What Do I Need To Get Started?

Photo by jakeandlindsay

Getting on the web isn’t hard, but it does require several steps. In this article I will give a brief overview of what you need to do.


All websites need a domain. Think of it like an address on the internet superhighway – it’s a way for people to find you.

All websites have a domain name that ends with a DOT something: .com, .org, .net, .biz, .edu. These suffixes help classify what type of website you have.

.Org are reserved for non-profits; .edu are for non-profit educational institutions; .gov are for government offices. Domains within countries have additional suffixes that indicate the country: .ca (Canada), .uk (United Kingdom), .fr (France).

If you are running a commercial venture, you should try to get a .com suffix. No matter what other people will tell you, .biz just isn’t the same…people will automatically assume that if you are a business, you will be a .com.

Next, you need to find a domain name, and make sure it isn’t taken. Sites like GoDaddy and Network Solutions allow you to check for domain names. You want to try for a domain name that is easy to remember, and doesn’t contain any misspellings.

For example, if your business was called “Handy House Repair” and you were located in Oshkosh WI, some things to search for would include:

  • HandyHouseRepair.com
  • HandyHouseRepairWI.com
  • HandyHouseRepairOshkosh.com

Things you should avoid fr this scenario:

  • HandeeHouseRepair.com (especially if HandyHouseRepair.com is already taken!)
  • JohnsonHouseRepair.com
  • IFixUrHouse.com
  • FairWeatherEnterprises.com
  • HandyHouseRepairChicago.com

Once you have selected a name and made sure it is available, you will need to purchase the domain from a registrar. GoDaddy is cheap, but it is difficult to move your domain later should you need to. Network Solutions is cheap initially and exorbitantly expensive after the first year (you can talk them down in price, though). My favorite at the moment is HostGator, whose prices are competitive, and whose customer service is outstanding, even when transferring a domain away from them.

Website Software

Domain names work with any type of website, but what your website is written in will drive your choice of host (the place where the website lives).

The two most popular platforms right now are the Windows-based servers (IIS) and Linux-based servers (WordPress).

If you want to know more about why I recommend building a website in WordPress, click here.


Next you will need a place for your website to live. Hosting takes place at a company that has banks of computers dedicated to the purpose. You can share a web server (recommended for small businesses) or get a dedicated server (much more expensive).

Which host you choose will depend on how your website is or will be constructed. Some websites need Windows servers, and some need Linux servers. WordPress runs on Linux. Most hosting places will tell you what they run, so if you need to know if they support it, you can call and ask if they support the software.

Some other things to consider with the host is how much up time they guarantee; what backups they perform; and most importantly what other people have said.

Hosting is purchased for a set period of time. Don’t purchase for less than a year. The prices are cheaper for a year or more, and a website needs at least a year to gain traction.

If this seems too intimidating, I can help you with all of the steps above. I will help you find a suitable domain, purchase it, find a host for your website, and help you purchase hosting.

Photo by jakeandlindsay. Licensed under Creative Commons.