Hi, Jen here, with Volusion. In our last episode, we took a closer look at the makeup of your Volusion account. In this episode, we’ll talk about establishing your brand. This involves your domain name, your email accounts, and your store logo. Let’s take a look.
First, let’s talk about your domain name. To understand how it relates to your account, it’s useful to know a little bit about how one aspect of the internet is structured. Every website has what’s called an IP address. It’s just a string of digits and dots that computers need to find a website, kind of like a phone number. They’re really hard for people to remember, though, so some smart folks invented the domain name system, or DNS, to make it easier. It’s just a way of mapping each one of those number-based addresses to a word-based one, like www.volusion.com. That's how you get to our website, but the actual address is 126.96.36.199. If you don’t believe me, go ahead and type it in your address bar and see for yourself. Any website’s true location is an address like this.
Domain names work because a special type of server, called a domain name server, keeps a record of which IP address each domain name is currently mapped to. So anybody who looks us up by the domain name www.volusion.com is taken to the right location. That’s really all the domain name system is: a bunch of domain name servers in different parts of the world connected to each other, serving up IP address and domain name records when they’re requested. The result is that we can all get to the content we want.
We provide you an IP address, but you’ll need a domain name. And what you choose is important, because it’s part of your store identity. It should be as simple, as memorable, and as relevant to your business as possible. When you bought your hosting plan, we asked you for the domain name you intended to use. That was just so we could make sure your store is capable of working at that address whenever you’re ready to go live. If you haven’t registered the name separately, you’ll need to do that. On Volusion.com, go to Services > Domain Names. Here, you can search for a name you want and see if anybody else owns it, or register it if it’s available. In this series, we’ll be making a vintage clothing site, so I’ll see if we can snag VolusionVintage.com.
Looks like it’s available, so I’ll add it to my cart. Any company that offers domain registration services online is called a registrar, and Volusion is just one of many. If you already bought a domain name through a different one, that’s not a problem. We just need to know which name you chose, and you need to let your registrar know you want to host your site with us. So if you didn’t put down the actual domain name you’ll be using, go ahead and let us know the right name by sending us a ticket from MyVolusion. For information on how to do that, revisit episode two in this series.
And to let your registrar know we’ll be hosting you, you just need to plug in our name server settings in your registrant account. If you’ve never done this before, your registrar should be able to help you with a how-to guide or live support. And if you registered your name through Volusion, don’t worry because this step is already taken care of.
Something I didn't mention earlier is that DNS allows various connection points on the internet between users and domain name servers. Generally, information is stored locally for a period of time before it expires and the local machine has to check with the nearest domain name server for the latest info again. This saves everyone time in general, but it places limits on how quickly everybody can get updated information whenever there’s a change. So keep in mind that domain name setting changes can take several days to spread all over the globe. This process is called propagation. As long as you plug in our name server settings early, propagation should finish well before you’re ready to open for business.
Now that you've got a domain name, it's time to set up email accounts. If you're using a third-party mail host, you'll have to take care of this step with your provider. If you bought email accounts with your Volusion plan, we'll show you what to do in just a second. But if you still need email accounts and you want to use ours, log in to MyVolusion, go to Plans / Orders, find the Email Accounts line, and click Add to see your purchasing options.
Once you're ready to begin with Volusion email, go to My Stores > Manage Email and click Add. For our business, I’ll create one called firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is just a general account for correspondence with my company. I’ll type "admin" in the Username field, enter the password I want, and then I’ll just put "Volusion" and "Vintage" in the First and Last Name fields. When you do create your email address, use your real name. And a note on the password, while we’re at it:
Make sure you meet at least three of these parameters: uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numerals, and non-alphanumeric characters. And make sure you don’t use your account name, your real name, or your initials.
Now go ahead and click Active, and then Create. Mailboxes take a little time to get up and running: sometimes as long as 20 minutes. When yours is finished, click Go to Webmail and log in with the account name and password you chose. You can set up as many email accounts as your plan allows. And if you need more, you can buy them in MyVolusion.
To further establish your brand, you need a solid company logo. You can make one yourself if you have design skills, but if you don’t, no worries. There are lots of professional design services available on the internet. If you don’t already have a go-to option, we can certainly help.
Visit Volusion.com and go to Services > All Design Services > Logo Design. A logo is a vital part of your business identity. A good one can help you stand out from the competition and create brand awareness among consumers in your industry. Just think of some of the most successful companies on the internet like Google, Facebook, and Amazon. Their logos probably pop into your mind, don’t they? And that's precisely the idea.
Once you have your logo and you’re ready to add it to your store, you'll want to take care of one more thing: picking a template that suits the overall website look you're after. We'll show you how to do that in our next episode, and we’ll take that opportunity to show you how to add your logo to that template, so make sure you tune in. And remember: when it comes to branding, less is more. A great logo can be a powerful asset, but don’t go slapping it everywhere or it'll lose its effectiveness.