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Web Hosts

The first step in developing a website is to find a web host, the company that will store your website's files on its servers and deliver them to your readers' and customers' browsers. Web hosting services offer varying amounts of monthly data transfers, storage, email, and other features. Even how you pay (month-to-month payments vs. annual payments) can be radically different, too; so taking the time to plot out exactly what your company needs for online success is essential. I place web hosts in importance above domain registrars because the best web hosts also offer domain registration (through a domain registrar of their choice and one that works well with them). We have had many years of experience with Bluehost, Siteground, 1 & 1, Intergen (formerly MyArtisanWeb), Hostgator, and Lunarpages (which I would not recommend).

Domain Registration

A domain name tells people (and the computers they use) how to find your homepage on the internet. Each domain name is assigned to a numerical IP (Internet Protocol) address. Since people remember names better than numbers, the domain name, eg. www.yourname.com, translates this number into words. Like a street address that tells people where you live, a domain helps customers drive directly to your website. Before registering a domain name, you must check out the key features of a registrar which are essential to make any company “a best domain registrar” among thousands of others. These key features are: instant 24/7 technical support, live chat facility, reliability, sustainability, credibility, security, pricing, and flexibility. GoDaddy is one of the oldest and most reliable. I would not recommend Network Solutions.

CMS Platforms

Whether you’re setting up a corporate website, a standard blog, or just want to announce your presence on the web, the age of hand-coding HTML pages and CSS is long behind us, and has been replaced by Content Management Systems. The most widely used CMS platforms are Joomla and WordPress. (See our Home page for more details.)

Website Templates

You can't have a website without a template (Joomla) or theme (WordPress). A skilled web designer can take a suitable template of your choice and customize it to fit your vision of what your want your website to look like. For Joomla websites, I would start with one of the default templates included with your new Joomla installation, and then browse through Joomlashack or Joomlashine for additional free templates or templates to purchase. For WordPress sites, I would recommend going with the themes that are natively available from inside your WordPress installation. Both free and premium templates are available.

Email Marketing Providers

Both Joomla and WordPress have provisions for add-on email newsletter components. There are pros and cons to using these built-in provisions rather than a stand-alone third-party email service that can be used independent of your website platform. Two of the most popular are Constant Contact and MailChimp.