At times, we all wish someone could just simply tell us what-is-what when it comes to websites, hosting, domain names, WordPress, or ecommerce. I was curious as to how hard it is to find explanations for these words, so I did a simple search on them.
What I got was all about encrypted links, integral data protocols, structured text nodes, ECM, WCM and hypermedia. I did not get the real answers I was looking for.
Can I promise you that after reading this article everything about your website will be crystal clear? You tell me.
What is a domain name?
A domain name is a name you can use to identify different things on the Internet which belong to you – typically the pages of your website and email addresses you are using. The reason you have to use this label is so people can find them.
All domain names are unique on the Internet.
When you register a domain name, a website can be assigned to this name.
Once the website has a domain name assigned to it, visitors, search engines, and other software programs can find your web pages from anywhere on Planet Earth.
Even from space.
What domain name should I get?
For example, our domain name is epicmarketingpartners.com. The “epicmarketingpartners” portion is the name we picked for our website. It was a logical choice since our company name is Epic Marketing Partners.
Select something what is no longer than 25 character and it explains what you are doing. Also, it needs to be available (remember, it is a unique name on the Internet).
The com (commercial) at the end is called the top level domain name. “Com” is one of the original top level domain names, probably the most famous one, but nowadays dozens of different names are available from which you can choose. Yes, you can only pick the one you like, but you cannot come up with your own top level domain name.
These top level domain names can identify the website’s country of origin or the type of the business or organization it represents. Do you want to see them all? Click here.
What is website hosting?
What “stuff” can I store on my hosting account?
Website pages of course; but if you are using the domain name in your email address, then emails you receive is also stored on the hosting account.
You can also store (and share if you want) a wide variety of other things: videos, music, images, documents, programs, databases, and more.
The domain names, websites, and the emails need to be stored on computers that are connected on the internet all the time so people have access to your pages. These computers are called servers. Depending on their main role, they can be called web servers or domain name servers for example.
The servers are maintained by hosting companies. Hosting companies are also responsible for access, speed, security, and infrastructure.
A hosting account is when for a monthly fee you “rent” a portion of these server computers to store your stuff on it.
How many hosting accounts do I need to have a website?
One or more.
The website and domain name it belongs to can be stored with the same hosting company (maybe on single account), or with two different companies.
In a similar way, if you want emails using your domain name (such as email@example.com), you need to buy email hosting with a hosting company.
Again, this can be the same or a different company you are using to host your domain name or website.
Which one is the best way, using several hosting companies or a single one?
Hosting with the same company has some advantages: you get one bill, and you only need to call one company if you have a problem. You might get some package deals or freebies having multiple products at the same company.
Hosting with different companies has some advantages as well: you can optimize hosting to the cost and performance. While life is more complicated with two or three companies, you can pick and choose those based on services, performance, and price.
At EMP we did our homework to find the best performing and cost efficient hosting solutions in all of these areas. We use these handpicked hosting companies for our clients’ hosting needs, so they can enjoy the advantages of both worlds.
So, what things do I need to get my website up on the Internet?
- a domain name
- a website
- domain name hosting account
- website hosting account
- email hosting account. It is optional and only necessary if you want to use your domain name in your email address.
The best order is to have these things:
- buy a domain name
- develop the website
- set up hosting account(s) and connect everything together
As a full service website company, we at EMP set up all of these for our clients.
Is it website or webpage?
Some websites contain only a single webpage, but most of the time the sites have several pages.
What is WordPress and why do we use it?
WordPress is a software program to create a website. This type of software is called CMS (content management system). It is free and can be used to build commercial websites. There are several content management systems out there, however WordPress is the most popular and the most supported around the word by far.
The advantage of a CMS is that most text and images on a page can be edited using a menu system without actually “coding” anything.
Many of our clients opt to do minor changes by themselves, and WordPress gives them the freedom to do that. This is the reason why, at EMP, we are offering websites developed in WordPress.
What is an ecommerce site?
Ecommerce site is a website visitors can use mainly to purchase products or services. Most of the time the online store is an extra functionality on top of a “normal” website, but sometimes the whole website is only a single (usually huge) store, such as Amazon or Overstock.
To develop the store functionality we need to use special software tools most of the time. There are dozens out there, but after trying many kinds over the years, we settled on these two systems:
- Magento is an ecommerce platform. It is reliable, robust and above most of all: it is free. Magento offers extensive reporting, powerful search, marketing engine optimization, and catalog management tools so you can showcase your products in a customized way.
- WooCommerce is an online store management system that integrates into WordPress. It has inventory, coupons, shipping and payment tools, and comes with basic reporting.
Everyone needs an ecommerce store if they want to sell something?
It depends on what kind of products or services you are offering for your clients, your business could benefit from having an ecommerce store.
Should you spend a few extra bucks on security?
Using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) on a website means that there is a coded communication between the visitor on your website and the server where your website is hosted.
If you have an ecommerce site, then your buyers are sending their credit card information to travel through server to server on the Internet. The ecommerce activities are regulated by Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the United States. The security standards and regulations are provided by the PCI Security Standards Council. Based on these regulations, you must have SSL on your ecommerce website.
All right, but what if you have a website for your business and you only just ask for a name and an email address? In that case, it is your choice if you want to use SSL or not.
However, I can tell you that when it comes to site ranking, Google prefers websites using SSL.
People love it as well. You also love it, right?
Thanks! Now, since I understand the basics, can I build a website on my own?
Of course you can.
There are dozens of Build-Your-Own template website building services available online. Some of these solutions are indeed super cheap, but do your research carefully because there are drawbacks.
Some places might add their own advertisement to your site. Some charges inflated monthly hosting fees, so over months and years you pay them for your website, even though you had to build it on your own.
However, the most serious disadvantage of the BYO template websites are that you never really own your website code, meaning that you cannot take your site away. That very website you invested hundreds of hours and dollars into over time is stuck. Your only choice is to live with the limited functionality or rebuild your website from scratch.
We were all there before, and when you realize this, it is not a happy moment.
Still, for a private website a template can be a reasonable, cost-saving option if you have plenty of time and you are computer savvy. Just be sure you fully understand your needs and the available features of the service you choose, because there is no turning back.
However, the efficiency and the result is questionable when we talk about a business website, when the goal is to generate income.
Should I hire guns?
A full website design and development project lasts for several weeks even for a team of specialists. The online market evolves and changes much faster than anything else. Very few successful businesses can afford a mediocre online presence, and for a startup company it is pretty much a deadly sin.
Regardless of whether you are a startup or the owner of an established company, you need to be able to stay focused on the core of your business, so you need to find a reliable website development company and work with them.
As an additional benefit, some service website designers can also help you with setting up and managing the online marketing campaigns for your business.
Your best bet for success comes when your brand and business are professionally represented for the online audience.
Something is not crystal clear? Ask your questions below.