How to Register a Domain and Plan Your Website

The marketing house

Marketing ‘How To’ Guide

Domain Names & Web Hosting

Domain Registration

It is not safe to assume that everyone knows what a domain is, so quite simply, a domain name locates an entity on the internet, just as your home or business address locates you on planet earth. When you think of the most successful websites you know, chances are that what comes to your mind is their domain name eg ebay.com or amazon.com

. A great domain name is the foundation of your web based business or company website. Some key things to consider when brainstorming a domain name:

– It should be clear and concise (easy to say and easy to spell)

– It should clearly communicate what your website is all about

– It must be memorable

After brainstorming, make a list of about 5 preferred domain names. As the internet has evolved rapidly, most of the really great domain names are already taken, so a variation of your favourite may be needed. Once you have selected a domain name, you need to find a Domain Name Registrar. You will pay a registration fee, and this is renewable annually. You can expect to pay anywhere between R70 and R150 for .co.za domain and anywhere between R120 and R200 for a .com domain. Your Domain Name Registrar will conduct an availability search on your chosen domain names, and then register the available one accordingly. Make sure that your registrar registers your domain in your company or personal name as this indicates the true ownership of the domain.

It is important to note that a domain fee differs from a web hosting fee. A domain fee secures your domain on the Internet, just as buying a home secures your spot on planet earth. However, to live in this house you still need to pay your rates, levy and electricity every month to the service authorities. In the same manner, to host a website on your domain, you need to pay a monthly hosting fee to the host who services your secured spot on the internet. This will vary anywhere from around R50 a month to R500 a month, depending on the size of your website and the functionality required.

Planning Your Website

You now have a great domain name, but what are you going to build on it?

Questions to ask before you plan your site:

– What is the purpose of the site? Is it to sell a product online with a payment gateway? Or to offer a virtual service such as a booking engine; or is it to simply advertise a company’s product offering online

– What should the site look and feel like? You look and feel should be in line with your target audience. You would not design a site advertising party clowns, with a serious black and white formal structured website, just as you would not design a site advertising a financial business by using part clowns in bright vivid colours dancing across your screen. Consider things such as colour, flash animation, flow lines or structured blocks, navigation buttons, and formal versus funky

– What ingredients do you need? Your website needs contents, images and perhaps some downloadable information. We will discuss more on content in the next issue. You may need blogging software, an online payment solution, and an email contact form

Now that you have an idea of the purpose of your site, what it should look and feel like, and what ingredients it needs, we can set about creating a site plan.

The best way to design a site plan is with a blank piece of paper and a pencil. Turn the A4 page landscape ways, and write

HOME PAGE on the far left. From here, create a spider-gram out to the right, for the main pages of your site. From each of these main pages write keywords out next to them for the main content of the page. This will help you establish whether you need to have further sub pages. This will also help you to establish where ingredients like Shopping carts, articles, downloads and contact or enquiry forms will be placed.

You’re now ready to start collecting design and development quotations. Here is a quick checklist to send with any quote requests:

– A Website Plan clearly indicating the number of pages required

– A list of special image requirements that you need designed or purchased such as logos or photographs. Don’t assume that a logo and images come free with the website

– Any special-ingredient requirements such as a shopcart, payment portal or a blog

– Anything else you expect the designer to assist you with, such as content writing or editing

The designer will then give you a project quote, with certain Terms and Conditions. One of these is usually that content is supplied, so be sure you are both on the same page in this regard!

Happy Marketing!

Megan Harris

The marketing housePhone: +27 (0)83 797 1980
Fax to Email: 086 541 7703
Skype: megan.bender.harris
Email: megan [at] themarketinghouse.co.za
www.themarketinghouse.co.za
Postal Address: Unit 2, Tyrell House, Crowthorne Corner, Garlicke Road, Ballito
Postal Address: P.O. Box 1409, Ballito, 4420
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