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When something is worth doing online, give it a home. Here is why and how.

When something is worth doing online, give it a home. Here is why and how.

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Dennis Cooper blogged about fiction and art for about ten years. Then last month, Google deleted his blog. He is yet to be told why. Losing ten years’ worth of effort writing down his thoughts, feelings and ideas as well as all his follower’s comments and interaction is devastating. Obviously, most people would say, that the solution to this is to always make a backup of your work. However, it goes beyond that.

You see, even if Dennis backed up his work, if Google does not allow his work and his blog to be reactivated, he has to rebuild again, on a different domain name, on a different platform or on a different URL. Losing the URL, that precious link that you and your followers have been sharing on the Internet, leading people to your website — that network of websites on which your links are displayed, simply becomes useless; for they now lead to a dead-end. Your users click a link expecting to see your blog, website or online shop, and they go nowhere. That is, for me, the biggest loss.

If you are reliant on a free service, you are at the mercy of a person or some company’s business, operational or technical limitations. Companies who provide ‘free’ services have objectives that is different to yours and at some point, they may conflict or divert. The answer therefore, is to move your projects, arrange your assets, in a way that provides you more access and more control to your information, to your work and to your business.

You might have started off something as a hobby online. You might have started a blog or even a website selling a product or a service. You did it on some platform that uses another business’ domain name.

Many of these services are free. These types of services I am talking about are the type of services where your blog is stored on someone else’s website. A blog might have URL of www.blogger.com/marysblog or a shop might have a URL of www.name-of-other-business.com/jennysshop.

At the start, it might be just the perfect fit for you. But at some point, you have to decide when something is serious enough to warrant doing what you do by giving it its own home. You would know when something online is serious enough. This could be based on how much of your time and the resources you are committing to it.

Once you have decided that an activity you are doing online is serious enough, then I suggest you give it its own home as soon as possible. How exactly do you do this?

When you give someone a home, you need a house or an apartment or some form of accommodation. In web development, this process is called getting your website hosted. Who hosts websites? Hosting companies. Hosting companies are like real-estate vendors and renters. They rent you spaces in their computers for a fee, so that you can have a place in which your website files, scripts and databases can live. Hosting companies are responsible for keeping your files accessible to the world 24 hours a day.

Like in the real world, your website will have an address. But online, this address is not something that is just given to you. You actually need to register your address. The good thing is you can make up your address, so long as it has not been registered by someone else.

These addresses I refer to are called Domain Names. You register a domain name and it could be your name, the name of your business, your product or anything else you fancy. When you have this address and you have the right to continue using it as long as you maintain its registration.

Now you can tell the world that your address is www.yourbusiness.com instead of www.someone-elses-business.com\my-business. You and your team can have email addresses like yournames@yourbusiness.com instead of yournames@someone-elses-business-name.com. You can stop promoting someone else’s business or activity and focus and promoting yours.

Yes, these activities costs money. But in exchange, you get ownership. Whatever you are doing online, be it blogging or running a business, it actually becomes yours. You have more access and control on how your website, blog or online shop runs and operates. So long as it does not break the law, it is you who decide what content to publish. Off course, you still need to back up regularly, but when you do, you can restore it back to the domain name or URL where people expect to find you.

Acknowledgements:

Thank you to Aja Romano for his article titled, “A writer kept a blog for 10 years. Google deleted it. Why?“, Vox.Com (Dated 30 July 2016)

How much will it cost me to build a good ‘whatever’ site?

By | Articles, Web Design & Development | One Comment

There are variations to this question. For example: How much does it cost to build a Social Networking site, a Dating Site, a car sales site, a mobile phone exchange site? People used to ask about websites to sell their products and their services locally but now, they want to know how to build a Social Networking site, be the next eBay, Facebook, Twitter, Google, Real Estate site, etc.

These type of questions should be distinguished from questions asked by people who have a business, a service or a product and they need a website to sell them. This question in particular is when the Website itself IS the sole revenue-generating asset of the business.

If you were wondering yourself, and you’ve gone through the trouble of asking for estimates, you’re probably puzzled as to why one developer says, “I can do it for you for under $5000” while another says, “we can do it for no less than $15000”. We, at Oranges and Lime, do both!

You scratch your head and wonder why such a big difference. If you’re like most clients who contact us, then perhaps no one has bothered, or has been able to explain to you what I am about to.

The difference is basically how much the developer is going to code on their own, or with their team, solely for your own project.

