The Internet and world wide web are inescapable parts of the modern world, and it is a maxim that it is necessary for any business to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the Internet. It need only be determined how a business will make best use of those opportunities.

Most businesses start by using email, judging that the costs of a website dont justify the returns. This is a good initial starting point for many businesses, but the implementation should be done in a correct manner. A common approach is to start by getting a account with a local ISP and using the assigned email address – this paper suggests that a better approach is for a business to initially purchase a domain name and get it hosted to receive their email.

Lets examine some terms used, before we examine the reasoning:

Domain Name

A Domain Name is a unique name that is applied to your internet presence. It can be used to set up services, including a website and email, just for you. Similar to a street address (“1 High Street, Townsville QLD 4000″), a domain name (“joespaints.com”) is a line of text that tells people exactly where you are, and how to find you.

Purchasing a Domain Name

Domain names are paid for periodically, and, like a shopfront lease, can lapse if not paid on time. Domain names are sold by Domain Name Registrars.

Hosting a Domain Name

Once you have purchased your domain name, you will need to have it hosted. This means finding an ISP to host it. This can thought of as similar to getting a box at the Post Office – unfortunately in the internet world getting your mail delivered involves a lot more than putting a letterbox out front, so you have to have a Post Office box equivalent.

Domain Name Registrar

To get your Domain name, you will have to deal with a Domain Name Registrar. Effectively, they will tell the computer of any internet user where your “PO Box” (Domain Name) is found.
Like other commercial suppliers, there are different deals available from different suppliers, and it will save you money to have someone available who can advise you on the best option for your particular needs.

ISP

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) provide several services, but here we are discussing hosting domains. This is the equivalent of being a Post Office and assigning you a box.
Like other commercial suppliers, there are different deals available from different suppliers, and it will save you money to have someone available who can advise you on the best option for your particular needs.

Now that you have a better understanding on the some of the terms involved in getting a domain name, lets return to our proposal, that there is benefit to your business in getting a domain name.

One way of getting on the internet is to get an account with a local ISP and put the assigned email address on your stationery. We propose that a better way is to purchase a domain name and have an ISP host it. This will have costs and benefits – we believe that the benefits outweigh the costs.

Benefits

Branding

The email address supplied by using a local ISP is probably something like yourcompany@someisp.net.au. How does it affect your image that your company is seen by your customers and suppliers to have a strong connection with a particular ISP?
When you use your own domain name, you project only your own image and no one else’s business reputation is reflecting on you.

Portability

A measurable benefit of a domain name is portability – If you get an email address with a local ISP and publicise it, you have either locked yourself into using that one ISP, or will have to bear the costs, in the event you need to change ISPs . This will include:

  • reprinting costs for your stationery,
  • possibily even the cost of lost business, when customers who have your old address are unable to reach you.
  • the cost in both money and time of contacting all your customers to let them know your new email address. They may overlook changing it anyway.

Upgradability

When you are ready to upgrade your presence to offer your customers a website, or other internet functionality, your customers will already know where to look for you – you will have future proofed your internet presence.

Costs

The following costs are involved in getting a domain name:

Domain Name Registration

Depending on your market, domain names start at around $20 pa. There are many suppliers, and some are more reputable than others. We are able to advise you on the best suppliers at any given time.

Domain Name Hosting

One of the concerns that put people off having a website is the costs involved. Hosting for email is not as expensive – plans are usually available from around $100 pa (Australian currency), depending on your needs.

Even if you are currently using an ISP-based email address, we still suggest that you plan your transition to a domain name next time your ISP fees are due.

Clearly, all this is a complicated business, but Elysian Systems can simplify it for you, making sure your costs are minimised and that you only deal with reputable suppliers. We have our finger on the pulse of the industry and we are able to recommend the suppliers who meet your needs. We are interested in building relationships with local businesses and can assist you at every stage to ensure you are confident with your internet presence. When you decide you are ready to take the next step and upgrade your internet presence with a website, we will be more than happy to help you with that, too.