For the those of you, who are new to the world of the Internet Economy, this post will help you quickly get familiar with the different technologies that are required to start any business on the Internet. Before I jumpstarted into blogging, I spent over 15 years in developing software product using Internet technology. In this article, my plan is to explain in simpler words so that it clear and useful to every reader.
If you plan to start an online business, it has been customary to have a website. However, in recent years with the advancement of mobile apps, some companies have preferred to have just the mobile apps. However, my suggestion is to have the website that works the same on all devices – Desktops, Mobile phones and Tablets. This will help you manage the costs better, be platform-independent (note: Mobile app platform are regulated by specific corporates by their own rules) and also get prospective clients from all possible sources.
There are about 1 billion websites. You need to have one for yourself if you want to earn income from the Internet.
This is the name of your website and in most cases, the same name is preferred for the business name as well. In the Internet technology world, the domain names must be unique and usually relate to the business. Before you start an online business or a blog, you need to come up with relevant, trendy and possibly catchy domain name.
You can get creative with names like parsely, trello or digitalocean but make sure it is easy to remember for your customers.
Here are few sites that can help you
Every domain name has a suffix such as .com, .net, .abc, .tv and so on. These suffixes are known as Top-level domain (TLD). Generally, they refer to the nature of the website.
- .com refers to a commercial website. This is recommended for all business.
- .net refers to network company
- .org refers to non-profit organizations
- .news refer to News websites
There are hundreds of such TLDs. You can refer to the entire list in the Internet Assigned Name Authority (IANA) registry site.
Few companies prefer to add geography or country codes to the domain name.
You can make a list of all preferred names and verify if the domain name is available. The domain registrar companies help you to verify the availability and also register the domain name on your behalf.
Popular domain registrar companies are
Your website has to live in some computer, right? This is known as website hosting. Many companies provide a range of hosting services from cheap and shared to pricey and exclusive options. You can opt for the right choice depending on your requirements and budget. You are a beginner, it is better to start with the shared hosting plan and you can always migrate your website when your business or blog grows.
If you are a beginner, it is better to start with the shared hosting plan and you can always migrate your website when your business or blog grows. But remember, before you finalize your hosting plan, it is recommended to research other plans from other well-known hosting providers. Most of the providers have promotional plans and offer discounts.
Some of the well-known hosting providers are
A word of caution – please prefer well-known hosting providers else you risk running into problems such as a slow website or worse completely inaccessible one. You don’t want to end up on the phone speaking for hours with their support.
Your website would have information about you, your business, blogs, images and other files. You will need a software to manage these files and provide them to your website visitors. This software is aptly known as “Content Management System” (CMS).
You have a wide array of options – WordPress.org, Joomla, Drupal, and more.
WordPress CMS is an open-source software and is installed in over 25% of the websites worldwide. It is simple to install, manage, provides hundreds of customization options and is supported by a large, active software developer community.
It is very important that you choose the right CMS for your website. If you plan to move to a different CMS later, it will impact your business with additional costs for the migration. I have deployed WordPress in all websites and suggest the same option to you as well. Unless you have a strong reason, it is better to stick with WordPress for your website.
Important – There are few vendors – Wix.com, webs.com, WordPress.com (commercial unit of WordPress) that provide free and paid websites that are hosted on their computers. However, if you plan to start an online business or a blog, you will be limited by the number of customizations and monetization options. So, it is always recommended that you procure from the website hosting providers and build the website. That way, you will have full control on how you want your website to look alike and enable the monetization options.
This is all it takes to own a domain and create a plain-vanilla website.
You want your business website or your blog to be unique, secure and possibly sell your products, right?
Then, you have some more work to do. In fact, you can spend endless hours in trying those hundreds of options in customizing your site.
Similar to mobile apps in Apple AppStore or Google’s PlayStore, the CMS software ( WordPress) provide different customization software known as plugins.
I recommend that you first make a list of all features that you prefer and then search and install the required plugins.
Here are some features that you may want to consider –
The Themes manage your website layout, default colors, widgets and other customization options. The advantage with WordPress (and other open-source CMS) is that you can try many of free or paid themes before you can finalize on one of them.
Important – Earlier I had recommended having a website that is supported across all devices – Desktops, Mobile phones and Tablets, right? You can look for “responsive” themes and try them for your websites. These “responsive” themes are wise enough to identify the type of device and accordingly change the layout. You will definitely save on development and maintenance costs.
When you have your website up and running, you need to start the visitors (technically known as the traffic), their country/browser/…, how long they spend on specific pages and so on.
The populate Google Analytics plugin helps to integrate your website with the Google’ Web Analytics service.
Just as with your physical store or home, you need to fortify your website with protection measures.
Wordpress plugins for security such as WordFence, Akismet protect your website from malicious visitors and spamming bots.
Easy to find for customers
There are about a billion websites and for any prospective first-time customer to find your website would like searching a needle in a mound of hay. You definitely want your website to show up on the first page of Google or Bing or in other Search engines. Right?
Showing up on the first page is a huge sale opportunity for every business and any serious business will put great effort to do so.
You will have to follow the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) guidelines published by Google (and other search engines). WordPress plugins such as Yoast SEO (and many others) make it easy to get started in optimizing your website so that your customer find you while searching.
If you plan to sell products on your website, you can install the popular “WooCommerce” plugin. It can help you put up the products up for display, help with receiving payments from your customers
The technology around us is evolving at a great pace and the technology that powers the Internet is no different. Fortunately, it has been simpler and more affordable to get started. With less than $15 dollars and few hours of your time, you can get started with a fully functional website. Technology does not discriminate users but as users, we need to embrace them to build your dreams.
Share with me – your experience in learning technology and what you loved or hated.
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