What do you really need in order to have your own website?
There are three main ingredients. What they are, and how they work together, are not generally well understood by non-geeks. It doesn’t help that the words can be confusing. The main ingredients are
Text and Images
But these words don’t really help you understand what you need.
Let’s look at each of these three things in turn, learn a bit about them, and then finish off with an overview of how they work together.
A domain name is something that identifies you, or your company, on the Internet. For example, coherentdigital.com.au is a domain name. google.com is another domain name. Other examples include yahoo.com, une.edu.au, whitehouse.gov, business.gov.au.
You commonly see a domain name used in two different ways. One is in an email address, after the @. For example, google.com is the domain name in the email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
The other common use is as part of the identity of a website. Many companies will have one website, and they will call it www. Combining this website name (www) with the domain name (coherentsoftware.com.au) gives us the full identifying name of www.coherentsoftware.com.au.
Some organisations have multiple websites. The main one might be called www, a secure version might be called secure, one designed for you to browse their shop might be called shop and so on. These would combine with their domain name (such as example.com.au) to give a different full name for each site: www.example.com.au, secure.example.com.au and shop.example.com.au.
If you want a website, you need a name and domain name for the site, so people can access the site. Free and very cheap packages often let you use the domain name of the package provider (e.g. bigpond.com). This can make things easy for a personal website, however any business should register its own domain name. There are many advantages to registering your own domain name. Some of the advantages apply also to individuals, so even if you are an individual you should consider registering a domain name.
You are showing your potential customers that your business is serious, and not just a hobby.
You are helping to brand your business.
It is easier for people to remember how to find you.
You can change Internet suppliers without having to change your web or email address. That’s also useful for individuals: you can’t take their domain with you when you move.
You can (and should!) use the domain name for email as well.
It doesn’t cost much! For example, a .com.au domain is currently $15 per year.
Once you have a domain name, you need text and images for the website. I will talk about those in the next article, The 3 Necessary Ingredients for a Website Part 2.