May 31, 2019

Setting up a web presence for your practice - a primer

Today, we're going to cover how to register a domain name, set up a website, and start sending business email using your domain name.

Setting up a web presence for your practice - a primer

In our previous article we discussed 3 reasons for your business to have it's own domain name. Today, we're going to cover how to register a domain name, set up a website, and start sending business email using your domain name.

1) Select a domain name and register it.

Domains have to be registered with companies that are licensed to register them.  Two of the most common companies are Godaddy and domain.com.  Start by searching to see if your practice name is available.  If it is not, try to pick something, short, unique, and memorable.  If you don't find any .com domain that you like, there are now many new top-level domains to choose from, including .vet!

2) Build your own website.

Creating your own website has become simple and cheap.  There are many website authoring tools have made creating a website something that just about anyone can do.  Let's consider three types of websites you could build -- a simple static content site, a blog site, or a completely custom site.

For a simple website, with content that changes infrequently, consider using Godaddy or Squarespace.  Both offer beautiful templates, and simple drag-and-drop tools for quickly building websites that look great online and on mobile devices (which is crucial these days).

If you prefer a website that allows you to regularly post articles online, look for a web hosting company that provides managed WordPress hosting.  This means that the hosting company takes care of managing the server, the application, patching, and security, and you simply provide the content.  Some companies that offer these types of services include Dreamhost and Bluehost.

Lastly, if you want full control over your website, you can hire a web designer  to build a  customized website.  However, this approach requires that you manage everything about running your website, including finding a hosting company to host the website file, and updating your website, which will be more complicated than it would be with a managed website.  Also, this approach tends to be much more expensive than the prior options.

3) Send business email using your domain name.

To make the most out of your web presence, you will want your business and staff communications to look professional and come from your business' domain name. The hosting company that you chose will almost always provide you with the option to create emails for your practice.  This is a great place to start because it is least expensive and easy to set up.  However, there are other options.  For example, Google G-Suite allows you to  use gmail with your business email addresses, as well as  collaborate using Google Docs and share data via Google Drive. Prices start as low as $6 per user per month.  Zoho Workplace is another good option, with email starting as low as $1 per user per month.

Photo by Pablo Gentile on Unsplash