Marketing Your Business
Enabling your enterprise to be on the internet
is a reality of modern business. Done correctly, your
own business website will generate more customers, reinforce
customer loyalty, and create public goodwill.
There are three key components in order to place your
business on the internet:
1. Choosing and registering a domain name.
2. Creating a business website.
3. Having your website (and e-mail) hosted.
Your Domain Name
Choosing a domain name for your site is one
of the most important steps towards creating the perfect
internet presence. Many factors must be considered when
choosing a good domain name.
In general, it is far better to choose a domain name
that is short in length. The shorter your domain name,
the easier it will be for people to remember.
Also keep in mind that many internet users are poor
at spelling. Try to use easy-to-spell domain names.
Try to have a name that doesn't have confusing phonetic
variations. Generally, domains with digits and dashes
should not be used to avoid confusion. One can overcome
this potential confusion by registering possible variations
and having them "point" to your main website.
There are a number of "extensions (.com, .net,
.org, etc.)" available for domain names. It is
strongly recommended that a .com extension is used as
the primary domain name. If you have an identity that
you wish to protect against exploitation by others,
you may wish to register other extensions and have them
"point" to your .com website.
Registering Your Domain Name
- Domain names are registered via registrars,
and are maintained by a central registry. Once
registered, the domain name belongs to you for the paid-for
period, anywhere from 1 to 10 years. (It is very similar
to registering a vehicle license plate in Alberta -
done at any private registrar - the central
registry being the Government of Alberta.)
A domain name owner can transfer his name from one registrar
When registering a domain name, certain important information
is included: the owner's name, address, telephone &
e-mail address. Additionally, there are CONTACT persons
assigned - administrator, technical, and billing.
- The administrative contact is the most important contact,
who can authorize ALL changes pertinent to the domain
name, including ownership, e-mail addresses, hosting
company, and domain name renewal. It is absolutely critical
that the administrative contact be a trusted individual
of your business, and that the given e-mail address
remains valid at all times. DO NOT
allow the hosting company or website design company
to be assigned as the administrative contact. (You MAY
wish to assign a third party as the technical
contact, who can also receive registrar information
about the domain name from the registrar.)
Some hosting companies fool businesses into assigning
the hosting company as the administrative contact. As
a result, the domain name and website of the business
is effectively held hostage to the hosting company,
and it can even be questionable as to who actually owns
the domain name (that's not a friendly future).
Other hosting companies have ceased operations, which
eliminates the possibility of allowing changes to the
domain name contact information if the hosting company
was the administrative contact.
Choosing A Registrar - Not many years ago,
the domain name registration system was controlled by
a handful of registrars, who simply gouged people desiring
to obtain a domain name. Domain names can now be registered
through a number of registrars. Because of this competition,
domain names can now be obtained at reasonable prices.
In addition to price, there are three important criteria
that should be available from a registrar. They are:
1. being able to easily update contact information;
2. being able to instantly change DNS name-servers;
3. free domain "pointing" or "forwarding."
A registrar providing all of these services, as well
as wholesale domain name pricing is BoxcarDomains.com.
DO NOT FORGET TO RENEW YOUR DOMAIN NAME
- Some registrars charge hundreds of dollars for a business
to redeem a name that was not renewed on time. If the
domain name is not redeemed, it will be made available
for anyone to register it.
Creating Your Website
What should be on a business website? Each business
will have its own unique answer to that question. However,
every site must contain the basics, such as company
name, telephone number, etc. Businesses with a store-front
can add a map with the store's location - a benefit
to many customers. If you are selling items directly
via the internet, then an e-commerce solution is an
Incorporating your company logo, and possibly company
colours, into the website design is important.
Starting with 3 or 4 pages and having up to about 10
pages should encompass the needs of most businesses.
A "home" page, an "about us" page,
and information that will be useful to prospective clients
should be included.
Have a third party evaluate the ease of navigation of
your website. Ensure that all of your links are fully
functional. Have your design tested in different browsers.
Create your content with your business objective in
mind. If you have a store-front business, then you want
the customers to come into your store. Hence, your website
could be considered an electronic circular (flyer).
Consider whether or not you really need an e-mail address
on your site. It may be nice if you can assist a person
on the other side of the globe to learn how to properly
fit a gizmo inside a widget. But, is that part of your
business plan? Does your company have the resources
available, or is it desirable, to be a free, global
There are 3 options available in order to get your website
up and running:
1. - OurInternet.ca offers a do-it-yourself website
design product called SiteStudio. This is included in
many of our hosting packages. It is fairly easy to use,
and may be a good way for a business to get started
on the internet. Samples of websites that are using
Site Studio can be viewed by clicking here.
2. - Obtain a website "template" and modify
the text. The best selection of affordable, quality
templates can be obtained by clicking here.
If necessary, we can arrange for students to modify
the text for you at reasonable rates.
3. - Custom design is available through ForwardTech.
ForwardTech provides quality design work at reasonable
Website hosting is simply the placement of your
website files on a server, which is a computer customized
for such a purpose. The hosting company allows the public
files of your website to be displayed via the internet
and by means of your domain name.
There are two primary hosting platforms - Linux &
Windows. Generally, Linux is a more stable platform.
Check with your website designer to see which platform
is best for your particular design.
Hosting is based on disk-space and bandwidth. Disk-space
is simply the amount of space (in megabytes) taken up
by your files on the server. Bandwidth is the amount
of transmission of your files. So, if you had 5 pages
with 2 mb (an extremely high amount for 1 page) each,
then you would be using 10 mb of diskspace. If 20 people
per day viewed the 5 pages, then 200 mb of bandwidth
would be used each day, or about 6000 mb (6 gb) per
Your website designer can let you know the diskspace
requirements of your site.
Because of the tremendous reduction in computer hardware
costs over the years, server costs have also fallen,
and subsequently, hosting costs. This means website
hosting is affordable for any size of business.
OurInternet.ca offers the most competitive hosting plans
E-mail & Spam
The sending of unsolicited e-mail, or spam,
is the greatest annoyance of internet users.
Becoming spam free is easy, especially if you own a
Step 1 - View an e-mail address like
a hotel room number, not your permanent residence.
Step 2 - Create a new e-mail address
with your ISP (internet service provider); eg. firstname.lastname@example.org.
DO NOT give this e-mail out to ANYONE, not even trusted
friends or family. (If your e-mail is in their address
book, it is vulnerable to worms). Many FREE internet
services request that you register by e-mail, and then
they sell your e-mail address. DO NOT place this e-mail
address on your website.
Step 3 - Create a new e-mail address,
or multiple e-mail addresses for different groups of
contacts, using your domain name.
(eg. email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org,
You can now use either POP mail, or forward these e-mail
addresses to your ISP e-mail address, or use webmail
to send and receive e-mail. If using POP mail or forwarding,
remember to add the new e-mail address to your e-mail
program (Outlook Express, etc.)
Step 4 - If you are placing contact
e-mail addresses on your website, create a graphic with
the e-mail address. By not using text, spam robots will
be unable to find your e-mail on your site.
If an e-mail address becomes compromised and you start
receiving spam, simply create a new one, advise your
contacts of the new one, and delete the compromised
IMPORTANT - Do not forget to always
keep current the Administrative Contact e-mail for your