1. Choose a domain name

A domain name is a unique address for your website. Choose a name that is short and says who you are in as few words as possible. Your website should have the same name as the domain name if possible (i.e. www.mybusinessname.com). People will remember the domain more easily if your website has the same name.

Choose an appropriate domain suffix. There are so many domain suffixes available that it can be difficult to choose the right one. Does your website need .com, .com.au, .org, .net, .info, .edu or something else?

To choose the right one, first ask yourself who the website is aimed at. If you are selling to an international audience, .com would almost always be the best choice. .com is one of the easiest to remember. If all or most of your visitors will come from Australia, .com.au would be more appropriate.

Once you have decided on a domain name and suffix, check if they are available. Most online domain registrars have a domain availability search. If the name is already being used by someone else, you will have to choose a new name.

Bear in mind that the same domain name can have more than one suffix and thus be owned by two different people. For example koalabears.com.au may be available, but koalabears.com might already be owned by someone else. A potential visitor might accidentally go to the wrong site simply by omitting the .au at the end. You may decide to secure both the .com.au and .com domains if they are available, to make certain all your potential visitors will reach your site.

Once you have found a name that is available, register the name with a reputable domain name registrar.

2. Set up Hosting

Your website needs to be stored in a place which is accessible by anyone with an internet connection. A hosting server both stores your website and sends it to visitor’s computers when they view your website.

Many domain companies offer website hosting as well as domain name registration. It’s convenient if you can organize both in the one place.
You will need to decide on an amount of server storage space that suits your website. Some hosting companies offer packages that include an unlimited amount of storage space.

3. Planning

This is where you decide how many pages you will have, what photos or graphics will be used, and how the website will look.

Consider asking your website designer to include some of the following features:

  • Self-management.
  • Responsive design for viewing the website on small screens.
  • Search Engine Optimisation for getting a higher listing in Google.

4. Gather Content

In my experience, this step can take the most time. You will need to gather graphics, such as logos and photos, text, and other forms of media, such as videos and music.

It is a good idea to launch a website only after the content has been added. You don’t want to irritate your visitors by serving them a website that says, “Coming soon.” Only when all this initial content has been gathered, should the website be launched.

5. Design

This is the fun part, where the website really starts coming together. Your web designer will use the content that you have provided and come up with a design for your website.

6. Development

Once you and the designer have finalized the design and layout of the website, he will code the website and include the features you have specified during the planning process.

7. Launch

The website has been completed and all the content has been included. Now the website can be launched. Congratulations!

Remember, to keep visitors coming back again and again, you should keep the website updated with new content. Also, Google will rank your site higher if it sees fresh content.

Image credit: City photograph in cover image by Freedom II Andres/Flickr Creative Commons, ‘HDR Hiroshima City’, Some Rights Reserved.