What’s In A Name – How to Select Your Domain

August 6, 20160 Comments

 Day 6: How to Choose the Right Domain Name and Web Hosting

Topics covered:

  • Why it’s so important for you to register “yourname.com” and what to do if it’s taken
  • Difference between domain name registration and servers—and web hosting

Goal: Get A domain, Get Hosting

Resources Mentioned: Godaddy, Namecheap, BlueHost, RoseHost, Liquid Web, EcoverMania,Lynda Goldman

Over the last few lessons, you went through the steps of first brainstorming potential markets and then researching them to see if they’re profitable. And that means you should now have a market that you’d like to blog about. Read on for your next step…

Learning Objective: To choose the most powerful domain name for your business and secure it.

First and foremost you need a domain name. Your domain name is essentially your place on the web. For example www.yourwebsite.com.

  • Choosing a Good Domain Name

There are several factors to consider when choosing your domain name, including:

  • Get a .com extension (rather than .net, .org, etc). The .com name is still the most recognizable and popular extension, so choose a .com name whenever possible.

The name should be descriptive. In other words, someone should get a sense of what your blog is about just by seeing the domain name.

Example: It’s clear that “dogtraining.com” will be about dog training.

  • The name should be easy to remember and say. A name like “dogtraining4u” is cutesy, but it’s not a good name. That’s because someone who hears the name doesn’t know if the “4” is for, fore, four or 4. Likewise, the “u” (you) at the end can cause problems.

Ten years ago,  I had a domain name me2yousoftware.com. I should have named it paigesoftware.com.  Click here it will take you to the Wayback Machine. You will be able to see what the site look like back in 2006.

Tip: Point is, keep it simple – if you have to explain the name, it’s probably not a good name.

Your domain name can be a tremendous traffic tool for your website, helping boost you to instant/top visibility. And, to answer a question often asked, it’s best if you choose either a domain that is your exact name, as I do here.

…or the name of your signature method, process, product or program. Examples: ecovermania.com or www.WellnessInk.com by Lynda Goldman.

And even if you are planning to use the name of your signature system as your domain name, secure your own name anyway in a .com domain. This ensures no one else with that exact name secures it later on.

If you don’t secure your own name as a .com domain, another person with the same name as you may purchase that name—which may inadvertently divert all searches meant for you to that other person’s Google search listings instead.

What if your-name-dot-com is already taken?

There are really only two or three choices. Forget securing your name with a .org extension (which used to be a popular alternative)—that will no longer keep you in the same league as a .com extension. It’s better if you use a really simple but easily memorable extension instead, like ‘.online’ (e.g. “johnsmith.online”) or your country extension (e.g. “johnsmith.us, johnsmith.ca, johnsmith.au, and so forth).

And it is better to use a relevant extension (like .coach or .online) than playing with your actual name (i.e.: sticking hyphens between your first and last name; throwing in your middle initials or abbreviating your first name—especially when you don’t normally do so—and so forth.)

And, contrary to what you might be thinking, Google doesn’t penalize new, custom extensions.

You have to think like the person who will be searching for you: They are far more likely to type in “Barrington Paige coaching” than enter “b.paige coaching”.

Remember that if someone else holds the .com version of your domain name, you run a real risk of having your traffic stream to their results anyway. Be creative to find workarounds—but always focus on probable search keywords leading to the end result 

you want (qualified traffic) rather than on creating clever word variations on your desired domain name.

Use keywords. Go back to your keyword research. Did you see any keywords that would make a good domain name? If so, purchase a name with those keywords. But don’t choose a keyword-laden name in lieu of the other factors above. That’s because your domain name is just one small factor that helps determine your search engine rankings.

Profit Tip:

One area of setting up a website that often confuses people is the difference between domain name registration and servers—and web hosting.

The most common error lies in thinking that the domain name registration and your web hosting plan are all one and the same thing.

Not So.

You can register your domain with ANY domain registration company and then point your domain name to your own web host’s Name servers. (Think of it like living in 123 Easy Street, then moving to 456 Profit Lane.  Since you’re now living at the latter, you fill out a form to get the post office to immediately start sending all your mail to 456 Profit Lane.)

