Having an internet presence is almost mandatory for businesses nowadays. Most companies trying to expand should definitely look towards the web to help make it happen. Even small local operations could benefit greatly because the internet provides the cheapest way to reach the most people. The first step is going to be registering a domain, and it helps if the site you register with also has hosting options available too. Where you go from there though will depend entirely on your budget.
To be clear, the first step is also going to be the cheapest part of your expansion campaign. It's no secret that domain names are inexpensive too. In fact, a lot of people buy up names not expecting to use them but rather expecting to sell them to people that might use them in the future. You could save money by jumping on the name you want right away, if it's not already taken that is. Most of the time, the name is purchased for a whole year too, making the price almost negligible over that time period. Therefore you should register as soon as possible even if you're not sure what you're going to do with it.
Why do you need a domain name anyway? Contrary to what many people think, web sites aren't located at the addresses they type into their browsers. For example, ” http://www.amazon.com ” can't actually direct you to Amazon's web site. Web sites are located at their IP addresses, which are long numbers that humans would find hard to memorize. When you type ” http://www.amazon.com ” into your browser, that name is sent to a name translation service behind the scenes that converts that name into the appropriate IP address. Therefore, when you register a name for your web site, you're essentially registering for that translation service too. You'd be doing the prep work that would allow your site to be easily navigated to in the future.
A domain name isn't everything though. The translation service will help people get to your site, but what will they see when they get there? Your web site needs to have content to offer. Most growing businesses can hire a small web development firm to create a simple site for them that will instill trust into potential customers. The site could feature information about the company, its mission statement, product advertisements with pictures and video, maps, directions, and maybe even an online store. It's really up to you, but know that having something is a lot better than having nothing at all. The mere fact that you have a website to go to with some basic information there will give your business much more credibility.
Once you have content for your website, you need to get hosting. When you purchase a hosting service, you're essentially purchasing a place to put your website content online. The hosting will also serve the content to the people that visit your site. Fortunately, this service can be bundled with your domain name purchase. For most businesses, signing up for both at the same time offers the best balance of pricing and convenience.