How to Get Your Website on the Internet: Web Hosting Basics

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1 The Web Host Advisor How to Get Your Website on the Internet: Web Hosting Basics Copyright 2012 by The Web Host Advisor

2 Table of Contents Why Do You Want a Website page 3 What Kind of Website do You Want? Page 3 What Do I Need to Know? Page4 What Do I Need to Have to Put My Website on the Internet? Page 5 What Should My Domain Be? Page 5 Select Your Web Hosting Company Page 7 What Should I Look For in a Web Hosting Company? Page 8 What Are the Various Types of Web Hosting Services? Page 8 How Do I Create My Website? Page 9 How Do I Configure WordPress to Look and Feel the Way I Want? Page 9 How Do I Put Content on My Website? Page 10 Copyright 2012 by The Web Host Advisor 2

3 Why Do You Want a Website? You have downloaded this ebook because you want to start your own small business website. You may have some internet experience or none at all. You know you need a website, because you have heard that most people go to the internet to find a business or service or product. This ebook will walk you through what you need to know and what you need to do to get your website on the internet in the least amount of time. While it may seem like a puzzle now you just need to take things one step at a time. What Kind of Website Do You Want? What impression do you want to leave on the people that visit your website? Who are the people you want to speak with? What kind of response are you looking for from the internet? Do you want people to do something after they have come to your website such as print a coupon or order a special item online? The answer to these questions will help you as you create the actual website. Most people are creating a website so that people can find their business. I looked through the yellow pages the other day for a heating contractor and couldn t find the person I was looking for. I did find him listed on a website for listings in my area. He was not in the phone book. Many people don t even have land lines any more. They are using their cell phones and nothing else. People are looking more and more to the internet only for everything they need. Many cell phones have internet access. While people drive down the road they look to their cell phone to find a business in the area. They need to know where you are and what you have for them immediately! Copyright 2012 by The Web Host Advisor 3

4 What do I need to know? You will need a basic understanding of the internet to make some sense of creating a website. This may seem a little technical, but you will pick up what you need to make the best decision. When you go to the internet you use a web browser like Firefox, Safari or Microsoft Internet Explorer. You probably type in the address or URL of a website to start with. I use when I start my web browser. A URL is the address of the website you want to go to. URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator. In the simplest form the URL contains the protocol (http), the server name (www, ftp or smtp) and the domain name (google.com). These different parts are separated by either periods (.) or by a double slash (//). When you type in the URL into your web browser and then press enter you are asking your web browser to connect to the internet and find the web server that contains the web pages for the URL you want. The domain name is registered with computers connected to the internet that act as traffic cops. They see the domain name and direct you to the correct web server. These computers are called a DNS or Domain Name Service. All of this is to help you to understand that you need a domain name all to yourself for people to find you on the internet. Now you know more than most people who surf the web. This domain name needs to be registered with the DNS so that a web browser will be able to locate your pages. Copyright 2012 by The Web Host Advisor 4

5 What Do I Need to Have to Put My Website on The Internet? At the bare minimum you need to have a domain name, a web server and a website containing all the information you want on the internet. Seems simple enough, right? It is simple if you take it one step at a time. First Decide What Your Domain Name Should Be Since you have your own business you will want your own domain name. If your business name is short and unique you should try your business name first. If you have a long company name then you may use some abbreviation commonly used in your industry. A good example of this is bbb.com for Better Business Bureau. There are times when your company name may already be taken. In this case you need to look in some other area. Sit down and describe your business in short statements. Using two to five word phrases describe what you do. This will help you to determine the key words that describe your business. It will also provide a starting point for your domain name. Maybe you are starting a business and are looking to drive some web traffic to your new website. Choosing a name that includes your target keywords may be useful here. If you have a new video store perhaps watchvideoonline.com may work. Four Things to avoid: 1. Don t end one word with the same letter as the beginning letter of the next word such as tagginggnattoday.com. People will misspell your domain name more often than not. 2. Don t make the domain name too long. Try to keep it down to 10 characters or less. 3. Don t use other characters for letters, such as the number 0 for the letter o or hyphens. 4. If you must shorten your company name down, don t truncate words. Use the common shortened form of your company name. Five Things to remember: 1. Make your domain name relevant. If you are in the painting business your domain name should say something about painting. 2. Make your domain name memorable. It should be easy to remember. 3. For business web sites choose only.com as a domain extension. As a last resort you can settle on.net, but most traffic goes to.com and people will assume the.com anyway. 4. Make sure your domain name is unique. You want to stand out. You don t want to look like all your competitors. 5. Make sure your domain name is easy to type. The letters on the corner of the keyboard are the most often misspelled. I would think these would be q, z, and p. Copyright 2012 by The Web Host Advisor 5