Either way, there will STILL be TWO fees to pay annually from now on (or every two, three or five years, if the companies you have chosen offer those options):

Annual Fees
Domain Name registration renewal

o   Annually

Web hosting renewal

o   Monthly or annually

On top of that, if you have chosen a country-based extension, like .ca for Canada, you may also have to pay a third annual fee to the body that manages that particular domain name extension (CIRA for Canadians). This is NOT a registration fee (unless you register your domain directly with that body): It is extra.

Once you have your domain name you need somewhere to host it.

Think of your domain name as your address, and hosting your home on the web. Your hosting account will contain all the files that make up your website. The nameservers are your post office.

  • Use a reliable domain registrar. I suggest you use a well-known company like NameCheap.com or GoDaddy.

The first thing you’ll want to do is go register a domain name at a registrar and get that settled.  When given the option for “nameservers” choose to have the domain “parked” with the registrar.

You’ll be able to change this after you select a web site hosting company which is what we’ll cover next.

To illustrate this, type your domain name into the address bar of your favorite browser after you have registered it.  And click ENTER.  What happens? You either arrive at a page that informs you the page you’re looking for is not available or you arrive at a page that informs you the page you’re looking for is parked on behalf of your registrar. That’s because, while you have a domain name, it isn’t connected to any hosted web space at this point.

Important: Ignore all the other stuff, such as “unlocking”, “transferring”, et cetera et cetera. Changing your name server settings should be the ONLY task you need to perform after registering a new domain.

Your next step is to choose a web host (which should never be the same company as your domain name registrar).

Choosing The Right Website Hosting Service

No matter what hosting company you choose, make sure it has the essential features you need for the tools you’re planning to use. At the very least, for Windows PCs this includes:

  • cPanel
  • PHP 5 and MySQL 5
  • Automatic apps installer
  • Fantastico DeLuxe or Softaculous (most web hosts use Softaculous nowadays)

Look for one with generous or unlimited bandwidth and/or unlimited domains you can add on. Choose a company that has been in business a long time and displays verifiable testimonials, whose customer support and service is lightning-fast .

Now, there are literally hundreds, maybe even thousands, of hosting companies out there who will sell you web space to “host” your site for you. If you go to Google.com and search for “website hosting”, you’ll find waaaaaay too many options to consider.

So, what I want to do is give you my personal recommendations.  I’ve personally used them and have found them to be first-rate choices for hosting.

Resource #1:  BlueHost.com and you can use their cheapest hosting package at $3.95 a month 0r there $6.95 Plus Package for unlimited domain names.

Resource #2:  Liquid Web is the top end of the scale when it comes to web hosting, with Linux-based VPS hosting starting at $79 per month and fully dedicated server hosting starting at $289 per month—though Liquid Web does run specials, and there is one at time of writing bringing this latter cost down to $139 per month.

I started a small hosting company in 2001, which I leased from Liquid Web. I give them my highest recommendation. Since I know people like to fact check, using the Wayback Machine; check out my hosting website from 2007.

Resource #3:  Rose Hosting - If you already know your site is going to be traffic-heavy one day, look for either VPS hosting plan or one that offers a dedicated server—one you don’t share with any other business or person. This site is hosted on RoseHosting VPS Hosting Plan.  They have VPS Managed Hosting Plans starting at $19.95.

So, regardless of your budget and wants, one of these three options would make a perfect choice for your site hosting.

Once you’ve purchased your hosting plan, BlueHost.com (or whichever host you chose) will send you an email that includes your “DNS” (domain name server) information. Now what you need to do is take this DNS information and input it in your domain name account.

Note: Without going into too much technical explanation, a “nameserver” simply points the domain name to the hosted web space so people can actually visit your site. That’s a good thing. ☺

The DNS is the post office. When you type a URL into your web browser it goes to the post office of the internet and says. "Where is this?" The DNS gives them the location, which is the computer on the internet where your physical website is.  URL = Website address

Generally, a nameserver, as far as what’s given to you, will look something like this…

ns1.hostingoption.com

ns2.hostingoption.com

Go back to your domain name registrar and login to your control panel provided to you. Change your default nameserver data to the information given to you by the hosting company.  This will allow your site space to be “live”. Within 4-24 hours, when you type in your domain name into a browser address bar, it will arrive at your space.

Today’s task: Buy a domain name and set up hosting.

Tomorrow you’ll start learning about setting up your blog on your new domain!

Series Navigation<< How to Choose and Research A Make Money NicheHow To Install Your WordPress Website >>

Filed in: 30 Day Business Blogging ChallengeWeb Hosting and Domain Names

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