account.

a)      Deciding on a web host can depend on your business location, or the location of your web visitors.  If you, for example, have a company that markets itself overseas to one specific country, it is wise to purchase a country-specific domain name as well as hosting in that country.  Since the location of your web host is said to identify the location of your website, it has been a highly debated topic by search engine optimisers for years that it will actually give you bonus points in search engine results.  In addition, the speed of website loading and downloads will be better for your visitors.

b)      Many times, web hosting companies also act as domain providers meaning you can purchase and manage both of these features from the same company.  This will save you the trouble of having to manually set up the name servers for a domain name to point to the hosting account in another location.

3) Set up your hosted email address. Now that you have a hosting account where actual space is allocated for storing mail messages, your email address for your domain name can be set up.  With this option, you can now have an email address that reads something like manager@yourdomainname.com.au (or sales@yourdomainname.com and info@yourdomainname.com), which is more professional looking than using an email address from a free provider, such as hotmail or Gmail.  Your web host can most likely provide assistance with the email setup process as it can vary slightly depending on the provider.

4) Build and upload a website. So web visitors have something to look at, it’s a good idea to create a website.  The process involves planning, building and uploading.

a)      Think about how you would like your website to look and be organised.  You can get ideas by looking at other websites and noting what works, and what does not.  A key to a good website is to make it engaging, informative, and most of all, easy to navigate.  If the information is the star of the show in your website, think about how best to deliver it.

b)      As for building the website, you can either attempt to do it yourself or pay someone to do it for you.  The choice here might revolve around how complex and professional a site you are looking for.  Some web hosts even provide easy website building software, such as Sitebuilder, that most beginners can use.  Otherwise, it is a wise decision to pay someone to build it for you, which can save you hours of headaches in the long run. Content management system software such as Joomla!, Drupal and WordPress may also be something worth looking into if you are looking to take matters into your own hands.

c)       After a website is created, it must be uploaded to the hosting account for it to appear on the internet.  This process is completed using an FTP program, one either provided by your hosting company or downloaded from the web. (e.g. FileZilla- free ftp program).

5) Market your website. During the entire building process and follow-up maintenance, importance falls on optimisation.  Optimisation generally refers to Search Engine Optimisation and the importance of presenting your website with appropriate keywords.  Optimisation can also refer to the upkeep process, meaning your website is always in its best working order.  Check for broken links, page loading times and grammatical errors periodically.

Beyond these ideas, successful website marketing has been found through various activities such as joining social networks, blogging, creating email and newsletter campaigns, starting an affiliate program and putting on contests.  Listing your products and services with a reputable online business directory, such as Clickfind, can also increase chances for potential customers to navigate to your website.  Using these possibilities to build a web presence is an essential and ongoing step to getting your business online.

Now that you are armed with the steps involved in getting a business online, and realise it takes more than just a domain name to get there, how about checking out Digital Pacific to help get you started.  Digital Pacific offers a variety of web hosting packages and services, including domain names, hosting for email accounts, website building software and SEO packages that can make the process that much easier.

Written by Brooke from Digital Pacific

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