People new to the field of ecommerce need a website to establish credibility and legitimacy. Getting a website can be a confusing experience for people who are not good with technology, but the process doesn’t have to be frustrating.
Many website creation tools exist today, and one of the first steps is to decide whether you want to learn how to create, design, and control your website or if you want to pay a professional do the work. One increasingly popular tool is WordPress. Other website creation tools include Joomla and Drupal. These platforms are open source and versatile.
However, if you want a ready-to-go ecommerce suite, then Shopify or BigCommerce may be better since such services offer a turn-key model.
While we recommend that you learn how to manage your website, we understand that you are busy doing a hundred other things. Many ecommerce businesses will opt to pay professionals, but you’ll also have to rely on them for updates.
This article will focus on domain registration and the various web hosting options available. If you’ve decided to use WordPress, then choosing a domain and web hosting service may be more simplified. Any graphics used are purely for informational purposes only.
Our earlier blog post has some great tips for choosing a name, but if you already have a business name, then you can head to any number of domain registrars for registration. Some popular ones are NameCheap, DreamHost, and Bluehost. You can find a complete list of domain registrars on ICANN’s website–make sure that the company you use is an accredited registrar.
Registering a domain name is cheap, ranging from $10 to $15 a year for a .com domain.
Google’s domain registration starts at $12 for a .com domain:
Once you have registered a domain name, you need to determine what kind of web hosting service you’ll use.
Most domain name registrars also offer web hosting that includes at least one free domain name registration. If you decide to change hosting providers, you will be able to transfer your domain name for a small fee. If you’re starting out, then buying web hosting that comes with a free domain name may be a simpler solution.
You should also think about getting privacy protection, also known as WHOIS protection or WHOIS guard. Your information is public when you register a domain name. Domain privacy or WHOIS protection mask your personal information when other people look up your domain.
There are hundreds of web hosting providers. You may want to shop around for price and features. Many of the low prices quoted by domain registrars and web hosting providers are introductory rates for the first year, after which you will pay the regular price.
One of the cheapest web hosting services is shared hosting. Shared hosting is a service where the resources of one physical server are shared across hundreds or thousands of other websites. Because one server handles numerous sites, this can lead to a problem where one website on the server uses significant resources, slowing down websites for everyone else. An increase or spike in traffic for a few sites may mean a slowdown for your website.
VPS, or virtual private server, is another standard hosting service. VPS differs from shared hosting in that you receive dedicated resources on a server. This option gets around the issue of having one website take up too many resources and slowing down your site. This service provides some of the benefits of both a dedicated server and a shared server. VPS hosting is a bit more expensive than shared hosting, but it’s a better option if you need consistency.
Here’s an example of different prices from Bluehost:
If you anticipate having hundreds of thousands of visitors and you want to have complete control over your server, then you may want to lease a dedicated server. Dedicated servers are the most expensive option since you are allowed full customization and control.
One popular choice now is WordPress hosting. Services optimize their servers for WordPress, often claiming to reduce load times by 1 second. While this may not seem like a lot, even one second can stop customers from visiting your website. WordPress hosting also includes features like security, backup, and technical support. WordPress hosting is a good option if you are considering WordPress for your site.
SiteGround also offers WordPress hosting. These services tend to be a little higher than shared hosting. For many web hosting providers, WordPress hosting is about the same price as VPS hosting. One drawback to WordPress hosting is that the features and server options are minimal.
Many web hosting providers also offer scalability, automatically increasing resources whenever there is a high amount of traffic to your website. This feature will cost more, but it will allow you to handle increased traffic in the event your product becomes viral. Scalability is a feature worth considering if you do a lot of social media marketing.
Another solution is using Amazon Web Services (AWS) to host your website. Amazon Web Services provides a lot of scalabilities, and many of their features charge based on usage. The fees you pay per month can be low if you’re not getting many visitors. But if you get a spike in visitors, the service will automatically scale to handle the visitors. However, using AWS requires more a little more technical expertise. AWS also offers a host of other features like analytical tools that web hosting providers may not provide.
Having a website adds a lot of credibility and authenticity to your ecommerce business. Doing a little research now will mean a lot less frustration later. The last thing you want is for your product to go viral only for your website to slow to a crawl because of shared hosting. Once you’ve settled on a website, read our article for tips on how you can improve your website load speed.