Whether you have an existing business and are looking to expand business online or you are setting up a whole new organisation using the Internet as your primary means of securing and converting customers you will need to establish yourself with an online presence. This can be as simple as a two or three page website or a considerably more complex offering with forums, blogs, applications, and shopping cart software but there are certain elements that you need in order to enjoy the benefits of a website.
You will need a domain name. This is the web address that visitors type in or view when they visit your site and it should be relevant to your business or to the products and services that you provide. If you already have an established brand, then you should carry this brand over with you on to your website.
You will need hosting too. Hosting provides you with access to a web server, where your website, email, and even your online stored documents will reside for as long as you need them to and as long as you pay the hosting fees. There are a number of types of Web hosting on offer including shared hosting, cloud hosting, and dedicated hosting. You will need to invest in the one that is most appropriate for your needs.
If you intend to communicate with customers via your website then you should set up at least one email address. Most websites and online businesses have multiple email addresses including general and people specific addresses. You can usually include email packages in your hosting plan and this negates the need to manage multiple accounts; it can also work out cheaper than buying the two separately.
Your online business will also need the website itself and, unless you are an experienced web developer, you should consider having your site designed by a professional or team of professionals. This will help ensure not only that it looks great but that it meets all of the necessary criteria that you require for your website.