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Website marketing guide
for small businesses and start-ups

How to get your website started

If you have no idea about how to start a website then this section is for you. If you already have a website then it is probably best to now go to the section called "Promoting your Website with Search Engines" which can be found later in the Guide.

Buy a domain name

The first step is to buy a domain name. The domain name will be the address of your website. For example, www.simplybusiness.co.uk or www.bbc.co.uk. This is how people will be able to find your website and distinguishes it from the other websites on the internet.

You register a domain name when you buy it and you normally pay yearly to keep that domain registered in your name. You can buy domain names for longer periods, it depends on how much money you want to spend at the beginning and how confident you are that you will still be running your website in a few years time.

There are numerous companies you can register domain names with such as www.123-reg.co.uk, www.godaddy.com, www.netnames.co.uk and many others. A list of domain registrars in the UK can be found here.

The cost for a domain name can vary slightly, but the typical cost to register a domain for one year would be from £5.00 upwards.

Choosing a domain name

If your business is already established and has a brand that is synonymous with the business it could be quite important to have a domain name that matches your business name.

Potential customers might directly type in your business name when looking for your business online, especially if you are more well known off line. For example www.yourbusinessname.co.uk is ideal.

Sometimes the domain name you want is already taken, in which case you will need to go for another name. You could opt to add hyphens to the name, for example www.your-business-name.co.uk . This isn't really ideal in terms of branding your website and having users easily find you but it is possible to do.

It is a good idea not to make your domain name too long, the shorter it is the easier it is to remember, you might also want to put the name on promotional offline material like your business cards so you want the name to be short enough to fit on.

If you are just starting your business, thinking about the domain name early on will help you. You may want to see if the name you are choosing for your business is available as a domain before you officially decide to call your business that name.

Choose a web host

Once you have a domain name you now need a host for your website. A host is the place your website will be located. Internet users will be able to access your website through a host.

It is important to have a reliable host that keeps your website up and running as much as possible, so choose carefully as some are better than others. A couple of lower cost recommendations are listed here but you can also do your own research.

Positive Internet Company
Dataflame
Web Hosting Talk – a forum where people give opinions and recommendations about web hosts and a great place to do some research.

The cost of hosting varies depending upon which company you use, prices can start from £10.00 per month upwards.

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