If a developer offers to develop your website for under $5000, this would usually indicate to me that they are going to use an Open Source Content Management System like Joomla or Wordpress and then use extensions, plug-ins or template solutions developed by other developers from whom they license the software.

If a developer offers to develop your website for nothing less than say $10000 to $40000 then that would tell me they are intending to use a framework or a Content Management System  like Drupal, where they would develop a functionally and aesthetically-customised website for you.

If a developer offers to develop your website for nothing less than $50000, then this tells me that that developer is likely to develop the website with a team of various skills and code your website from scratch.

It doesn’t mean to say that the more expensive solution is technically better because  a website that may have costed $50000 may not be functionally better than that made under $10000. Some estimates suggest that to develop Joomla, would have taken upwards of millions of dollars if they were to compensate the contributions made by the community for their hours. As to which is best for a client is a complex decision and requires consideration of many items.

The more generic your code is, the more your website is the same with your competitors. What is your advantage? Why should investors and partners do business with you and not your competitors?

Uniqueness and your ability as a business owner to customise your website to suit your users’ needs are going to be a big part of your success.  It is this uniqueness that investors would pay for, why your partners would go with you and why your customers may want to use your website.

To be unique, you need to develop something that others do not have. You need people to code them from scratch. If you pay them, you do it on the condition that you will own the code, or at least that it is clear which code is yours and which is open source or licensed from another entity.

This is the reason for most of the price difference that you are getting when you are asking for a quote. The cheaper the quote is, the more generic and templated that code is, the less of it you actually own.

Here is a quick chart that I sketched on my phone while quickly drafting this article:

Cost of Websites, Uniqueness and IPAt Oranges and Lime, we have made many websites and we offer all types of solutions. Obviously, most clients go for the $5000, a few go for the $10000 plus but we have not secured a $50,000 plus project yet. We came close, but it didn’t happen. Oh well.

If you have more questions about your particular situation however, please fill out an Estimate Form .

 

How do I make my own website step by step?

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Just broadly, if you are to create a website, these are the steps:

Step 1

Answer these questions

1. Know what type of website is it? How does it make money?
2. What features does it need?
3. What will the user experience and information flow be like?
4. Who is your target market / audience?
5. How are you different to your competitors? What are you offering your audience?

Step 2

Design your website based on your branding and identity like your logo, corporate colours, fonts, etc

Step 3

Develop your website

(A) Code your design using HTML, CSS, Javascript, PHP/ASP/Ruby/ Python/.Net/Java
(B) Fill your website with content
(C) Optimise it for SEO
(D) Test it for functionality
(E) Upload it to the Server, if you developed it locally.
(F) Test it for browsers and devices. Make any adjustments
(G) Soft launch. Get a small circle of people to play around with your website and repeat steps B, C, D and F until you are happy.
(H) Launch it. Open it to the public.
(I) Be ready to do B, C, D and F over and over again because based on your customer’s experience you need to keep making adjustments.

It can be quite involved. If it is for business, you can get bogged down learning to do all this. It can take a while to get your website looking professional enough to meet your customers expectations based on their experience with your competitor’s website.

(We were originally asked this question in Quora.)

How to encrypt the data on your Phone

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In my previous blog post titled, “Why protect your personal and business data on your phone“, I wrote about how your phone in its default state, is a gateway with which your personal and business information can be accessed. It is through the vulnerabilities of a signalling system called SS7 that is being exploited to listen into conversations, steal your information and track your location. For a time, this seemingly high-tech affair used to be the domain of spies and governments, but now the technology is accessible to common criminals. It is easy to see the incentive to gain this capability for any thief who wants to steal money, any predator looking for his next victim or organised criminals looking to harvest information to sell to the black market.

The solution really, is encryption. If our devices encrypted the data that is coming in and going out of them, whatever bits of data that get intercepted will not be readable by anyone else apart from their intended recipient. The issue with this however, is that the Government does not really want to go that path because it closes their access to their citizens’ information too.

We know from the Edward Snowden documents that the US and the UK Governments had been spying on their citizens. This security problem therefore is a dilemma for Governments. Because of this, I nor you, should hold your breath for the Government to seriously do anything about this issue anytime soon. Last time I read about the issue, the US Government tried to discourage big companies like Google and Apple not to proceed with developing encryption technologies for their products, or at least do so in a way that still gives them a privileged access.

Fortunately for us, Google and Apple seem to recognise the company who can give the security and privacy their consumers demand, will have a competitive advantage over others who do not offer encryption. I am therefore happy to see that indeed, they have data encryption on their phones.

