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Website essentials – domain names and hosting in 7 easy steps

Last updated Jun 8, 2020

Needing a guiding hand with your website essentials?

Look no further – in these 7 easy steps I’ll let you know what you need to get up and running. Starting up a new business is hugely exciting, but the amount of tasks you need to take can be overwhelming. Registering a domain name should be one of the first things that you undertake, as the names which are available to you may influence your branding choices. A good place to start is Lean Domain Search as it gives you variations on your choice and shows you available Twitter handles too. Once you have settled on a domain name, here are the next steps that you need to take.

1) Register your preferred domain name

It doesn’t matter where you register it – just be sure that if you go for a free one with a hosting plan, that the renewal fees aren’t astronomical next year. I use NameCheap as the registration process is so easy and the ongoing management of the domains is really straightforward.

2) Purchase a hosting plan

I’d be inclined to register the domain with the host that you choose – it just cuts out an additional step. Call their help desk just to be sure that there’s someone on the other end of the phone and ask them how they will help you migrate a website, repoint a domain name, or anything else that pops into your head. If they don’t pick up the phone, or if they’re not helpful, go to another provider. I use Siteground for WordPress websites – they’re optimised for WordPress, they are reliable and their service is great.

3) Point your domain

If you register your domain name somewhere other than your hosting provider, you will need to point your domain to your hosting plan – your hosting provider should talk you through this process.

4) Set up your emails

It may take up to 24 hours for your domain name to point to your new host (it usually only takes a few hours). Therefore give it a day if you can, and then log into the control panel using the details that your hosting provider sent you, and set up your email address (that’s associated with your domain eg. myname@mydomain.com). To do this, once you’re in the control panel, click on emails, create new account. Add your new email address and make a note of the password you have selected, and the configuration settings for POP3 and IMAP. I add these into a document in Dropbox so I always have access to them if ever I need them.

5) Set up your emails on your computer

You will be able to access your emails through your webmail which is usually accessible through a web link which looks something like mydomain.com/webmail. However, it’s far more convenient for you to access them in the likes of Outlook or Mail. In whichever email client you use, set up a new email account, and add the configuration settings that you made a note of when you created the email address. Now send yourself a test email or ask someone else to, and be sure to respond to it as well to make sure that your outgoing emails are working as well as your incoming ones.

Using WordPress?

If you’re going to use a WordPress website, follow these directions too: Install WordPress either through the one click installer in your control panel, or call your web host and ask them to talk you through the process. Again, ensure that you make a note of your username and password that you choose during the installation process. Now you’re ready to get started with receiving emails and building your website. If you want a more in-depth view of any of the points above, and a few more too, you can have a look at my ‘what you need to start a website‘ post – I wrote it a while back, but the principles still apply. If you want more tips about creating, improving and marketing a WordPress website, join my WordPress Happy Community for free.

Vicky Etherington

Vicky Etherington has been running her own online marketing agency since 2003, and in 2014 transitioned to working with coaches and therapists to teach them how to create their own client-attracting websites. 

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