This article is the first in a three-part series aimed at providing you with the instructions and resources to help you get started creating your own website.
By David Conroy, MAR IT Manager
If you want to create a great real estate website but you aren’t very technical and you don’t want to spend too much money, this series can help you to get started. First, you need to register a domain name and choose a web host.
STEP ONE: REGISTER A DOMAIN NAME
The two most important reasons you will benefi t from your own domain name are credibility and branding. A domain name that directly relates to or matches your company name can increase awareness to your personal brand and help to obtain new referrals if your current clients are able to remember your website address and pass it along to friends. Having your own professional website builds trust and tells customers you are forward-thinking and current with technology.
Selecting the Right Registrar
To purchase your own domain name, visit a domain registrar. See a full list of trusted registrars in the resources section of this article. The price of registration ranges from $7- $30 dollars per year, and the tools offered, such as e-mail forwarding, free starter pages, and advanced privacy options vary according to the registrar.
The most difficult part of this process is fi nding an appropriate and relevant name that hasn’t already been registered. Your fi rst, second, and perhaps even third choices may have already been taken. Each registrar has their own tools to help you search for a name, and easy payment methods to have you registered in only a few minutes. Registration gives you exclusive use of that domain name for the length of time purchased. It is recommended that you register for at least two years. Also important to understand is the fact that most registrars offer their own web hosting packages, but you should shop around to fi nd the right level of support, reliability, and extra services for you.
STEP TWO: CHOOSE A WEB HOST
The web host you choose can have a major impact on the experience users have when they visit your site. The most important things to look for are reliability and customer support. No matter your level of experience, it is imperative to fi nd a web host that has knowledgeable staff and quick response times.
Web hosting costs can vary, from the budget plans ($5/month) to the premium packages ($20/month). The main factors that differentiate price include:
Web Space (amount of disk storage)
Transfer Volume (amount of traffi c you can support)
Number of E-mail Addresses
Weigh Your Options
Be careful to weigh all of these options and think about what your website will need before committing to a plan. It is also important to note that many hosting packages come with a free domain registration. If you are having trouble selecting a host, consider researching on a forum site; one of the best is Webhostingtalk.com, whose primary purpose is discussing pros and cons of each host.
Look for parts two and three of the three-part series in the next two issues. Part two will cover how to decide on a CMS (Content Management System) and make it look professional, and where to fi nd content to post. Part three will discuss how to market your website/ blog and how social media can help you.