I am not sure if I understand this correctly but from my readings so far however, Apple seems to have a limited encryption compared to what Google offers in its Android Operating System. If somebody takes issue with this, they can make their point, link me to the right research paper and I can post their reasoning here. However, at this moment, I am pleased to know that Google already has full data encryption in its latest release of Android (the Lollipop / Android 5.0 ones and over).

I researched on how to minimise this risk for me. In this post, I will tell how you how I went about encrypting the data on my phone to help you secure data on your mobile phone also.

I should say that I have the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 which runs on Google’s Android 5.0 Operating System. So as long as you have an Android phone, the instructions here will be similar to your phone. I will update this article to discuss security on Apple’s iPhones too.

 

THE NEGATIVES OF ENCRYPTING DATA ON YOUR PHONE

We need to understand and acknowledge the negatives of encrypting data on your phone. Encryption requires some of your phone’s resources and that is usually dependent on your phone’s hardware. Google initially, wanted to encrypt all data on their phones by default but with testing, they found encrypting all data on Nexus phones reduced the phones’ performance somewhat. Knowing my phone hardware specs, this was not going to be an issue.

The encryption works by encrypting the data on your phone with your passcode. I read somewhere that for you to achieve sufficient security, you do need a 16-character passcode. Anything less, was considered relatively easy crack. So I had to make up a 16-character passcode.

The next issue was the thought of me having to type in that code every time I just want to check my email, check my bank balance or send messages. Fortunately, Android has a fingerprint mechanism. So instead of having to type in the 16-character passcode all the time, I can just wipe my fingerprint to open my phone.

The final issue is that once you have encrypted your phone, you cannot undo it. The only way back is to restore your phone back to its Factory Setting!

 

STEPS TO ENCRYPT DATA ON YOUR PHONE

The first thing I did is to back up my data on the phone using Samsung Kies, a free Samsung app. Once that is done, I would recommend you re-starting your phone just in case there’s any memory allocation or other technical problems.

Ensure you have at least 80% left on your battery charge and plug in your phone to the power outlet. I would charge it all the way to 100% to make sure. The reason for this is because if the encryption process is interrupted, you lose some or all of your data! It may take up to an hour or more. Therefore, make sure you have battery power in case your electricity supply drops out and you are completely reliant on the battery.

Pull down the top menu. Click on the Settings (Gears) Icon.

How to Encrypt Data on your phone

Look for the Security Options:

How to encrypt data on your phone image 2

Click on Encrypt Device.

How to encrypt data on your phone image 3

Read the warnings to ensure you understand the consequences to encrypt your phone data.

Press the button that says something to the effect of “Encrypt Your Data” and leave your phone alone to do its work.

When it’s done, you are now ready to use your phone. On the Galaxy Note 4, which used up 75% of a 30GB disk space, it took about 10 minutes to encrypt. It was a lot shorter than what I was prepared for.

So that is how you encrypt your data on an Android Phone running on Android 5.0 (Lollipop) onwards!

 

LINKS ON HOW TO ENCRYPT DATA ON IPHONES

As for iPhones, I will wait until I have some personal experience with it and post my findings. In the meantime, here are a couple of references that might lead you to similar guidelines I provided here for Android.

If you think this post will help any people you know, post it on your blogs, tweet it or like it on Facebook or Google Plus.

If you have other references for encrypting data on other phones or operating systems, send us the link to your article or send us your article and we will publish it here.

Which web design software should I use for creating quality webpages quickly?

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Question: Which web design software should I use for creating quality webpages quickly?

Since you asked which Web Design SOFTWARE, then I would say Dreamweaver. But I wouldn’t rely on Dreamweaver completely unless you’re dealing with a brochure website. If you asked, which Script or maybe, which Content Management System, I would say WordPress.

You might hear some people say, “WordPress is just a Blogging tool”. Not really. That’s old news. It started as such but it is now commonly used for websites. There’s more tools but since you said, ‘quickly’, the options I give is narrowed down.

Source: Marquez Comelab answered this question on Quora in August 2015. 

I have my product almost ready, but I have no company, no co-founder, no contacts. How do I proceed from here?

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Question: I have my product almost ready, but I have no company, no co-founder, no contacts. How do I proceed from here? 

Do you need to register as a company? Can you NOT register as a Sole Trader? That’s probably the simplest to start with. I would only start using a company when it is worth more than its trouble.

Once you have that, I would, if I were in your shoes, see if I can legally protect any intellectual property I can have on the product (trademarks, patent, copyright, etc).

