Buying a Website Simplified
I see many people asking the same questions about setting up a cake business or bakery website. They vaguely understand what is involved in getting a website operational, but because of their inexperience they postpone the purchase or worse, are taken advantage of as they shop around.
Here are the basics if you still need a website for your bakery or cake business. This guide is intended to explain the basics and offer some suggestions on providers I have used and recommend.
What you need:
Your website is a collection of web pages (text files and pictures) stored in a super computer with a high speed internet connection. It is the web hosting company who is responsible to host your website. You will purchase a hosting package from the company and can pay them monthly or annually. When shopping keep in mind their lowest prices are for those customers who pay for a year or more in advance.
Webhosting will cost anywhere from $4 dollars a month upto $20-30 dollars a month. Unless you are getting hundreds of thousands of visitors a month visiting your website, I would advise a package under $10/month. HostGator is used by many bakery websites. Hostgator is a reliable, honest company offering plans from $4.95 a month if you pay in advance or a $8.95, billed monthly. SuperGreen hosting also offers a $7.95/month plan billed monthly. I like this company because they are, as their name suggests, a green company enabling you to Neutralize your website’s carbon footprint. Finally, Yahoo! is used by many cake businesses. Yahoo! Web Hosting currently has a deal where you can save 25% on your first 3-months of hosting service. They also give you a free domain name. Of course, Yahoo! is a name you can trust and they provide 24/7 support.
2. Domain Name
This is your URL or website address. Your domain name is an annual expense, and needs to be renewed each year for as long as you want the URL. Most registrars offer automatic renewal so you don’t have to worry about losing it. You can register a domain name separately from your hosting package and it is not required that you use the hosting services of the company where your name is registered. For example, you can register a name at GoDaddy.com then host the website at HostGator. On the other hand, many companies will give you a great deal on the domain name (sometimes free) in order to get you as a hosting client. For example Yahoo! web hosting offers a free Domain when you purchase their services.
The main takeaway here is that if you own the domain, you can host it anywhere. If you want to hold it for several years without building a website, I recommend GoDaddy. Once you’re ready to build your site you can either purchase a hosting plan or tell the domain registrar (e.g. GoDaddy.com) where the website is hosted. GoDaddy is the industry leader in Domain Registration and they offer compelling deals on webhosting services.
Finally, you need a website. Your website is a series of files that live on your hosting provider’s computer (called a server). Many cake business owners prefer to use a template or site building tool provided by their hosting company. This is a great way to get a site up quickly and with little technical expertise. These are typically Drag-and-Drop tools enabling you to pick a pre-existing theme, then customize it with your own content. A good hosting company will provide tutorials or instructional videos on how to design and build your site. Again, I know many cake businesses who use Yahoo! Web Hosting and are very happy with the quality of their templates. Alternatively, if you wish to do something more custom, you can hire a designer or use many of the free tools available online.
If I can answer any questions about websites, hosting, domains, etc. please leave a question in the comments section below.