So, you’ve decided to go ahead with your brand new business idea? 

How exciting! 

There are three must-have things to make sure everything runs smoothly with your startup. 

Buy a domain.

Securing your domain name is one of the most important first steps of setting up a new business. 

Your domain name is the URL of your website – i.e. the online hub of your business – as well as your ticket to a professional, personalised email address. 

Buying a domain first prevents anyone else from getting their paws on it first and you having to settle for a URL that isn’t related to your brand name, or easy for potential customers to remember.

What to consider when buying a domain:

Buy both .com and .co.uk (or the equivalent in your country).

Making sure you own both the local and international domain name, further prevents anyone else stealing your domain or hijacking your brand. 

We also recommend purchasing other top-level domains (that’s the bit after the “.”), depending on your industry. There are so many that people aren’t aware of, such as .edu, .org, .net, .solutions, .events, .engineer. Here is a whole list of the ones you can have. 

They’re usually relatively inexpensive, but it all depends on how far your startup budget stretches. 

Choose a simple and easy-to-use registrar.

Because of the surge in popularity and necessity of domain names, it’s become a booming market and one that can be difficult for people to navigate. 

Many domain providers can overcomplicate the process, encouraging you to spend more money on unnecessary add-ons (more about this below).  

We like and use Name Cheap, because it’s affordable, simple and allows us to register domains on behalf of our clients and later transfer them to their own account. 

Having control over your own domain after someone has set it up for you is vital. We frequently hear stories of businesses not being able to access important settings due to a web design, hosting, or development company holding their domain name to ransom. 

Set up a professional email.

Nothing says untrustworthy more than a business using a @gmail.com, @hotmail.com, @outlook.com or even @yahoo.com email address. 

Sure, these are fine to use for personal accounts, but when you’re communicating with clients and customers, it’s essential to retain your brand’s image and also have a secure, robust email. 

You can still use a trusted provider like Microsoft Office 365 or G-Suite, but your email address will be yourname@yourdomain.com

As we mentioned before, when you first purchase your domain name, the registrar may try to upsell an email solution. However, we don’t recommend going down this route. While they sound cheap and easy to set up, using a nationally-recognised provider like Microsoft is better for security, reliability and uptime. Meanwhile, opting for a trusted provider from the very beginning helps you to avoid hefty migration costs later down the line.

Don’t neglect DNS. 

DNS (Domain Name System, but you don’t really need to know that) is often overlooked, but it’s potentially one of the most crucial things to get right. 

Without it, the email and website we mentioned above simply will not work. 

DNS – essentially – is how the whole internet works, or more specifically, the magic that allows people to visit your website and receive your emails. 

If your DNS goes down, things will break, if you type something wrong in your DNS records, things will break. 

And when we say things will break, we mean people won’t be able to access your website, you will stop being able to receive or send emails, and spam emails may start to leak into your inbox. 

Luckily, when you purchase your domain, you’ll get a free “basic” DNS and, as long as you enter your DNS records correctly, everything should work. But, in our experience, it’s the getting it correct bit that is the challenge. Getting an experienced IT person in to look after this step is highly recommended, as if you make one small mistake, things break. 

A lot of registrars also offer a premium DNS, which although comes at a cost, it means that your domain has more protection against it going down. It’s certainly worth considering. 

If you’d like a hand with any of the above, we offer monthly fixed-cost plans that include all of the above set up and more. Our team can guide you through the choosing and registering a domain, setting up a professional email and sorting out premium DNS. 

Interested? Call us today.