Once that’s done, I would develop a website where I can tell people about my product and what I’m trying to do. If it is a product I can start selling directly to consumers, then I would start doing that. That’s how you see if you have the product that people need and if you have the systems, knowledge and processes to supply that product. If it is a product more for industry, wholesalers and resellers then networking would also be urgent and important.

Either way, using the Internet through various social media networks would have to play in your marketing mix. But you will need a website to drive your traffic to, where people can find out more about your product and your business, and contact you when they are ready to buy, partner or invest in you.

Source: Marquez Comelab answered this question on Quora on 20 August 2015. The original question was, “I have my product almost ready, but I have no company, no co-founder, no contacts. How do I proceed from here? They don’t even let you register a company alone in India”. 

Why protect your personal and business data on your phone

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Your phone is sending and receiving data all the time. This data can be intercepted by exploiting vulnerabilities of a signalling system, SS7, used by more than 800 telecommunication companies across the world. Through this, criminals, hackers, spies and governments  are able to listen in to your conversations, steal information stored on your phone and track your location.

It is clear the risks of having your phone hacked by ‘petty’ criminals are just as real as having your car or credit card details stolen. In a recent 60 Minutes report (Australian Edition), the reporter Ross Coulthart drove around Sydney with a cryptophone to detect the use of devices known as IMSI-catchers (International Mobile Subscriber Identity) that facilitate mobile eavesdropping. While in Sydney, Coulthart detected 10 such devices trying to hack into his calls, even right outside the Australian Stock Exchange.

The security hole was first identified back in 2008. Government, Security Agencies and the Telecommunications industry knew about it. The report ended with the question: why is this security hole not being plugged?

The risk of our information being hacked through your phone have always been there. I once thought the skills and knowledge required to hack people’s mobile phones was reserved mainly to spies, government agencies and highly-skilled hackers. Perhaps this assumption was once true, but definitely not anymore.

Stop for a moment and think what would happen if information you have on your phone fell in the hands of a criminal. Think of your access codes to your bank accounts. What happens if you lose all your lifesavings? That money for the car that needs replacing? That urgent surgery to save your or your child’s life?

If you are a business owner or an executive you are likely to have private, sensitive and confidential information on your phone. What would happen to your business if this data was accessed by criminals, your competitors and other third parties? There are all sorts of concerns, from financial fraud to physical security, that you stand to deal with if this ever becomes an issue for you.

In my next post I will show how I encrypted the data on my phone to help you do the same and secure your data on your mobile phone as well.

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In future posts we will offer more tips and tricks on how to protect yourself and your business from unauthorised access to your information so make sure to bookmark this page, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus or Linked In.

List of Social Media Networks and Websites to Promote your Business

By | Articles, SEO, SEM & Marketing | No Comments

For a long time, we, at Oranges and Lime, have been meeting many of our clients through personal networks, actual (as in off-line) business events, business breakfasts, referrals and the like. The reason for this was that most small business owners were not yet active online. We found them to be technological laggards, meaning it was taking them some time to adapt and accept new technologies.

Times are changing however. Now, we are finding that many business owners have a Facebook account and they are browsing the Internet more to research the types of services we are offering. As Social Media Networks becomes more ubiquitous, because more people are using them, they are becoming a crucial element to any business’ marketing mix.

Here is a list of Social Media Networks or websites to promote your business, engage with your audience, with others in your industry and meet potential customers. We will sort them according to our preference. So if you only have time to target one social network, go for the first one. If you have time for two, target the first two and so on. Obviously, some networks might be more suited to your type of business and others may not. We will soon add the positives and negatives with each of these. We are continually updating this post and we use a lot more websites and social media tools, so bookmark this page and come back again for the latest updates!

1. Twitter

Twitter Logo

Follow us on Twitter

Twitter is built for quick announcements. From a Business Standpoint, that makes it a great tool to quickly update and share with your audience. Twitter is well embedded in many online tools, websites and mobile apps.

2. Google Plus

googleplus

We like Google Plus for its use for Circles. You can organise people in Circles and choose to share what you want to with those circles. We find the use of Circles a lot easier with Google Plus more efficient than the way Pages work on Facebook. There’s a few more about Google Plus that makes it a very good Business Platform. Having started Google Plus earlier when they challenged Facebook’s social networking supremacy, I can say, Facebook has copied a lot of the features they came up with.

Connect with Oranges and Lime on Google Plus.

