5 Requirements to get your website online

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What are the essentials to get my website online?

This is a question I am asked regularly by potential clients, some of whom may already have a website but weren’t involved in bringing it live.

Small business owners, sole-traders and new start-ups who are at the stage of either requiring a new website for their business or to replace an existing one, can grow their business to a wider audience and see an increase in sales, leads or conversions.

In this blog we’ll explore what the requirements you will need to get your new business website online!

We’re going to be looking at WordPress websites specifically, as Black Fox Marketing build bespoke WordPress websites for businesses in Norfolk and Suffolk.

Domain name

Securing the right domain name for your business is vital. There are hundreds of variant endings that you can use, but Black Fox highly recommend that your website domain ends in either .co.uk or .com.

Using endings such as .net or .biz can be forgettable to users, while .co.uk and .com endings are seen as trustworthy and memorable.

Keep your domain name as short as possible. The shorter it is, the easier it is to remember and for your users to type without misspelling.

There are hundreds of domain registrars to purchase your domain name from. Finding the right one can be daunting to non-techy users! Black Fox strongly recommends Google Domains to all potential customers as it has an easy-to-use interface, helpful support and more importantly, they do not lock you in to long contracts with easy to transfer out domains. All you need is a Gmail account.

.co.uk and .com domains usually start from just £10 per year.

Some domain registrars can make it difficult for you to transfer away from them, so if you already own a domain and are going to switch to a new registrar ensure you plan your migration for minimal downtime to your website.

Domain name transfers typically take 24-48 hours to propagate.

It’s a good idea to note the expiry date down in your calendar or diary, as most domain registrars offer automatic renewals you will still need to ensure your payment information is up to date!

Black Fox Marketing can support you in purchasing, transferring or setting up your domain name.

Website hosting

As detailed on our website support page, all WordPress websites require website hosting in order to get your website live.

Website hosting is where the files and databases for the website live. By connecting your domain name with your website hosting, this allows website browsers to find and connect to your website and show its content.  

Ensuring you choose a server which is based where your customers are, i.e. a UK server is critical, as this will affect website performance for your users.

There are different types of website hosting;

Shared hosting – this is usually ideal for small businesses who don’t envisage thousands of visitors per day. This hosting is usually a cheaper alternative, because your website will sit on the same server as other websites sharing the space on the server. Nobody else can access your allocated space on the server.

Dedicated/VPS hosting – this hosting is more suited to larger businesses who may be hitting four figure visitors per day. This ensures that you have more control over your server resources and have a dedicated server for your website only. You generally see a better result in website speed with dedicated hosting and is recommended for e-commerce websites with large amounts of products.

It is vital that your website hosting includes daily or weekly backups as minimum in the case of a technical problem which requires a roll-back to an earlier backup.

You also need to make sure that you are choosing a website host that can support WordPress installation and management.

Black Fox Marketing can support you in choosing the right website hosting and manage this for you with our website support packages, see here for more information.

SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificates

SSL certificates are essential for modern websites. An SSL certificate is a digital certificate that authenticates a website’s identity and enables an encrypted connection.

Even if your website doesn’t transfer or store confidential information, some users may be blocked from accessing your website by their web browser if you don’t have an SSL certificate, resulting in a potential loss of custom.

You will know if your website has an SSL certificate as web browsers generally show a padlock symbol like this in the website address bar, see image below:

The lock depicting a secure website connection

For website functionality such as taking payments, a staff/customer portal or a booking form to be secure, your website requires an SSL certificate.

Most website hosting services provide free SSL certificates for websites hosted on their server. Black Fox Marketing will install SSL certificates on all websites built included as standard if hosted on our servers.

Install webmaster tools

You’ve purchased a domain name & hosting and successfully connected the two. Your website has been uploaded to your hosting and your SSL is installed. Your website is now live! But what is the point of a website that cannot be found? What do you need to do to ensure it’s found by search engines?

Install and connect the free Google webmaster tool Google Search Console and submit an XML sitemap of your website for their Google Bots to crawl. A sitemap essentially gives Google or other search engines an easy route to index your website quickly and get on the search results pages.

An example of a sitemap submission via Google Search Console

You can read more about our essential Google services blog here

Ongoing maintenance

WordPress is the largest and most popular CMS (content management system) on the web. As a result of this, hackers target it the most. To ensure your website has the best chance of staying secure, Black Fox Marketing offer website support packages which include:

  • Core WordPress updates
  • WordPress Plugin updates
  • Website backups and restore

Visit our website support page here for more information. We highly recommend website support packages to customers who are not confident in keeping their website secure.

Black Fox Marketing
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