PIECE-OF-ADVICE

I get A LOT of questions regarding setting up a website or where to set one up or HOW to set one up.  A lot of the questions are relatively the same.  What to do? Where to Host or do you have any tips and OF course I do

Except yesterday I was on an unusual call. From time to time, people I know or work with call me to help rescue a site.  A company will hire a web designer because they are ‘affordable’ or it is a relative or close friend.  Except, the experience to which the designer spoke of wasn’t up to snuff. So I will be called in to help fix a technical issue or perhaps fulfill their design vision.

What made yesterday’s phone call interesting was that it had nothing to do with the afformentioned.. It had to do with the fact the designer has run off (also a common complaint) but they took all the access information with them.  The web designer had both the admin panel access and the hosting information.  This is a big NO NO. This is like hiring a Contractor while you vacation in Florida only to come back & find out the locks were changed and he has taken off with no trace to be anywhere. You try to break in but the windows are sealed with unbreakable glass and your neighbors are new & have never met you.   While you may be able to prove this is indeed your address fixing this problem isn’t as easy as a 2 step process.

My biggest piece of advice is to NEVER EVER leave your password information in the hands of another.

Setting up your site is daunting however, it is just that. YOUR site. This represents any number of things, your vision, your business, your shop!  If your means of income are dependent what you put on the internet, do not leave your passwords in the hands of others.

So what should you do?

Solution 1: Get Assistance

Well, any good designer, is going to pass your information along. However, many designers are working late at night so they may not be in contact with you as they set up. If at all possible, ask the designer to walk you through your set up.

Solution 2: Set it up yourself.

While this process may seem daunting to the non-technial person, it really is a simple how to and it is a matter of just knowing where to look.  (I just got a tutorial from Woodshop Girl on how to put my skill saw together, and well, at least setting up your site does not result in possible amputation)

This ultimately is the best way. You can then give your contracted designer privileged access.

My process of setting up a website is 2 fold. I purchase the domain off one site. & then I purchase the hosting elsewhere.

For those that still get a little confused between domains & hosting, let me break it down a little further. Domains are the name of your site, (this alone deserves its own blog post).  Hosting is where you ‘store’ your site. In concrete terms, think of the domain as purchasing a franchise, and hosting is which mall you want to open your store in. Hosting, like malls, offer different features, space & assistance.  Some are better equipped for large department stores while others are perfect for the little boutique.

So your site is like a car, you have a basic model & then you may have all the bells & whistles.  An ecommerce site, may need higher security to process the credit cards and the bandwidth to store all of the photos. Blogs will continue to always grow but ultimately do not need as much space.  Possibly, you may have a one page site you are using to serve as a landing page.

I mention these features because these effect the pricing structure of your host provider.

Are you swimming in details?  Sorry, lets walk through the process.

I will walk through the way that I set up a site. I Purchase the domain at godaddy.com   You can cross reference all of the extensions there: .ca, .net, .co etc…  and pick up what you need.   However, the trick is to NOT BUY ANYTHING ELSE.  Like the checkout at Best Buy, there are tons and tons of add ons that make you think you need them but… you don’t.  I say this because you are simply purchasing the name only.  Hosting will be provided elsewhere.  So they will send you an email with your login co-ordinates.. save this. Even though you may only need to see this one time, you do need to login to your account from time to time (and don’t forget why I started this post) and we will need to login in after you set up your host.

So finding the right domain name is one obstacle but, there were things to consider in choosing a host.  The host provider I like to use is Bluehost and do recommend them to all of my clients.  What I like about them is that they are very user friendly in addition to having 1 click wordpress install (not such a new thing anymore. Gone are the days having to ftp wordpress to your site in the very back end.. now it is 1 click & you are practically up & running!).  Other great features include 24/7 technical support, scalability and an enhanced Cpanel (the control panel).

I’ve worked with other host accounts & I find the technical support a HUGE bonus. There are some that keep office hours, and when you email, are given 24 hours before they respond. Except if things blow up, they can’t wait.  The scalability is a great feature because as previous mentioned be it department store or tiny boutique, they have the hosting plan that will suit your need. Lastly their control panel is easy to navigate.  When you need to install new features or add emails, the panel is user friendly. Go Daddy as a contrast is designed to try & up sell you at all times. It can be quite confusing to navigate through.

Bluehost offers 3 pricing tiers all of which are very affordable and range from 3.95-14.95/month.  Basic websites & Blogs are well taken care of with the basic plan.  So for the cost of a starbucks coffee (could you imagine if we just drank 1 per month?), you can host your dream site.

Last question.. how long do you want your site for?  When you purchase your domain &your host, you will be asked how many years you want to own this site.  While it may be cost effective to buy in bulk and purchase for 5 years, I don’t always recommend doing this.  One of the reasons is that if you are starting out, even though you may have good intentions, may not have the same vision in 2 years.  Additionally, technology is always changing and fast.  A website is outdated in 2 years time.  Giving yourself a 2 year buffer to re-evaluate where you are with your brand and your site, is a good timeline. While WordPress is hot right now, we don’t know where it will be in 5 years from now.

So you laid down the credit card, you have made your purchases, however, you are not QUITE finished yet.  The last step is to point your domain.  Basically you need to tell go daddy where your site will be.  So you need to find out what the nameservers are. In Bluehosts case, they are:

ns1.bluehost.com
ns2.bluehost.com
ns3.bluehost.com

as you see, it is the name of the host with the preface of ns1,2,3.  The trick is knowing where to place it on the godaddy side.

1. Log back in to Go Daddy (I told you to hold on to your info).

2. Click on ‘domains’ and open the accordian.

You will see the following screen (of course it will not be blank, I have more then one domain I manage)

domain-accordian

3: Select ‘Manage Nameservers’.

You will be taken to the settings screen.

nameserver setting

3: Select ‘Manage’ under nameservers & yet another pop up will appear. (yes, this is a repetitive exercise). popup

4: To change what is entered, click ‘edit’ and enter your info and save.

Give the internet time to populate and your domain will have a hold screen.  From here it is a matter of installing, and designing your website!  (still to come in posts).

 


 

If you ever have questions about hosting/ domains or even anything about your website, please drop me a line!

If Bluehost sounds like a great option for your website, you can attain their hosting below.



 


 

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