Congratulations on your business. You are at the part of your business journey where you need to personalize your branding with your own domain name, email address, and website. Let’s get right into it.
*Please note if you sign up with my HostGator link, I will make a commission. I have been recommending HostGator to several of my clients prior and discovered that I can be an affiliate partner. This posting is not intended as an advertisement.
Pick a Website Hosting Company
To start, you’ll need to pick a domain name and website hosting company. There are many but generally, they all offer the same services with around the same pricing. To make things easier for you, I recommend www.hostgator.com, as I do for most of my clients for their pricing and offers. If you’re a small or medium-sized business, say a restaurant, a dental office, a hotel, a store, or a service provider, HostGator will do the job for you. You will have your own domain name, the ability to set up multiple custom email addresses, and hosting for your website. You can install a free WordPress website, design and code your own or hire a professional or budding website designer.
Unlimited storage, unmetered bandwidth, unbeatable hosting. This gator’s got ya covered. And they’ll throw in a free domain for a year, too! That’s the HostGator pitch but after working with several other hosting companies, HostGator’s introductory low pricing, free SSL, 24/7 friendly customer support, and not over-bearing interface is why I recommend this company. In case you’re not sure of what an SSL certificate is. It’s the standard that encrypts the connection of your site and is used for the passing of sensitive customer information. For most, the difference is the little lock icon in their browser that says your site is secure or not secure. If your site is not secure, sometimes visitors will see a warning ‘Connection is Not Private’ when visiting your site and be deterred with proceeding. An SSL certificate is considered necessary nowadays.
Unfortunately, HostGator does not offer .ca domain names. It’s possible to buy a .ca domain name elsewhere and point to HostGator’s server but it can get complicated. If you need a .ca domain name, I suggest a one-stop-shop for your domain name and hosting and recommend Web Hosting Canada (www.whc.ca). (I do not have an affiliation with whc.ca but worked with clients using their service)
If HostGator it is, then let’s get started! Again, this process is pretty much the same for all companies but much easier to walk you through a working example.
Visit HostGator to Get Started
Visit www.hostgator.com and click Get Started. Chances are you’re only going to need the Hatchling plan or select Baby plan if you want to host multiple websites with different domain names. If you need the Business plan, you’ll probably be working with a web developer and this article is likely not for you. I’ll just use the Baby plan as an example and let’s click the Buy Now.
Step 1 – Enter the Domain Name You Wish to Buy
Depending on the name of your business, you may have some trouble securing a matching domain name that isn’t already taken. This might call for some creative fun with your domain name. For example, if you’re a Japanese restaurant, you could go with www.sushi-with-love.com. Having some fun with your domain name can really help distinguish your business and be a great chance to show off some of your personality! You will need to have a domain name picked out to proceed through. If you’d like to do a quick brainstorm, don’t be shy and contact me as I’d be more than happy to speak with you.
Domain Privacy Protection
You might want to buy this for an extra charge of $14.95 per year (at the time of writing). This hides your ownership details and contact that anyone can easily search for. This protection prevents you from being spammed or tricked into paying for your domain and hosting with a fraudulent company. Sometimes they’ll use your contact and send you an invoice to renew your domain name or to a pay fee but it’s not a legal company and has nothing to do with your domain name.
Step 2 – Choose a Hosting Plan
Pick Hatchling plan (for one website) or Baby plan (for hosting multiple websites). You can always upgrade later if needed. I also suggest buying for 3 years as you’ll save the most money and you won’t have to worry about renewing.
Step 3 & 4 – Account and Billing Information
Fill in your goodies.
Step 5 – Add Additional Services
In this early stage, I don’t think you’ll need any additional services. You can always add on later. If you plan on populating your website with a lot of content, ‘Backup Your Hard Work’ might be for you. There’s a chance with Shared Hosting servers becoming corrupted and you might lose all your content. The hosting company will likely have a backup but it’s not a guarantee.
Step 6 & 7 – Coupon Code & Review Details
A coupon code should be automatically filled in for you to receive your low introductory offer.
Check Out Now!
Click the Check Out Now button and you’re all set! You’ll receive an email from HostGator. You will have successfully purchased your domain name and website hosting. Now we can go set up your own customized email address. Click here for instructions.
If you have any questions, you are most welcome to contact me or drop your thoughts in the comment box below. I hope to hear from you! Thank you for signing up with my HostGator affiliate link. My commission earned will support One Design Academy.