You're creative. You're selling or want to sell your work and it's time for a website of your own. How do you make that happen? I'll walk you through the basics so you can do it yourself with limited experience.
Perhaps you are already selling through venues such as Etsy, eBay, Poshmark or others. I sell on Etsy and eBay. My creative website "lives" at the domain name: hedgehoglounge.com and I also own that moniker on Etsy, Facebook and Twitter. So, I had to register the domain name: hedgehoglounge.com and signup for or claim the same name or similar on whichever social media or selling venues you wish to use.
You can choose and register any domain name that is available through a domain registrar. Sometimes you have to purchase the right to use the domain name from the current registrant, but that's a bit beyond the scope of this post.
The first domain name I ever registered came with a purchase price of $600 from a company in Russia. A little scary at first, but it was legit and used a legit broker and it worked out great.
Where to start?
- Register a domain name The domain name is the web address that you want people to use to find you such as: hedgehoglounge.com. Choose wisely and remember it is going to get repeated and written down a lot. It is easy to shop for available domains at sites like NAMECheap.com. Just go to namecheap.com and type in the domain you are hoping to use. You'll have to decide which TLD (top level domain) to purchase too. This is your .com, .net .art etc. For instance, you may want to purchase the .com but also grab the .net to block another company from getting it. I always prefer a .com to a .net, .art, .me, etc. I think most people default to .com when trying to remember a web address (domain name).
As domain names are snatched up and become harder to acquire there are lots of alternative TLDs that may or may not work for you, but don't dismiss them without considering them first.
- Decide on a hosting provider This is the company that is going to store the files that will make up your website on their servers and provide you with functionality for your behind the scenes code. Unless you know a lot about building your own website, you may want to choose a hosting provider that will include an interactive website building service with which to build your site(s). These builders will serve your content to the visitor based on how they came in such as on a phone, tablet or laptop and make it look right on each and everyone of them. Companies like SquareSpace run ads saying you can be up and running in an hour or so; don't count on that type of timing happening for you. There's always a learning curve and a lot goes into planning and content.
You will probably want email address(es) that use the domain name you're registering and there are several way to get them.
Register a domain:
Find your domain name at one of the many providers out there such as Namecheap (you'd think I was on their payroll, I'm not)
I particularly like Namecheap and Cloudflare for Domain registration but there are lots of good ones such as Google domains and even GoDaddy. They all have pluses and minuses. Ask around and do your research. Namecheap is pretty much compatible with all the hosting providers out there and they have good email packages; in my experience their stuff just works. Cloudflare is the best price but not all hosting providers are compatible with them and you're on your own for email addresses.
Ultimately, your domain registrar needs to be compatible with your hosting provider and email service.
For instance, restaurants will need a big boy such as Wix to handle their menus and other needs. You use their tools and templates to create a beautiful space and, or selling space and you pay for those services through your hosting fees. Usually, you get a break when you purchase more time such as three years at a time. They have different levels of service which you can’t be sure of what all you’ll need when you signup, so start with a lower tier and you can upgrade later.
You'll want to be sure that your interactive hosting provider is compatible with your domain registrar. For instance, I have a domains registered at Cloudflare which is the best deal going for Domain registration, but isn't synergistic with every interactive hosting provider out there. So, you want to either register your domain with the hosting provider you’ll be using or check that your domain registrar will work with your hosting provider. There is usually a waiting period of a week or so to transfer a domain from one registrar to another. Additionally, most registrars will honor whatever time you may already paid for on a previous registrar.
A consideration is how email services are handled with your hosting provider or domain registrar. For instance, if you use Google Domains to register your domains; currently you have 100 email aliases thrown in with your registration fee. If you need “actual” addresses associated with your domain you can purchase a g-suite email accounts from Google workplace at an affordable price and then use your aliases to bounce to those emails.
Namecheap which has excellent pricing for domain registration will sell you email addresses for approx. $2 each per month billed yearly. And here again you get a break if you buy more up front. For instance, if your domain: “hedgehoglounge.com” requires 4 emails you can get those emails in one purchase from namecheap.com at a reasonable price.
WebHostingPad.com has excellent hosting and domain registration as well and last time I checked email is thrown in for free up to a max number of email accounts. You can also buy into Weebly and maybe other interactive builders with a registrar, hosting provider such as WebHostingPad.com.
You’re going to need at least a little knowledge on how to create your graphics, logos and other branding.
Most of interactive builders also offer you the option of hiring someone like our sister company Datagraphics.com to prepare those images for you at a reasonable price. The interactive services also offer tons of free images, backgrounds, animations and even videos included as part of their services. You don’t have to have a web designer any more. If you’d like us to assess providing those services for you through Datagraphics.com; please let us know and we’ll see what we can do for you. We can set everything up for you and pass it off for you to maintain or keep an eye on it for you. I really didn’t start this post to sell you services, but I do happen to offer them through Datagraphics.com.
What is DNS?
DNS stands for "domain name system" Domains are web addresses or URLs such as hedgehoglounge.com, datagraphics.com, google.com etc.
Web browsers provide the "windows" from which to see the domain names and their content. Web browsers locate IP internet protocol addresses which are strings of numbers such as 019.2.62 which is the domain name translated to a language that the web browsers can use and understand.
It's way easier to remember google.com than a long string of numbers that don't mean anything to us on the face of them.
Once you have your hosting and domain registrar decided upon you will have to follow some directions on how to get your stuff to point to the name servers which will house your site. Whichever hosting provider you are using will have their own set of rules on this and you'll want to follow them carefully.