If you have a business, or are ready to start a business, having a business website is a “must.” Most people looking for a product or service will start their search online and your business needs to be in it to win it. You can learn how to create a website for your business in a few easy steps.
Choose and register your business website domain name.
Domain names can be purchased from a variety of sources, so you can search for the best price, and consider purchasing a multi-year option. You can also purchase more than one domain name and then have them all “point” to the same website. To find out whether your domain name and what extension (such as .com or .net) are available, you can go to https://www.networksolutions.com. If your name is available, you do NOT have to purchase it from Network Solutions, but can search on the Internet for other domain sellers.
Find a host ISP (Internet Service Provider).
In order to view your site (and use email and online services), you will need internet access. This is where your ISP (internet service provider) comes in. You will need internet access via a cable modem or a wireless router. Either way, this connection is provided by an ISP.
To find an appropriate ISP, it helps to know if you will be offering a shopping cart, whether you want the ISP to set up your website or provide you a template, and whether you have special programming (such as calculations, database use, etc.). Once you find an ISP, you need to provide the ISP’s NIC address to the company where you purchased your domain name.
Any time you change your ISP, you need to provide your domain name company with a new NIC address.
Your ISP provider should show you how to set up an email address so that you can have email@example.com. Once you have that email address, you need to set your email program to pick up that address when it goes to get your mail. For example, in Microsoft Outlook, go to Tools, Email Accounts. Choose “Add email”, then “Pop3/SMTP”. You will need your logon information and password from your ISP provider, as well as their POP3 and SMTP server addresses. You can test your account settings to make sure everything is set up correctly.
Set up a website.
To set up your website, you can either use templates provided by your ISP or you can set it up from scratch by sending files to your provider using FTP. FTP is an acronym for File Transfer Protocol. As the name suggests, FTP is used to transfer files between computers on a network. All files are sent using ftp, so you will need ftp software to do this (the cost for this software is free or minimal). If you do not know how to use ftp, you should either use a template, hire a web designer or take a class in website design. Regardless of which you choose, you should ask how you can update your website. Your website is only effective if it stays current.
Submit your website to the search engines.
This should only be done once or it will be interpreted as spamming. Before submitting your website, you should make sure that your home page includes a good description of what you do and your web pages include “meta-description” tags and “title” tags that clearly state what you do. Because of the size of the Internet, it may take as long as four months for search engines to pick you up. During that time, people can still get to your website, but will have to know your web address (type http://www.yourname.com in the address line of your browser).
Each search engine provides a web form where you can submit your site. For example:
The search engines regularly re-search the entire web, so it is worth continually improving your website’s search results.
All pages of your website should include your address and contact information.
For help with your business website and online marketing, contact the Economic Development Collaborative-Ventura County. Conveniently located in Camarillo, California, we’re here to help.