3. Quora

Quora Logo

Quora is a website where users ask each other questions. It has a wide range of topics. I had a Quora account for a while. However, it’s only been recently that I have been engaging with other users there. I answered a few questions, less then ten, from other users asking me questions about business, starting up, entrepreneurship, web design and web development as well as science and religion. Within about a week, 3000 people have read my answers! I saw Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia answering questions there as well as Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress and others. I remember seeing an Ashton Kutcher replying to a question.

The amount of clutter like irrelevant sarcasm, verbal ‘swipes’ and arguments are minimised. People seem to get straight to the point with this format. There are really thought-provoking questions there that start off interesting conversations, I find.

Follow me in Quora: http://www.quora.com/Marquez-Comelab 

4. Stumble Upon

StumbleUpon Logo

In our opinion, Stumble Upon is an under-rated power-house when it comes driving traffic to a website if done right.

Follow us in Stumble Upon: http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/orangesandlime

5. Blogger

Blogger

Blogger is free. It’s good for SEO reasons because since Google owns it, we can only suppose that Google index every page of it for advertising purposes. Like I said, however, it has its limits for a serious blogger who might eventually want to customise their blogs or might want to do more than just blogging.

As good as Blogger is for anybody starting out, we do not use it ourselves. I personally still have an old blog kept there for archiving reasons but t’s been a while since we used Blogger because for our professional purpose. As web developers ourselves we are used to having full control to our blogs and websites and so we came across limitations with Blogger pretty quickly. This is not a statement against Blogger because all the tools on this page would fall in the same category. The difference with blogging is that it is a big part of your business and website and its SEO. I, as a business owner would want it to be stored on a server in which I have control, and that I can modify it whenever and however I want. Secondly, I want my blog to be accessible from my company’s domain name. It looks a bit awkward for visitors to be browsing your website, click on your blog then all of a sudden find themselves in a slightly different looking website with a different domain name. It gives it that disjointed experience.

The main blog of choice for professional use is WordPress. Contact us, if you want us to discuss what is involved with building a WordPress blog for you, your business or your organisation.

6. Tumblr

Tumblr Logo

If you think micro-blogging is for you, try Tumblr. Topics are easy to find and the quality and context of writing is niched, personal and very casual type of writing. Keep the Safe Search setting option however if you do not want inappropriate search results to come up. We found it works great for promoting products using lots of photos of products. We’ll add Instagram Pinterest later but they’re good platforms for posts with appealing images.

Similar to Blogger, I would not use it as my main Blogging platform to represent my company’s official blog. It is a good tool to engage people who are already in Tumblr.

Contact us, if you want us to discuss what is involved with building a professional blog for you, your business or your organisation.

7. Facebook

Facebook Logo

With Facebook, you create a Business Page for your Business. Depending on your personal Facebook network and the type of business you’re in, Facebook Business Pages might work for you. If you have a business selling directly to consumers, then that’s when your personal network — your friends and family — can really help you out. If you are however in Business to Business, like us, we find other channels more effective.

If you want to use Facebook, expect to pay advertising dollars before you can grow your audience, especially if you are in a niche that is not really popular to your personal contacts. In such cases, we would recommend using Google Plus, Twitter and Stumble Upon and others. If you are willing to put in the time to be active in those other networks, you will find it easier to bring traffic to your website.

If you are like us and are not planning to be as active on Facebook as you would be in other marketing activities, we would still recommend you have a Facebook Page for your business, and post when you can. The ‘SEO Juice’ is worth it and rightly or not, people usually expect businesses to have a Facebook page.

Like our Facebook Page

Which Social Media Networks do you use for your business? Are they working for you? Why do you think that is? Send us your answers so we can share your ideas too.

As the CEO, Managing Director or Business Owner, be THE cheerleader for your business or company

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The biggest responsibility that you have as a CEO, a Managing Director or a Business Owner should be to be the cheerleader for your business or company. As the Leader, it is your job to tell the world about the great things your business is doing, about the great achievements your people are accomplishing and about the solutions you are providing to many of your customers and clients whose problems your team is solving.

For CEOs and Managing Directors of big companies that can have a Marketing Department, perhaps you can afford to delegate this responsibility to your Marketing Manager. However for the other 95% of businesses classified as small, micro or sole proprietorships, the consequences for you not ‘stepping up to the plate’ would have a big impact on whether your business will languish or succeed.

What does it mean to be the cheerleader for your company or business? What it means is that you have to be willing to be the front man or woman of your business. You have to be willing to put your face on photos, your voice on podcasts and your thoughts on blog posts and articles your business publishes.

