Creating a website when you’ve never done it before can be an overwhelming process. My goal with this article is to explain in simple terms exactly what you need to do in order to prepare for your new website. I’ll be covering off domain names, hosting, website platforms and emails.
Ideally, when you register your business name, you should secure your website domain name as well. If you haven’t sorted it yet, no stress! The process is generally pretty straight-forward. Personally I use GoDaddy, but there are heaps of domain registrar options out there. Simply check the availability of your domain, and follow the steps to secure and register it.
Hot tip – depending on your business and target market, its worth considering if you want to purchase the .com as well as the .com.au / .au version.
Choosing a website platform
There are tonnes of options, so I can’t cover all of them, but I can let you know the main ones that I’m familiar with, and give a bit of an overview so that you can get your head around it.
Service based – my picks:
- WordPress – hard to DIY, but one of the best options for a service based business
- Squarespace – Great DIY platform if you’re looking to build your own website
eCommerce – my picks:
- Shopify – packed with features, the best eCommerce solution available in my opinion. DIY is doable if you have an eye for design and you’re happy to do a lot of tutorial watching
- Squarespace – DIY option, not as sophisticated as Shopify, but not a bad choice if you’re wanting a simpler platform
- WordPress with WooCommerce – A bit clunky and not as sleek as Shopify, but if you are a service based business that wants to sell a few products online, it’s a good option.
In order to publish your website, you basically need to rent a space on the internet to store all your data, this is called hosting.
If you go with a platform like Wix, Squarespace or Shopify, hosting is included in the monthly plan charge, you don’t need to find a website host.
If you are building a WordPress website, it will be self-hosted which means you can choose your own website host. I personally use and recommend Siteground for website hosting.
Note – Some website designers and developers also offer their own hosting and management plans, so it might be worth looking into what is best for your situation.
Custom email address
If you’d like to elevate your professionalism with a custom email like [your name]@[your business name].com.au (whatever matches your website domain) here’s how to do it.
Most website hosts offer email services which is an option to look into to see if it suits your needs. Personally, I have used Google Workspace since I first launched Little Palm Creative and I find it very user friendly and well priced.
You’ll need to have your domain name purchased so that you can update your DNS records accordingly. Follow the prompts with Google Workspace or reach out for help if you’re having issues.
I'm not going to attempt to DIY, When Do I engage a web designer?
Once you’ve secured your domain and have an idea of your chosen website platform, you can start shopping for website designers. Ideally you will have an idea on what website platform is right for you, but if you’re not 100% sure your web designer may be able to give you some advice and guidance.