Company websites and emails are very important in this era. A high quality website and domain based email gives a company a more professional look. In order to get more legitimate side work I manufactured a side company and created a web presence for it! As this side work company wouldn’t generate lots of income, I created the quickest and most budget friendly web presence. The following is my little guide to setting this all up!
What’s needed for web presence
- Webhost – Somewhere for your website to live! (Linode, Site5, Cloud Google, Amazon AWS, etc…).
- Domain Name – Your websites company name + .com preferably (registrar through godaddy, 1&1, namecheap, etc…).
- Website – rather self explanatory.
- Mail Server – Somewhere to host and manage your emails (Google Apps, Office 365)
This is all that is required to get a quick web presence built out. Another good idea would be an SSL certificate to appear a bit more trustworthy, however, it is not required.
I have covered this a few times already in other posts. Purchasing some kind of webhosting is a must in order to accomplish this. Again, since I have already covered this I will abridge this portion. Find yourself a webhost you are comfortable with. Then configure LAMP and Name Based virutal hosts. Also, there are several webhosts that offer preconfigured WordPress webservers (godaddy, site5, bluehost). Once you choose and complete either of these routes your webhost will be ready. As you can read in an earlier post, I chose to build it out myself.
The easiest segment of this process is choosing and purchasing a domain name. Listed above you will see a few registrars that you can purchase said domain name from. Once the domain name has been bought it is time to forward it to the webhost, which was setup previously. In the domain registrar’s backend there will be options to manage DNS. You will need to point this DNS to your webhosts’ NameServers. There will be documentation of what those NameServers are somewhere. However, If you decided the “cookie cutter” route your host can sometimes already be your registrar. Godaddy is a prime example of where you can purchase a domain name and a previously configured webserver, which alleviates the DNS forwarding step. The following is an example of a Godaddy registered domain being pointed to Linode!
Now that you have a domain name and host, you can move on to creating a website. Per usual, there are several options to accomplish this. The two major options are to create a website from the ground up or to purchase a theme/template. As you know, I was doing this as quick as possible leaving the latter as the best option. I purchased a theme through themeforrest and edited the components. Next, I adjusted the content and plastered my logo all over the theme. I also chose a static site because HTML/CSS are easy to edit and less vulnerable than WordPress sites. That’s all you need to get a simple site going and at this point your site should be live!
I forgot to mention a logo is good to have. If you do not have one and are on a budget check out fiverr! I know how to use the Adobe Creative Suite but still chose this route based on cost vs my time.
Having a live website is a huge step in the right direction of building trustworthy web presence. However, having an email address that corresponds with a website is even better. People feel more comfortable communicating with firstname.lastname@example.org over email@example.com. This is where you need a mail server! Again, there are multiple options of who will host your emails. I’m a big fan of G Suite, Googles mail and apps server service, since we used it at work already. Plus with this service you get 30GB of google drive storage per user!
G Suite was easy is easy to use and gives you an expansive back end management. The setup is quick and efficient. The most technical part is pointing your MX records to Google. Normally you can do this from your domain name registrar. However, if you are like me and pointed your NameServers elsewhere, like mentioned above, then you have to adjust the MX records from there. Here is an example of pointing MX records from Linode (webhost) to G Suite.
There were a few other simple steps that you are walked through to configure the G Suite account for the company. Once you have completed these and forwarded your MX records you can start receiving mail at firstname.lastname@example.org! Woohoo!
I found a few web based tools to also make my company web presence look even more legitimate. After configuring my webhost, setting up my domain name, building my website and configuring my mail server, I added web services like Nutcache and Mojo Helpdesk. Both are great tools. The former is a free to use invoicing, inventory and sales management program. While the latter is an online helpdesk and ticketing system with G Suite integration. Being able to submit a ticket and send electronic invoices online makes customers feel more comfortable with my side company!
Ok! Now we have a nice web presence and our companies look more professional. I see companies with a good web presence doing more business and lasting longer. The mix of a website, company email address, nutcache and mojo helpdesk has earned me more stable side work. Hopefully it does the same for you. But for now let’s celebrate that online web presence that will build your company’s brand!