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Openfire Studio

Digital Communications Design


Ok, so you need a new website. I’ve got you covered on the design and development front and it’s going to be so much fun! But there are a few things you need to sort out first…

Firstly, you need a domain – that’s your website address.

Then you need a host – that’s the company that stores the website on a server which makes it available to the world wide web.

Those two things are linked together by techy people who speak in code, then I do pretty designer things and, voila, you have a website!

You could buy your domain and your hosting from two different companies, but I recommend just getting both services from the same company. Not only will that one company handle all the technical details of connecting things the way they need to be connected (which is less hassle for you, trust me!), but it will keep your accounts a little simpler too.

So to get started on your project, you’ll need to choose a service provider, choose a domain name, and purchase a hosting package. Below are my recommendations for reliable companies that provide these services.

Be aware that domain and hosting services are always annually renewable. Most hosting packages are discounted for the first year and/or come with a free domain for the first year, so be sure to check what the “normal price” is too so you know what to budget for next year.

Well, there are a few reasons:
  • Domain and hosting are like the master keys to the online portion of your business. And for that reason alone, I think it’s paramount that you control the access to them.
  • Domain and hosting is a recurring annual service that requires annual payment. This commitment can be for anything from 1 to 5 years, depending on what package you take. If I provided this service to all my clients, I’d have a lot more accounting to do which means way less time for fun designery things.
  • I could make a pretty substantial profit reselling this service, but I think that’s kinda sneaky and I’m not that person.
  • Hosting packages include email accounts. You get super cool personalised email accounts connected to your domain that make you look all fancy and stuff. Those email accounts are stored on your server, and every single mail you send and receive is accessible through that portal. Now, obviously, I trust me and you trust me, but I don’t want that kind of power over your life’s work.
  • And lastly, I’m a designer. Hosting and servers involve some tech stuff that hurts my creative brain. I don’t want to hurt my brain. That’s no fun.


Please note that these suppliers are not connected to Openfire Studio in any way and prices are, therefore, subject to change without notice. These prices are displayed purely as an example of the packages that these providers offer.


The WordPress and Woocommerce systems have core features and functions, with almost limitless expansions and add-ons available to increase their functionality. Sometimes the software required for those add-ons is free, but for the more complex systems, you’ll need an additional software license. These are the companies I use for some of the most common expansions.
Looking to build an online course? This is the Learning Management System (LMS) I would use to do that.
Need your website to be multilingual? This is the software I’ll use.
Want to ramp up your SEO game? This is what we’ll use to do that.
If you’re building an online store you might need some additional functionality, depending on your product offering and business needs. Yith has a big bag of fancy tricks!


Shannon Hope

Got a project that needs some digital design love?
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