How to Build a Website: Part 4

Congrats! You’re just about ready to start building your website – now you need a website host. A hosting company stores the html and image files which make up your website on their servers.

Your domain name registrar (which I talked about {here} and {here}) might offer this service. I do not recommend you use your domain registrar as your hosting provider. You may think that it is saving you money in bundles, but as many of figured out with internet/phone/cable – they jack up the price after the first year – because they have you and they know it is a pain to move. Also, if you ever get into a dispute with your hosting company, they cannot hold your domain hostage.  I have heard of one situation where a soon to be client was using the same provider for both hosting and as a registrar.  This created a situation where their business website was down for 3 weeks while they were dealing with a billing issue. This could be worked around if you have two different companies that are your hosting provider and your registrar.

As a client, your first month of hosting with me is free, then just $250 per year after that. You’ll find a range of prices for website hosting companies from $150 to $350 per year, and this is a case of getting what you pay for.

Which hosting company do I recommend? As a professional, I have worked with several, but prefer Siteground. Between the excellent customer service and secure shared hosting, it’s an affordable option for business owners. WP Engine also has excellent customer service, and they are best for business that get more website hits, either because of e-commerce or they have world wide clientele. If you’ve already purchased a hosting service, let me know and I can still support you.

Secure Certificates (SSL). SSL stands for secure sockets layer, a cryptographic tool which guarantees safe communication over the internet. Also knows as a digital certificate this encrypts the connection between a browser (like Chrome or Microsoft Edge) or the user’s computer and a website or server on the other side.

If you’ve ever paid for something online using a debit or credit card, this is the system which protects that information from being available to anyone. Your sensitive information becomes encrypted (scrambled into gibberish) before it is sent over the internet. The SSL will authenticate the website’s identity and, by sending undecipherable, randomized information. Then it ensures that only the person (or website) with the proper decryption key can understand or use the information.

Why am I talking about SSL? The truth is you can forget everything I wrote in the last two paragraphs. The bottom line is, if you have a website – you need one. And you shouldn’t have to pay for it. GoDaddy has been selling SSL since the beginning of websites, but most website hosts give it to you for free. When you host with me after your website design, your SSL certificate is free.

Why do you need SSL? Because it is a ranking factor for Google. And without it, people might be scared to go on your website. Chrome and other internet browsers display a “not secure” warning whenever someone pulls up a website address without SSL.

Should you buy SSL from GoDaddy or another registrar? No! Most hosting providers, including Siteground will give you one for free and even install it for you. There is one caveat though, if you own an eCommerce site, then you should pay for an SSL. You want to make sure your SSL is paid for and always running with customer support. If something happens to your SSL certificate you will have a customer service number to call to get it back up ASAP. The likelihood of that happening is slim, but when your website is E-commerce, having a lost SSL certificate is lost revenue.

Lastly, as you begin building your website, do not forget to have a Privacy Policy and Terms of Service written for your website. If you want

Privacy Policies. This legal document or statement discloses to the reader or potential client some of the ways your website will gather, store, or use their information or data. Some people don’t realize personal information can refer to more than a name, address, contact information, or other details about someone’s life. It includes anything which can be used in identifying them.

Your privacy policy should outline what information you will gather and whether your business will hold it confidential or share it with other partners. While you can easily find templates online, it’s worthwhile to consult with a licensed attorney who practices business and contract law within your state. You and your business will be legally bound by and liable for the terms you set out – make sure they benefit and protect you, rather than expose you to greater risk.

Terms of Service. When it comes to websites, this is usually a disclaimer. It will outline the user rights when using the website (which are very limited). Usually there is a disclaimer in the terms of service. It clarifies the website can not be held liable for any advice or information presented on the website. Again as with the privacy policy, there are templates that are available, but I recommend you consult with a lawyer who is familiar with such laws.

With all these things in place, your website will be ready to launch! As you can see, there is more to a website than pretty design. If you need an experienced website builder, please contact me and I will be happy to talk to you.

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