Part 2: Getting Started

What makes a site run?

Before you can even get a site up and running, you need to set up a few components. There are many affordable options that will provide good performance, so don’t feel like you need to break the bank before you even begin designing the site.

Domain Name

A domain name is the address visitors will use to reach your site. In general, it should be descriptive as well as easy to spell and remember. It will also appear on promotional materials like advertisements and business cards, so shorter is generally better.

Domains are registered to an owner through domain registrars which are organizations who manage domain names and sell them to the public.


Websites are kept up and running on servers provided by a hosting company. This service is generally structured in tiers with options for premium features like increased storage space and better site performance. Fees are generally billed as an annual fee with the option to renew at the end of the subscription.

Uptime is a key metric for hosting company performance and reflects the percentage of time a customer’s sites are functional. Some hosting companies even provide valuable customer support to troubleshoot site issues. Here is a helpful <comparison of several companies:

SSL Certificate

SSL certificates verify that a website uses secure sessions, an important component of website security. In addition to making the site secure, visitors also like the peace of mind of seeing the padlock icon in the address bar. Additionally, Internet browsers usually alert users if a site is not secure which may cause them to leave.

An SSL certificate can be provided by the hosting company, domain registrar, or for free through Let’s Encrypt.

Get your ducks in a row

Determine which providers you will use for your domain, hosting, and SSL certificate so you can get started on your site design. And read on to build your design blueprint.