Starting your own business often means that you’re wearing every single hat – you create, you plan, you ship, you market, you take care of the finances, and you’re the entire customer service department. That’s a lot of stuff to know and DO… no wonder it’s overwhelming at times! (I can’t be the only one. Haha)
If you’re thinking it might be time to get a digital home base / website, and you’re confused about what all of this hosting & domain name jargon really means – welcome!
Pssst… these two are the ONLY things you need to get started and hooray! Your investment is pretty minimal.
When I created my first website I was soooo confused about hosting & domain names, which is what, how they work, and what I needed. I still have a hard time wrapping my brain around it, because… it’s actually super simple and I like to complicate things.
No, really. It’s ridiculously easy.
Let’s start with the basics.
You need both.
Your website is literally your internet home – the hosting is your house, and your domain name is your street address.
Let’s get a little more specific.
A domain name is the “www-dot-your biz”. It’s kind of like your online address, or storefront – it’s what people punch into their GPS to find you.
(Scroll down to read up on exactly where to start with your domain name purchase.)
But if all you had was an ADDRESS and you stopped there… that’s not going to do anybody any good. You need to fill it up with your goodies! That’s where hosting comes in.
Hosting is the building BEHIND the pretty sign. It’s the servers where your website and images are actually placed.
It really is that simple.
If there’s even one iota of confusion left in your brain, watch this adorable little video by Emery Tan on YouTube.
Where to start?
1) Start with your domain name. Shop around for sales, sometimes you can get extras for a buck or two. The domain registrar doesn’t matter as much as the hosting. Try gandi, cheapnames.com or just google it! Godaddy is very popular, but has a less than stellar reputation because of a few scandals back in 2011. (The CEO shot an elephant in Zimbabwe and posted a video of the act – use your discretion.) Your domain name expires once a year, so you’ll pay somewhere between $2 – if you get lucky – and $20 per year. You can lock it in & set auto-renew so you don’t have to worry about someone stealing your spot on the internet in the future!
2) On to hosting! A lot of times you’ll get a bonus domain name for free with your hosting package. Sign up for it, or don’t – you can do it either way. My top recommendation is SiteGround! I’ve switched several of my clients from Bluehost and the servers are noticeably faster – and the price is the same. (We currently pay around $5 a month.)
That’s it! Your web space is your very own, and you are ready to do incredible things!
Not sure where to go from here? At this point, many small business owners start to worry that their online presence looks just as mickey-mousey as it feels, and they’re totally going to get busted for making stuff up as they go along. News flash: we ALL are. Whether you’re just starting out or if you’ve been in business for a few years, the Startup Boost checklist and solution guide is going to get you online & looking legit within a couple of nights!