6 The extension that can be used are.com,.net,.org,.info,.biz and.us. The most common extension used is.com. It s usually safe to stay with this unless you are starting a nonprofit in which case you would want.org. Your domain name has to say something about who you are. It also can say something about what you do. My domain name is thewebhostadvisor.com. I provide advice for people looking to host their website. Next determine if your desired domain name is available. Namecheap is a domain name registration company. Go to their website and type in your desired domain name and press search. This service will tell you if your domain is available. If it is not it will provide options that are available. You can register you domain with Namecheap or possibly with your hosting company. Copyright 2012 by The Web Host Advisor 6

7 Next Select Your Web Hosting Company What is a web hosting company? In short they provide a place for your website to be connected to the internet. They offer their computers that are always connected to the internet for you to store your files that make up your website. When someone types your domain name into their web browser they will directed to your web hosting company. The web hosting company will take that request and direct them to the specific computer that contains your website files. Web hosting companies come in two major categories. These are paid and free. If I can get my website hosted for free why would I pay to have it hosted? It seems like a straight forward question, but the answer is anything but simple. First we must understand what you get and don t get with free hosting. Most free web hosting providers give you enough space for a fairly small sized website. This is enough for some small businesses. Then you usually get some kind of webpage creator software that lets you fill in the blanks and it creates the pages for you. Who wouldn t want that? It s the best of point and click. Google does a great job with their implementation. Many free web hosting services don t even force you to host their advertising. By this I mean that there are many that force you to have their banner across the top advertising whatever they want on your website. More and more, free web hosting sites are doing away with this. This all sounds great doesn t it? Why would anyone pay for web hosting? The most important thing you get with paid web hosting is your own domain name. You also get more space, more reliability, excellent customer service and support, versatility in what you can do, unlimited addresses, and the ability to have many more people connected to your website at the same time, this is called increased bandwidth. With most paid web hosting services you will also get 1 free domain registration. Copyright 2012 by The Web Host Advisor 7

8 What Should I Look For in a Web Hosting Company? There are many things to consider when selecting a web host. What I find most important is reliability. Are they there when you need them? Is your website always available? How long have they been in business? And also how fast is the service. When your customer goes to your website you want it to load as fast as it can. There are hundreds or maybe thousands of web hosting companies available. How can you know which ones are good and which ones are bad? Which ones provide the types of services you need? We have done research and have come to some conclusions. Most web hosting companies provide excellent service and reliability. There are excellent choices in all prices ranges. They start to set themselves apart with the options they offer. You will need to decide based upon your needs. For more on how to choose a web host you can look at our web hosting review page. What Are the Various Types of Web Hosting Services? Web hosting companies provide various types of web servers. They fall into a few categories. Shared web hosts, dedicated web hosts, VPS hosts and reseller web hosts. Shared hosting is web hosting in which the web hosting service provider hosts multiple Web sites, each having its own Internet domain name, from a single Web server. This means that all the resources of that server are shared between all the domains that are hosted on that serve. The domains might be owned by one customer or many customers. This works fine for most small to medium sized businesses. Most Web hosting companies provide shared hosting. This is usually the least expensive option. Dedicated server web hosting means you are renting an entire physical server for use all by yourself. Getting a dedicated server means you don t have to share system resources with other websites. The downside is the high cost of renting and maintaining a dedicated server. VPS stands for virtual private server. A VPS Web hosting plan means you share the physical server hardware with other websites, but you are allocated a dedicated slice of the system resources. A VPS is a good bridge between low cost shared hosting and getting a dedicated server. Reseller web hosting provides you a way to host other domains for other companies. You rent a server from a hosting company and then sell web hosting services to other people. You become the web hosting company, but the company you rent from provides all the services for you. Copyright 2012 by The Web Host Advisor 8

