Getting Started

Getting Started


Follow these 3 steps to help get you on your way to a brand new website.

#1 Find a Domain Name

Before you can get any web pages on the internet you’ll need a Domain Name and a Hosting Provider.

A Domain name is the name of your site including the www. and the .com/ etc., e.g Your Domain Name should be easy to remember and easy to type. The best domains have the following characteristics:

  • Short – People don’t like to type! A short domain name is easier to type, read, and remember.
  • Meaningful – A short domain is nothing without meaning. Select a domain that relates to your site in a way that people will understand.
  • Clear – Clarity is important when selecting a domain name. Avoid a name that is difficult to spell or pronounce.
  • Exposure – Names that are short and easy to remember are an asset. In addition to visitors, also consider search engines. Search engines index your site and rank it for relevance against terms people search for. In order to maximise your sites exposure, consider including a relevant search term in your domain. Of course, only consider this if it still maintains a short, clear and meaningful domain name.

Once you have decided on an appropriate name the next stage is to check whether the name is available. This can be done in a number of ways but many people are tempted with free domain name registration when signing up with an Internet Service Provider (ISP) or Web Hosting company. These companies quite often include a ‘free’ Domain Name in their registration process. Beware however, that renewal costs for the domain name are typically higher after the initial sign up versus buying the domain name form a third party.

You can use the Domain Checker tool below to see if your chosen domain name is available.

Domain name checker tool

Enter the domain name you want to check without the leading www e.g. or

Once you have found an appropriate domain name that is available, you can either purchase it from a domain name registrar such as, or or if the host provider you have chosen offers a free domain name as part of the hosting package, get the domain name that way. Buying the domain name separately from your hosting provider can work out at a lower cost as the renewal costs for hosting+domain name packages are typically higher after the initial sign up.

It is also easier to move your website to another host if your future needs change and you have to upgrade your hosting package.

#2 Find a Hosting Provider

There are numerous hosting providers out there, some very good and some not so good so if you have no clue as where to start with choosing a hosting provider, it is recommended that you do your research or better still, talk to a professional first! In the majority of cases, how you want your website to function will determine what is the best hosting package for your needs.

Here at The Smart Hand Web Design, we’ve worked with a number of different hosting providers. If a client does not have a hosting provider, then we recommend Namecheap **- after all it is who our own websites are hosted with! We are very familiar with their setup, they have a knowledgeable team and have always provided good customer service and support.

Another benefit of using Namecheap **, is that you can pay for your hosting monthly on a ‘rolling contract’ basis so you don’t end up with a large bill to pay for every year.

Other web designers/developers will have their own hosting preferences so it is all based on the hosting provider your web designer/developer is most comfortable using.

If you are going to have a go at building your own website, make sure the hosting provider you go for, has the latest cPanel (an absolute must to manage the website files, PHP versions, Databases and other back-end website functions).

Check out our ‘Hosting Options’ page which goes into more details about the three main types of hosting services.

** By clicking these links and purchasing any of the services offered, we will receive a small affiliate commission.

TIP OF THE DAY – Set up your own Domain Name and Hosting Provider accounts.

In our experience, there have been a number of instances where clients have allowed others to register their domain name and hosting for them. Then after the website was designed and launched, they tried to contact the designer after a year or so, to make changes to the site or transfer the domain to someone else, another designer or themselves and unfortunately they were nowhere to be found. Uncontrollable circumstances can/may arise that unintentionally causes a designers unresponsiveness like a terminal illness, career change etc. In these cases, you’ll find yourself having to register a new domain name (after you spent so much time finding the perfect one!) and almost certainly having to recreate your website from scratch.


#3 Provide good content

The hardest thing for busy people to do is take the time to try and work out what web pages are required and then developing the content for each page.

Follow these tips to start developing your website content

  • Decide on the pages you need for your website. These pages typically make up the navigation of your website – HOME | ABOUT | SERVICES | CONTACT, etc. Your content will depend on the service or products you are offering.
  • Take a look at your competitors website(s) and even other websites you like the look of to see how their information is organised to get content ideas. However, DO NOT copy. Mimicking other website content is good providing that you add your own touch to it – remember, you want to show why and how you are different from your competition.
  • Take your time preparing the text and images for each page/section. Whilst the website is in ‘build’ phase you can concentrate on one page at a time by setting time aside to complete each page. You may for example do the About page this week, the services page next week and so on and so forth. However you do it, make developing great content a priority.
  • Consider professional, custom photography. Professional, custom photography visually enhances your website. It allows your graphic/web designer to work with a professional photographer to dictate composition, look and angles that fits in with your branding. It’s especially important if you need product or model images. Professional photography usually costs more, but the investment is worth it.
  • Stock image photographs can work well too but be careful in picking photos that don’t look too ‘canned’ or don’t relate to your product or services or even where you are located. Using mountains in a photo where there are none where you are located is deceiving. Grabbing images and/or text from Google can cause copyright infringement or trademark issues if your website is found to be using images that are protected by trademark or copyright laws. This can lead to lawsuits which carry heavy fines that could tarnish your brand or financially destroy your business. 

Preparing good content for your website is usually the most difficult and time consuming process especially if you haven’t already thought deeply about your brand message. It takes a commitment from you to do it right. Graphic/Web Designers, Brand Strategists and Marketing consultants can offer you all the guidance in the world, but only you truly know your vision for your business or organisation.