The first thing to have in place before starting an online business is the website. Without a proper functioning and professional website, it is hard to have a professional front and establish yourself online. There is a lot to a website, right from building your website to choosing the right domain name and, registering it. In this post, I’ll be covering the basic guidelines required for setting up your website, making it live and answering the basic query, ‘I bought a domain name now what?’
Before you start deciding the theme, layout and colour scheme of your website, setting up the said website is very important. These basic guides form the skeleton of your website without it, nothing can function. So let’s begin:
A website is basically a collection of various files both text and media which includes audio, video, image and any other graphic content. This group of data is stored on the internet, more precisely on a centralized computer system, known as a Server. Every server has its own unique IP Address. This address needs to be linked to the website URL. The procedure to do is mentioned in the later part of the post.
- Domain Name:
A domain name is essentially your website’s name. Computers on the server use IP addresses however, it is extremely difficult for a human being to remember multiple series of numbers for every web address. To overcome this problem, domain names (URL) are linked to these IP address. Domain Names are translated to given website using DNS (Domain Name System) and need to be registered with any Domain Name provider.
A domain name is made up of “a-z” character set and “0-9” numeric. It can have “-” in the middle but not as the starting or ending character. Also “.” is used to indicate separation. Special characters aren’t allowed in a domain name.
Purchasing a custom domain for your website is not mandatory although it is recommended. Having a custom domain name makes your website look professional and attracts visitors who might end up being potential customers. Custom domain names do not attach free website provider details like mywebsite.weebly.com where Weebly is a free website creation platform.
Example of custom domain names:
Now that you know what a domain name is and have purchased it, the next obvious question is ‘What do I do after I buy a domain name’? Well, the answer lies in the next point.
- Hosting Server:
Hosting is one of the key features when it comes to setting up your website. Without hosting you won’t be able to get your website out on the internet.
A hosting server is a server on which you host your website. There are several types of server available like Shared, Dedicated, VPS (Virtual Private Server), WordPress, Cloud etc and one can choose their server depending on the size of their business. The simplest way to start would be to rent out server space. The cheapest form of hosting is Shared Hosting.
One of the ways is to create your website using WordPress CMS (Content Management System) and host it on WordPress Hosting. For detailed steps, you can read my post on the same that covers how to create a website using WordPress.
- Domain Name System:
Domain Name System (DNS) is a distributed database, arranged hierarchically holding a collection of registered domain names. Their aim is to translate domain names to IP addresses. To help match the domain name to an IP, DNS server contains records known as Resource Records in the DNS Zone file. At the top, of the hierarchy is the root that is followed by TLD (Top Level Domains) followed by the domain name and all other levels if any, all separated by a dot.Example:
This is how you can register your domain name.
Launching your Website
Now that you’ve registered your domain name and even hosted, the next step is to make your website live on the internet for the world to view. To achieve this,
Obtain the DNS on the Name Server that your domain is pointing to and change each record to point to the correct server and IP Address. The ‘A’ records are used to translate domain names into IP addresses. You can do these changes by logging into the Control Panel provided by your hosting provider mentioned in point 3 above.
At this stage, your website is ready to be live on the internet but it still requires a lot of grooming. In our part II of this post, we’ll be discussing how to beautify the website with themes, layout and customizing it for better customer visits.