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Blog #5

A template is a page layout prepared by someone else. If you do not have experience designing and building websites a template may be the way to go. Many hosting companies offer free template designs if you buy their hosting services. Most of these have pre-set colour palettes and even stock photos to choose from. They are professional looking designs and will work quite well. You need to be aware that there are some companies that offer free templates but they turn out not to be free at all. They nickel and dime you, or demand a large fee in the second year. By then you have invested a lot of time and  effort raising the profile of your website and you don’t want to appear unstable to clients so you continue with it even though you are not happy. If this happens to you, remember – your domain name can be transferred to a different host. As long as you pay the annual registration fee for your domain name, you can do with it as you like. The look of your site can be easily changed with the help of a designer so don’t be afraid to opt out, if you find yourself in a situation you do not love.

There are also many templates that charge you anywhere from $67 to $8000+ dollars. They do provide modern and dynamic designs. The problem is that you may need to know a lot about building a website and the various programming languages used, in order to actually use them.

Another drawback of templates is that they often require you to display their ads   on your page. This can distract from the professional appearance you are trying to project. The biggest problem to my mind though, is that they are templates. Who knows how many other sites out there look exactly the same? You can’t customize it to be 100% your own. You want your own colours, your own photos and your own layout and your own logo. Landing on your website is similar to walking through the door of your store or office. The impression you make will reassure your prospective clients that he or she wants to do business with you. You want to build trust and familiarity. That is difficult if you look like every other slick business out there.

I think the best way to get what you want is to work with a website designer/developer . As a small business owner that just wants to have a personalized  website, presenting your own unique  business to the public and that promotes your product in a clear and straightforward manner, your best bet is to hire someone that can do the job for you at a reasonable price. Why should you waste your valuable time learning a whole new science when there are folks out there that can do the job for you in a more efficient, quick and cost effective way?



Choosing a Domain Name

A Domain name is basically the title and address of your website.  For that reason it is  very important.  The first consideration when deciding on a domain name should be to think of something that is representative of your company. Your company name may be perfect but it may be too long. You want the name to include  something  that indicates what your website is all about. If you provided accounting services for example, the word accounting could be in the domain name. If the name is  too long there is the chance of typing errors which can send your clients off into the vast labyrinth of the internet and you may never see them again! Keep this in mind:

“Short. Sweet. To the point. Easy-to-Remember.”

For example, my business name is Sandstone Studios Web Solutions but my domain name is simply

Once you have decided on a name you will have to register it with a designated registrar. This is important because someone has to keep track of all the names out there and make sure each one is unique and you want reassurance that the company is authorized to do this. There are stand-alone registrars, but often the bigger and more reliable hosting companies offer this service as well and that is handy because you then don’t have to transfer the name to that company when you are ready to GO LIVE.

You will need to  spend some time researching if your choice is available online.

Here are some domain names you might be familiar with:

Choosing a suffix for your name

The most common endings for domain names are .com, .net, and .org.

There are also country codes such as .ca (canada), .uk (United Kingdom), and .jp (Japan). There rules for registering these country code extensions specific to each country or territory but generally they are reserved for citizens of the corresponding country. If your choice of a name is not available as a .com you may decide on one of the other endings. Keep in mind that .net is usually for large corporations and .org is often a non-profit organization.

Next time I will talk about getting started developing your website.

See you then!


Sandstone Studios Web Solutions