Scott Jack

👨🏼‍💻 Building a Simple Online Presence

The Essentials

Building a simple online presence doesn't have to be expensive or overly complicated. The three essentials are a domain name, a web host, and an email host. I was able to set these up for approximately $65.

A domain name is a memorable way of finding your website. Try to pick one that you can easily say verbally. I used to use; I always had to spell it out and emphasize there are two j's and no k. Now I use, which is much easier to say and remember. I registered it at Porkbun for $3 for one year and it will renew next year for $14. It was significantly cheaper than other registrars.

A web host is a company you pay to keep your website accessible on the internet. There are relatively cheap ones like Bluehost that offer one-click installation of WordPress, which runs nearly half the internet. I really dislike WordPress. And I got tired of running my own virtual private server. So I pay Bearblog $48/year to host this very simple static website. If I were to open an online store, I would probably use Square Online.

An email host provides email service for a fee. Unlike Gmail, though, they don't show you ads and they don't read your emails. They also allow you to use your domain name in your email address. Particularly in business, an email address that uses your domain name is more legitimate than a free email address. Your domain registrar may provide inexpensive email hosting (for example, Porkbun charges $24/year and Hover $20/year). I opted for ZOHO Mail, which gives you 5GB for $12/year or 10GB for $15. Unless you work with many large attachments, 5GB should be sufficient. If there are emails you need to keep, archive them in a note application or as files on your hard drive.

Bonus: Social Media

The tides of social media are always shifting, so this part of your web presence is not as critical as The Essentials. You don't need to be on every platform. Choose one or two that you are comfortable with and are willing to sink time into. As a technical writer who doesn't depend on local business, I have chosen to focus on LinkedIn. In some towns, Facebook is still where everything happens and you might - as much as I hate to say it - benefit from having a Facebook account and page.

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