Not including your time, the costs of setting up a website break down into three categories:
In the early days there were a few major ISPs (BT, Virgin, Demon), but now there are a host of less well known, but definitely more competent providers. I use zen.co.uk who are excellent. Web-hosting is so cheap it would be foolish to save pennies, so be sure if you are looking at bargain basement ISPs to check that:
1. enough web-space is available;
2. POP3 email is provided (yes, the cheapest charge extra: 10 email addresses are normally included, more available);
3. email is scanned for viruses on their server;
4. their help-desk phone is open at reasonable hours, and charged at reasonable rates;
5. the control panel is easy and logical to understand;
6. basic visitor statistics are included (though web-counters are freely available elsewhere);
7. back-ups can be done to their server or your PC;
8. databases, scripts and other management tools are included.
Bigger companies will want to know about managed hosting on dedicated servers, offsite back up and 24 hour engineers to call on. Design costs will either involve employing a website designer, of which there are many, or making your own. Using a professional will cost from British Pounds 250 for a basic site with half-a-dozen pages to many thousands of pounds for something eyecatching, complex and involving e-commerce.
What you trade as is important, both so that customers find you and so that you get listed prominently on search engine results. You must register your domain name (also known as a URL: uniform resource locator) - the site address that comes after 'www'.
Domain names in the UK are held with Nominet but registration is made via an agent. It is convenient to make this registration with your ISP (web host), who will hold the unique domain name on their server, but it can sometimes be cheaper to register through another registrar and 'point' the domain to the ISP. This registrar should remind you when the renewal fees are due, otherwise you may lose your domain, website and emails all at once. Fees range from free (if you lodge the domain with the ISP) to British Pounds 25 a year, so we are not talking big money here.
The first task is to check that the name you want is available and some care needs to be taken. In my case I trade as Merry Marketing but that name is already taken by a T-shirt manufacturer in the Midlands. Recent research has shown that since the internet started the belief that registering a '.com' name would attract more visitors has been reversed - for UK visitors '.co.uk' is now more effective.
Cybersquatting is another matter. Registering a domain name of (usually) a well-known trade mark or trading style not used by the owner, used to be a serious problem. The hope was that the real owner would pay considerable sums to obtain the domain name. This is now not so common as legal challenges can be made to the registrar on the grounds of bad faith. Some companies register all variants, .co.uk, .com, .org, etc, to avoid just this problem.
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Note: This article was sent to us by: Peter Ailey at 07152010
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