Managing website content
Nearly every website has content. Content can include graphics, video, text, audio files, and data. Content is essentially anything on your website that conveys meaning or information and once it is on your website, it requires that you maintain it.
Creating a website
Taking a couple of steps back, by now you have acquired a domain name and purchased a web hosting account. The next step is creating your website. A website is simply a collection of web pages and on these webs pages you will communicate to your future website visitors through the content that you leave behind on these pages.
The Basic Approach
There are a number of ways to build websites and create content. The most basic approach is creating web pages by building the pages through the use of HTML. HTML is considered a markup language which is another way to say that HTML adds formatting to your web pages. You can edit this code manually or through an HTML editor that resembles word processing software. By taking this route you have the most flexibility in design and functionality but this approach has a steeper learning curve and will likely take you a lot more time to master. There are countless resources online that can help you get started.
The Quick Start Approach
An alternative to manually building each and every page from the ground up is to utilize a content management system. Content management systems remove much of the technical skill required to build websites though it comes at a cost of less flexibility in webpage design. WordPress is a highly regarded open source (free) content management system that can be installed on all of the recommended hosting plans, usually at no extra charge. One of the main benefits of WordPress is the multitude of add on software called plug-ins and themes. A “plug-in” is an add-on application whereas a “theme” is predesigned style or user interface.
Getting Started With WordPress
WordPress originally started as a simple content management system (CMS) for setting up and managing blogsites, though with incremental improvements to the CMS platform, WordPress is now used widely by individuals to large corporations because of its flexibility and ease of use. The essentials of setting up a WordPress site generally include (1) purchasing a domain name, (2) subscribing to a hosting plan, and (3) getting WordPress installed on your hosting plan. There are a number of companies that can provide all three services, making it easy for the beginner to get started quickly.
A domain name that people remember. Ideally, your domain name should reflect the products and services your business provides. This allows prospective customers to more easily recall your business and hopefully your domain name. Remember that domain names act as a brand, just like the brands that your business offers, so customer recall of your domain name is critical.
Your Business Name as Your Domain Name
For example, Microsoft, Google, Sears, and Walmart all use their business name as the primary domain name. Other companies use domain names that focus on their product or service offers like Florist.com, Cars.com, and Water.com.
Domain names that match “words” are commonly referred to as dictionary names. In the late 1990’s, dictionary names were hot commodities and could cost over a million dollars. Business.com sold for a record $ 7.5 million in 1999, but since then Insure.com sold for 16 million in 2009, Toys.com sold for $ 5.1 million in 2009, and Beer.com sold for $ 7 million in 2004. Dictionary names, although initially expensive, allow for excellent branding and are so memorable; people can easily recall not only the brand, but the domain name as well. Dictionary names also shorter in character length, which can improve the rate at which customers can correctly recall and enter the domain name. How often have you been able to remember a phone number from a radio broadcast? How about a domain name?
Alternatives to Dictionary Names
As internet browser software has evolved, owning a dictionary name has become less important because a user can now type the name of the business into a browser bar and an integrated search engine connection will bring back the most relevant results. Unless you have significantly misspelled the domain name, you should have the correct domain name presented to you high in the search results. With this built-in intelligence, your domain name can be less succinct and more descriptive.
For example, instead of cars.com or trucks.com, you could alternatively acquire BuyGreatCars.com, which is currently available at the time of this writing. With help from search engines, your customers need to type in something close to “buy great cars” and let the search engines help present the correct name to the customers.
Top Level Domains
Each domain name has a stem or top level domain (TLD) that it is contained within. The most common TLD is “.com”, which refers to commercial use. Typically, you will want to acquire a domain name with the TLD of “.com”, which refers to commercial use. Non-profits organizations may want to use “.org” instead of “.com” to acknowledge the purpose of their website.
How to Find and Acquire a Domain Name
There are basically two approaches to acquiring a domain name: (1) Buy the domain name from a registrar or (2) buy it from a current owner. Before we go any further, it is important to understand domain names are essentially leased, not owned. A person or business may purchase the right to use the domain name, usually the terms are multiples of annual terms.
Buying Domain Names From Registrar
There are thousands of sellers and resellers of domain names, though it is wise to think long-term about your purchase. It’s often a good practice to purchase your domain name with the same company that you intend to use to host your website. This makes the purchase and setup of the domain and hosting a lot easier in most cases. Saving a couple of dollars a month by buying your domain and hosting services from different providers often ends up costing you much more in the long run in effort and frustration.