Almost all companies would benefit in some way from setting up a website – not only to sell products or services, but also to provide a brochure to potential clients or customers, or simply to provide contact information. So, how do you set up your own company website?
In fact, it has never been easier to create a website, and aside from creating a logo or extra design features, you can do everything without only a very basic knowledge of technology, or how the web works.
Here are the basic steps required to take your site from the ‘idea’ stage, to becoming a fully-functioning arm of your business:
1) Domain Names
All web sites have their own unique identifier – a domain name. Before you start, you should think carefully about what you want your domain name to be. Will it be your company name, a brand, or something else? And, is it actually available still? For UK-based companies, you should always ensure you can secure the .co.uk domain name, and if possible, the .com variant as well. There are dozens of other domain name sufficies on the market (from .tel to .co and .mobi), but unless you have a strong reason to invest in one of these, the .co.uk and .com should do very nicely.
Of course, one of the other benefits of having your own domain name is that you can write emails using your own brand, i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org, which provides a far more professional image than email@example.com.
2) Web Hosting
Your domain name then needs to be pointed towards your web space, which is hosted on a server somewhere in cyberspace. You can either secure a web hosting package from your domain name supplier, or a specialist firm (of which there are many). There are several types of web hosting available – shared hosting (where your site runs on a server with up to hundreds of others), dedicated hosting (your site(s) are the only ones on the server), or other variants such as virtual private servers (a more cost efficient alternative to dedicated hosting).
If you are just after a brochure site, or are running a small company operation, shared hosting should be sufficient. If, on the other hand, you are expecting a large number of visitors, or want to host more complex software online, then dedicated or VPS.
From our personal experience at Company Bug, we would recommend that you use a UK-based supplier, and look for a firm which has a good reputation for customer service and support. We have both VPS and shared hosting with Clook (including this one), and can recommend them highly to our visitors (there’s no commercial link between our sites).
3) Your Website
Once your web host has pointed your domain name to your web space, you will be able to upload your webpages. These days, we recommend you use a Content Management System (CMS) to manage your site. WordPress is the leading CMS platform in use on the web – it is a highly customisable piece of software, offering multiple themes, plugins, and support. It is also open source and free to use.
Chances are, unless you are running a design company, you will need some help creating the right look and feel for your company. Most designers work closely with the leading CMS’, including Drupal, Expression Engine, and Joomla.
- All limited companies must now account for VAT online
- Guide to online accountants / accounting software
- How to make your small company look big
- Limited company insurance – get an online quote
- Tips for setting up an eCommerce site
- ClearSky Accounting - specialist support for contractors
- Visit Hiscox for Professional Indemnity and Business Liability Insurance
- Contractor Finance - up to £30,000, when you need it
- InTouch Contractor Accountants - Personal Online Accounting
- Join PCG - Free impartial start-up advice for contractors.
- Visit Qdos Consulting for tax investigation cover and IR35 insurance.
- 90% Pay Retention for Contractors - Helix Management Ltd