You may have heard that you can connect to a larger audience by expanding your business online by purchasing a domain name or, if you already own a website that is hosted on another domain, it may be time to register your own domain name to expand your branding. Registering a domain name is just the first step in the process of developing a website.
After registering your domain name, you will need to procure hosting. You may use the same company as your domain registrar. GoDaddy and Network Solutions offer both domain and hosting services, for example. If you choose to go with a separate host, you will have to create an account with the second (host) company and pay for hosting, which is separate from domain registration. When using a separate host, you will have to enter the Domain Name System address of your host into your domain control panel so direct your domain to load your hosting account when visitors access your website.
Propagation is the process that occurs after you purchase a new domain name or move your domain name between registrars. Whether you use the same company for hosting and registration or separate companies, you will have to wait for your domain to propagate before you or anyone else can access the website via your domain name. This process can take up to 72 hours as Internet service providers refresh their settings and some visitors will be able to access your website before others. During this time, you can access your domain to begin development from a temporary URL as provided by your host.
You can begin to develop your new website whenever you wish, even if you have not yet purchased the domain name or during propagation. You may use tools such as Dreamweaver or Front Page to design your website, install content management scripts such as WordPress or even code your website from hand using code editors and Web programming such as HTML, CSS and PHP. If you save your website files to your computer, you can preview them before making them accessible via the Internet. You may also consider hiring a professional to design and develop your website if you are not familiar with Web programming. If you are moving from a previous website, you will need to download your data (pages, images, database entries and more) and transfer it to your new host via file transfer protocol, online file manager or a database tool such as PHPMyAdmin.
Now that you own a domain name, you will want to publicize your website. Begin by adding your website to search engines such as Yahoo! and Google so that visitors can find you when searching for relevant keywords. You may want to add your new website address to relevant website profiles, email signatures and perhaps even your business cards. If you are moving websites, it is helpful to put up a permanent message on the old website to direct visitors to your new domain. You can also include a redirect code or script to automatically direct your visitors to the new website.
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