Starting a Web Site
What is needed for a small business Web site?
- Domain name
- First you need to choose a domain name. The domain name is the
address where your site will be located. Users can enter this
address in their web browser to view your web site. For example
this site's domain name is gruffgoat.com.
You may register the domain yourself or ask your web host provider
to register it for you. We recommend registering your on domain
name using our favorite registrar, GoDaddy.com.
If you prefer Gruff Goat will register your domain name for you
when you purchase a web hosting agreement.
- a web host
- There are four main ways of hosting a web site: shared hosting,
dedicated hosting, co-location, doing it yourself. Typically,
the most logical and cheapest way for small businesses is shared
The web host will provide storage space for your files, bandwidth
for delivery of your content to the public and the servers needed
to deliver your content. Most hosts have multiple, always on Internet
connections with on-demand generators for power-loss incidents.
The host will also perform regular backups of all files on their
- Email has become an essential in today's business world. Most
web hosts provide email accounts as part of their service. The
number of email accounts you need varies and web hosts usually
offer more accounts in their higher level plans
Your email host should provide you with the methods needed to
add, delete, and edit your email accounts and passwords. Some
other information your email host provides includes the POP server
the SMTP server.
- Many different software programs claim the ability to create
edit and manage web pages and sites.HTML pages may be created
and edited in any text editor, including Notepad, however; many
designers prefer the WYSIWYG and advanced site management capabilities
of dedicated software. Gruff Goat uses Macromedia
Dreamweaver for our design and creation of sites. If you don't
have any previous web design experience or if you are not interested
in spending time learning how to use these programs, this option
may not be best for you.
Another option is to use a professional web design firm. This
option is more expensive but it may give your business maximum
flexibility along with a professional look and feel. You specify
exactly what you want and the resulting site is original and unique
to your business. Before choosing a firm, make sure that you like
their previous work and that you get all the rights to the completed
- There are three parts to running secure commerce on your web
site. These are SSL, a shopping cart application, and credit card
processing. SSL is the Secure Sockets Layer protocol which provides
encryption of data, such as credit card numbers. A web host may
offer SSL via a certificate in the hosts name or you may purchase
your own certificate. The certificates are purchased from companies
like Verisign or Thawte and they apply only to the specified domain
name. Thus in order to use Gruff Goat's certificate the site must
use the gruffgoat.com domain in the address.
The shopping cart application provides a way for visitors to select,
accumulate, and modify purchase choices, calculate prices, review
choices, and order them.
In order to perform online processing and verification of credit
cards, you must have a Internet merchant account. This is not
included in any of Gruff Goat's services. If you already process
credit cards, you may use your current capabilities in conjunction
with SSL, shopping carts and secure email. PayPal
offers another alternative to standard Internet merchant accounts.
- Upload Your Site
- The main method of uploading files to your site's account is
by using FTP. Upon signing up with a host, you receive an FTP
account that lets you access files in your account, using the
suppplied username and password. Then you use any FTP client software
such as CuteFTP, WS_FTP
LE, or Windows Commander, to transfer files from your hard
drive to your account. Dedicated web design software such as Dreamweaver
include FTP capabilities