The 3 mistakes to avoid when setting up your website

What’s the worst that can happen to your business website? Almost certainly not what you think.

You just want to make a simple change to your website or get access to your files in your hosting account but you can’t because technically you don’t own your domain name.

You may want to move your hosting, or switch from an old HTML site to a new WordPress site — and you can’t. You want to make a simple change to your website and you can’t because you don’t have a content management system built into your site, and your provider has disappeared.

Worst of all you lose control of your website due to a soured relationship with your web developer or IT consultant, and now that things aren’t so friendly, the provider is holding the your website hostage.

Don’t let this happen to you! Here are the three biggest mistakes you can make when setting up your website — and how you can avoid them.

Not owning your domain name

Your domain name is how people find you online and will probably end in .co.uk or .com. Never allow another person, IT consultant, company or service provider to purchase your domain name for you — because then they own it and control it and you don’t.

You may be on good terms with your website consultant or IT provider now, but what happens if someday you’re not?

You should purchase your own domain name and store it in your own account, so you retain total control over your website. A good consultant will tell you this, so if you need help sit with your consultant while he shows you how to do it.

Not owning your hosting

Hosting is where your website ‘lives’ on the internet. It’s like renting your house or flat. Just as with your domain name, never allow another person, consultant, company or service provider to purchase your hosting for you. Make sure you do it and it’s in your name.

You may have a great IT consultant, but don’t let him talk you into hosting your website on their servers — again, what happens when your relationship is no more?

Also, be sure to purchase your own hosting with your own credit card, in your own account at a well-known, reputable, reliable hosting company. Not only will you retain total control over your website and the files/database associated with it, but you will have the peace of mind that comes with choosing a reputable hosting company.

Look for a well-known host, with a great reputation, great customer service, and a focus on security. We recommend Hostgator.

Not Using a Content Management System

A content management system (CMS) is the software that allows a website owner to edit their own website, including content, images, video, and your blog.

WordPress is the perfect example of a content management system — and because it is open source, getting started with a basic WordPress website for your business is actually free.

From free open-source platforms, to private high-end systems, there are literally hundreds of CMS options available to choose from, so there is no reason to create a website without one — and don’t let any website designer or consultant tell you otherwise. If you need help setting up your WordPress site there are lots of videos on YouTube which will show you how or we can help you.

So, make sure that you always retain control of your businesses most valuable marketing asset — your website. Purchase your own domain name, your own hosting, and always maintain your own online content.

Noel Guilford, Principal at Guilford Accounting
Noel Guilford is the principal of Guilford Accounting a small business accountancy practice specialising in advising owner-managed businesses on current accounting, finance, and tax matters. You can reach him via email at noel@guilfordaccounting.co.uk or by phone at 01244 660866. He is the author of the 'Figure it out - an entrepreneurs guide to understanding your business numbers' which you can obtain by visiting guilfordaccounting.co.uk.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ His latest book, How to Build a Successful Business' will be published in 2018.

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