As a business owner or part of a growing business, it’s important you understand what you’re paying for and why. Every dollar counts. We never want there to be questions about what you’re paying for or why, so wanted to explain everything in clear terms for you to understand.
There are three primary things that businesses need to pay for when establishing their online presence:
- Domain name
- Website Hosting
- Email Hosting
Let’s start by defining a few terms.
What is a domain name?
A domain name is the URL that your website is found at. For example, The Social Brand’s domain name is thesocialbrandtn.com. Everyone has to pay to register their domain name with a registrar company. There are many to choose from. For example, GoDaddy, Google, CheapName, and more. The one we recommend is Hover. They have excellent customer service in case there’s ever a problem and their system is easy to use.
What is hosting?
Hosting is a service that allows you to publish your content online. This service provides server space in the cloud that allows you to publish your website, access your emails in the cloud and even access your files that you may be storing in the cloud.
So, now let’s talk about the difference between website hosting and email hosting.
Website hosting is the service of putting your website online at your domain name. So for example, when you go to www.thesocialbrandtn.com, you will see The Social Brand’s website there at that URL. At The Social Brand, we offer care plans that include hosting. So our care plans keep your website online, as well as provide maintenance for your site so that you can keep things up to date.
Email hosting is the service of allowing your emails to live in the cloud where you can access them online from anywhere (your phone, your home computer, your work computer, etc.). We recommend the Google Workspace for your email and you can either set it up yourself and pay Google directly or work with a trusted IT provider and they will facilitate the hosting for you. If you need help finding a great IT provider, we know a few and would be happy to make a referral for you!
Beyond these three basic things to get started, there are some other costs that may be recommended based on what your business needs and goals are.
- Premium plug-ins
- Email marketing platform
Sometimes our clients will request additional functionality on their website. This may be something like MLS integration for a realtor or auto-importing events from Eventbrite. This additional functionality often requires what is called a premium plug-in. A plug-in is like a piece of software you put on your computer, only a plug-in is meant specifically for a website. When plug-ins are premium, that means they have either a lifetime, annual or monthly cost. Just like on your computer, there are free softwares available but they are usually not as polished as premium options. If your website requires the use of a premium plug-in, there may be additional cost on a monthly or annual basis. If you’re working with The Social Brand, we will be very upfront with you from the beginning about the existence of this additional cost and what it is. There should never be surprises in this arena.
Additionally, email marketing platforms are often closely tied into the strategy of your website. This is because if you’re collecting email addresses on your website, here at The Social Brand, we will often encourage you to set up an automated email drip campaign or a monthly newsletter. Examples of these strategies include, asking for an email address in exchange for a free guide then automatically emailing the guide to the user immediately after they sign up. This functionality requires the use of an email marketing platform. The one we recommend is Mailchimp.
There are many things to spend your money on in marketing and in business. These are just a few basics that most clients have questions about. It’s always important to know exactly what you’re spending your funds on and why it’s important to your overall strategy. As a client of The Social Brand, please never hesitate to ask if you don’t understand something, especially when related to what you’re being asked to buy!