Website Domain Names & Web Hosting
Okay, the first thing a business website owner needs to think about (besides marketing) is what the heck am I going to name my website?
What is a Domain Name?
The domain is the actual name of a a website. The website Example.com is domain name. The .com or .net is called the domain extension. I’ll tell you about those in a minute.
Now often people get confused about the difference between a domain name and a website’s URL.
A Domain name is the name of the overall website. A URL (Universal Resource Locator) is simply the complete web address used to find a particular web page.
Say, a website is selling plumbing supplies. The URL for a specific page would look like this: HardwareStore.com/plumbing/ OR HardwareStore.com.com/plumbing-supplies/. The domain name in this case would be HardwareStore.com.
A URL is a web address (aka a web link) that points to a specific page within a given website.
How to Choose a Domain Name for Your Website
Websites can be named after just about anything … a person, a place, a business, a product or service, or even a internet search term… really just about anything.
But here are some tips to remember when you are thinking about choosing a domain name:
- Your domain name is literally the first impression people will have of your business and can help people find you online. This means your website’s name should be fairly short, easy to spell, and to pronounce (as speech search becomes more common, spoken text will become more important.)
- Don’t stress out if your “ideal” domain name is already taken. For example, say a domain with your business name (aka MyTownHardware.com) has already been registered, you probably are going to have look for another name.
This is because unless you operate in multiple locations AND your company has a recognized brand name AND you have money for a long lawsuit, you probably have no legal way to force the name owner to give up that domain … even if it matches your business name word for word. I know this sucks, but domain registration services sell website names on a first-come, first-serve basis.
- If you do find a name you like but it is already registered, you can always offer to buy it from the current name owner. But this can get very expensive. The highest price paid for a domain name was $872 million for Cars.com. Yes, that is $872 MILLION BUCKS for a 4 letter domain name. But I have obtained previously owned domain names for clients for under $300 dollars.
- Now if the domain name you want is already taken you can also try to use a different domain name extension. As I mentioned before, .COM is the most popular domain extension but you can easily check to see if the .NET or another extension is available.
Although you can legally use any available domain name for your organization, using an exact domain name as another company, with a different extension can be tricky. I once had a client who had the exact same business name as another company. She used the extension .NET for her website while the other company used .COM. They were both in a very similar industry but my client operated on the East Coast, while the other company was based on the West Coast, so they were not direct competitors.
- Domain name extensions like .NET, .ORG and .INFO can be purchased by anyone without any restrictions. But be warned that traditionally .ORG has been used by non-profits, charities and religious organizations. There are also other extensions like .BIZ (for Businesses), or .NAME (for Individuals).
Domain Name Registration
According to Wikipedia, “A domain name registrar is a company that manages the reservation of Internet domain names.” Basically they are specialty businesses that handles the reservation of domain names and assigns and/or tracks the IP addresses for those domains.
Think of how a city “assigns” names and numbers as street addresses for every building in town. The building may be on a particular named street but everyone from the fire department to the postal service needs to know the exact number of the building: 1313 Mockingbird Lane.
The domain register I like and recommend is Namecheap.com.
Now that you have some ideas on how to name your website and where to register it, you need to look at here your website is going to live online.
Unless you have a very busy website, you probably are going to purchase what is called a “shared hosting” account. Your website will be sharing resources with other accounts on a single web server (a computer with tons of storage space).
Think of shared hosting as renting space in a big apartment block. So your web hosting service provider is like a digital landlord for your website.
A web hosting service will offer your website preset sizes of “rental space” on their web servers so that your site is publicly accessible to everyone on the internet who has your web address.
Web hosting companies make their money by keeping as many of their monthly account owners as possible. Good web host providers work hard to protect and secure their web servers while keeping their systems up and running 24/7.
They also spend a lot of time updating their servers’ operating software because they want to keep their hosting “tenants” happy.
But just like in the real world of landlords, you have bad ones. And like a slum lord, a bad web hosting company is just in it for the money. They don’t really care about you or the safety of your website account.
This means they cut expenses by not keeping their web server’s security software up-to-date, and they let all kinds of riff-raff “tenants” (website owners who run hackable and buggy software) rent space from them.
Or worst yet, they overcrowd their servers with thousands and thousands of “cheap” accounts that overwhelm the servers’ processing power which leads to slow connections and website crashes.
I like the folks over at Veerotech. They are good landlords and have great customer service. I recommend their web hosting to anyone. And I include their hosting in all my website packages.NEXT PAGE → COPY BEFORE DESIGN