I know this is not easy. You might think it is because you are afraid or that you convince yourself you do not have the personality to be a public persona for your brand. You might have a lot of self-doubt. You might deep inside believe that your business will not succeed. You might somewhat believe that you do not have what it takes. You look at the many people behind so many other businesses and individuals who you perceive are doing better than you at what you do. But none of these matter. The question is: do you still want to be in the game? Do you still want to win?

If you still want to win, then know that no one else has more passion for your business than you. So if you do not go out there and promote your business, who will?

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Do you have any thoughts or experiences that relate to this post? Send them through.

What You Need to Start a Business in Australia

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I meet a lot of people who have great ideas, but are not quite sure of the steps they need to take. This is a very big topic but in this article I want to focus on what you need to start a business in Australia. Specifically, the process of legally formalising a business, such as registering a business name, a domain name, trademark, GST, ABN and so on.

To start a business in Australia, you will need to:

Choose your Legal Business Structure

There are 3 main Legal Structures from which to choose: Sole Trader, Partnership or a Company. There are Trusts and Joint Ventures also but most readers of this article will primarily be concerned with the main three.

Apply for an Australian Business Number (ABN) and/or Australian Company Number (ACN)

Even though it is not compulsory, having an ABN makes it easier for you to do business with others , especially when ordering and invoicing. It helps you avoid PAYG (Pay As You Go) tax on payments you receive and allows you to claim GST credits and obtain an Australian Domain name. Registration is free. For more information, visit the Australian Business Register, https://abr.gov.au/.

If you are a Company, you need an ACN first before an ABN. To apply for an ACN, visit ASIC.

Register your Business Name

Your Business Name is the name under which you will be trading to identify you to your customers, partners and competitors. If you are trading under your, or your partner’s, first name and surname, there is no need to register.

At the time of writing this article, the cost of Business Name Registration Fees and Payment Methods is $34 for one year and $78 for 3 years. To register a business name, visit ASIC: http://www.asic.gov.au/

Register your Trademarks

What might be confusing for most people is that a registered Business Name is not protected. Anyone can use your name. If you want to protect it, you need to register a trademark as well. This protects your business name and stops others from trading it.

Register your website domain name

A Domain Name is a Web Address. It is what you see after the @ of an email address (eg: yourname@domainname.com) and after the www of an internet address (eg: www.domainname.com).

It is not legally obligatory to register a Domain Name. However, I recommend you do it early if you are serious about the long-term prospect of your business, and this for the following reasons:

If you do not register your domain name, anyone can register it and use it, especially if it is an international domain like .com, .net or .org. When you finally decide to get a website, you will get to use the domain name of your choice and won’t have to compromise because someone else has registered it.

Secondly, it is more professional to have an email address from your own domain name and a website with its own domain name, rather than a sub-folder of someone else’s web domain name.

At the time of writing, international domain names can be registered from about $15 per year and about $30 for Australian domain names like .com.au for two years.

I cannot recommend a domain name registrar but you can search for a phrase like “domain name register” in Google and you would be met with an extensive list of Search results.

If Oranges and Lime is building and developing your website, we can register your domain name for you with a registrar of our choice.

Register for Tax File Number (TFN)

Every business need a Tax File Number (TFN). Sole Traders can keep their individual TFN. Partnerships and Companies need their own separate TFNs.

To register for a TFN

Register for Goods and Services Tax (GST)

If you are trading goods and services, register for Goods and Services Tax (GST)

GST is compulsory if your current or expected turnover is greater than $75000, or if you provide taxi travel services as part of your business.

Register for Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG)

If you are paying employees, directors or businesses that do not quote their ABN to you, you need to register for PAYG before you can withhold that amount.

Payroll Tax

If your staff is paid above particular threshols set by each state or territory you operate under, have a look if this is relevant for you.

Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT)

Look into this if you are providing your employees company cars, car parking discounts, low interest loans, Christmas parties and if you intend on paying for Private expenses.

Register for FBT.

Miscellaneous Items

There is also Fuel Tax Credits, Wine Equalisation Tax and Luxury Tax. Check the ATO website to find out more.

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This article is written for the Australian context and it may not touch on all possible businesses and business types, but I hope I’ve provided a quick reference here to lead you in the right direction. If you are from another country, and you are professionally familiar with the alternatives, write it up and send us the article to be considered for publication.

I will try to update this resource as often as I can to keep it accurate and timely. If it is outdated, needs correction or addition, feel free to post the details in the comment field below to help us maintain a good resource here for business owners.