The three IT things you need to build a website, made easy
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Thinking of investing in a website for your business, but not sure how to get started? Do you already have a website, but feel unsure about all the working IT components to make it run smoothly? If you answered yes, you’re not alone. Many people come to me confused and frankly a little stressed about the IT components needed for setting up a website. This article is here to take away your fear and help you understand these in easy terms.
What are the foundations of a website?
A website is made up of many simple and complex components – from design to user experience, theme and SEO – but before you can get started on any of these, you’ll need these three crucial things to be in place:
1. A domain name
This is the address that you give to your clients to type into a browser. For example the domain name you’re accessing right now is mardilowe.com.au.
2. Domain name system (DNS)
A DNS is a series of records that perform a number of important tasks. Essentially, this system is what’s responsible for mapping your domain name to your website hosting. This is an important link between your address and the website itself.
3. Website hosting
This is the server that stores all the files on your site. If you choose WordPress.org as your CRM, you will need to source your own hosting environment. If you have chosen to work with self-hosted platforms like SquareSpace, Wix or Shopify, you will be provided with hosting as part of your annual or monthly costs.
How do I set all this up?
Domain name providers
There are many out there and the prices can range from as little as $10 to as much as $1,000. I buy my domains from a place called Crazy Domains because it offers a simple customer experience and affordable pricing. However, I always like to add Privacy Protection, as I’ve seen clients being scammed because their details weren’t hidden from the WHOIS public record. Plus, nobody needs annoying callers trying to peddle them a cheap website or promising their site will be #1 on Google.
Crazy Domains also provides basic DNS Hosting with every domain purchase, so that’s like killing two birds with one stone. However as an FYI, when you work with me I usually move the DNS hosting to an alternate provider called CloudFlare so we have access to a few extra types of DNS records and a free SSL certificate – but we don’t need to worry about that today.
Like domain names, there are endless hosting options available, which is why it comes down to your budget and the size of your website. For example, I wouldn’t recommend paying $2 a month for hosting a 100-page website. The file size would be too big for the server, causing the website to load slower than Windows 95. If you need advice on hosting, feel free to shoot me an email about your site and I’ll point you in the right direction.
Keep a record of your provider information!
If I had a dollar for every time someone has come to me not knowing which providers their website is using, I would be a pretty rich lady. This would probably make a dent in the many hours I have spent tracking down domain name registrars and hosting providers for clients. Speaking from experience, when I do figure all this out for someone, it feels like I have just hacked Facebook. It’s somewhat satisfying but also painfully time-consuming.
Whether you choose to work with me or another website developer, please take note of your providers and keep this information in a safe place. Don’t be afraid to ask your developer for these details. It will potentially save you or someone else a few hours of work in the future.
If your site is built with me, you will be provided with a website handover document that highlights where all of the above is. It’s an important value of mine that when you invest in a website you should feel like you have true ownership of it and understand where everything is. As I tell my clients: if I am hit by a bus tomorrow or if you wish to work with someone else in the future (as much as I would hate to see you go) your website will be easily accessible at all times.
Looking to make a website? I’m here to help create a solid foundation for your website so that it not only works well and suits your needs now, but for many years to come!