9 How Do I Create My Website? In the old days you would create your web pages using some type of HTML editor. You would create all the code to format your pages and link them together. Then you would upload all these files to your web server and you would have your website. Today you have more options. You can hire a web developer and web designer. You could use one of the available tools designed to create the HTML for you such as Dreamweaver. You would also need to use am image editing software package such as Photshop. You could use a content management system to take care of formatting all the documents you want to use in your website. The least expensive and easiest way to create your website is to use a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress, Joomla or Drupal. Almost all web hosting companies provide these CMS s free of charge. They are a easy to install as point and click. My choice is WordPress. It is the most popular, easiest to use and it is the most reliable CMS that I have had experience with. There are many free resources available to customize the look, feel and functionality of WordPress. These are themes, plugins and widgets. I have provided some setting up WordPress lessons here. How Do I Configure WordPress to Look and Feel the Way I Want? This will include selecting a theme and defining some specific things for your site such as the name and description. These may appear in different places depending on the theme you have chosen. There are many themes that are free and some that you can pay for when you get Copyright 2012 by The Web Host Advisor 9

10 yourself up and running. Once you have some content on the website you can change the theme and the complete look and feel changes but the information stays. This is what is so wonderful about WordPress. You can change your website as your needs and style change. To install a new theme click on the Install Theme tab or button at the top of the theme screen. In this screen you can enter a term to search for themes such as magazine or technology. Press the search button and you will be brought to a page with themes matching your search selection. Scroll down through the various themes. When you have found one that you like simple press the install button. One thing to keep in mind, these themes are not recommended by WordPress nor are they created by them. The free themes have been created by your average user and may have some bugs in them. You must understand that there is a risk that you are taking when you use free themes. There are many people who create professional themes and sell them. They will not put their names on the products if they know it will cause any problems for paying customers. Expand2Web has one of the best themes for small businesses. They have a completely seamless interface for ensuring proper Search Engine Optimization. You can easily switch between 8 different layout options. There are 16 different banner styles to choose from or you can upload your own. This theme is just what a small business owner needs to manage their themes for an easy start and plenty of room to grow. How Do I Put Content on My Website? This is where the fun begins. Putting content up on WordPress is adding posts, pages, links and categories. What you put in these different areas is defined by your theme and how you want your site to appear. Pages are generally information that stays the same. They are always available and seldom change. Examples of pages would be an About Us page, or a Home page. Posts are used for your latest information. If you think about a newspaper, today s articles are the most recent posts. Yesterday s articles will appear below today s articles. Posts can appear as your home page, or pages can also appear. It is up to you and the theme you have chosen. Copyright 2012 by The Web Host Advisor 10

11 Links are connections with other websites that may offer complimentary information for your website. It may be a link to a sister organization or a resource that will help your customers. Categories helps you to organize your posts. Posts may be latest news, new resources, and new products. The choice is up to you. After you have entered your pages and posts and linked to some other websites you will have the beginnings of a great small business website. Conclusion: Each step is simple by itself. Take things one step at a time and you will have a professional website created and hosted in no time at all. For all follow up questions please contact us at: Copyright 2012 by The Web Host Advisor 11

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