In our last post, we discussed the initial steps we always recommend when starting a new website. At this point, you should have a clear vision of your company, your goals, and your budget. Let's cut to the chase and dive back in!
Step 3 – Determine Your Hosting and Domain Management Criteria
I never claimed all aspects of web development were glamorous, however these technical aspects are crucial for building a solid foundation. For the purpose of this particular step, I'll be referring mostly to brand new sites. If you have an existing site, you've already got your hosting and domain. Some tips may be valuable to you anyway, especially if you're considering major upgrades or branding changes.
Think of your domain as your name and address online, while your hosting is the home for all your belongings (files). You'll need a domain name in conjunction with hosting to own your own slice of the internet pie.
While I would love to say it's as simple as jumping on the first company that offers these services, it is not. I'll never drop names, but some of your big box hosting companies offer some pretty sub-par services that don't always play well with all applications or can give your site a slow loading speed. It's always best to do your research on the differences in packages, rates, and reliability before choosing. If you're ever stuck or things get complicated, your web developer can offer insight and recommendations as to what you'll need to fulfill the website plan you've decided on. Of course, I know of a great hosting and domain management company located right here in Hampton Roads – your friend Graphic Memory!
Choosing the perfect domain name is another big step. Your web address can carry weight in your search engine optimization (SEO) and is also what you will essentially be using as your first impression. I will always recommend keeping it short, catchy and to the point. One of my many favorites is a local Newport News and Williamsburg company, http://poweredbyparks.com It's got a ring to it that people will remember, and includes a portion of the company's official name plus a potential search keyword. Ease of use and a clear vision of your company is the name of the game, literally! Try to avoid unnecessary dashes or other punctuation, as it's harder for the people you're going to want to share your site with to remember. The same goes for your domain extension, which is the .com or .net portion of your address. We're all pretty used to using .com across the board, so unless you're an nonprofit organization (.org) or educational institution (.edu) it's best to stick with old faithful. For example, 'bestconstructioncompany.com' is a superior choice to 'best-construction-company.net'
A factor to consider, is with the multitude of websites out there, a lot of the good names are taken. Don't be discouraged, try to get creative! If you're a local specific company, try adding your city or state to the end of your name. It can only add to your SEO presence, and keeps you in line with my above recommendations for simplicity. You can easily see what names are available to purchase without committing by using the 'Check Availability' feature on any domain registration website, such as eNom.
That's all for this month, stay tuned for my next post when we will start having fun with design and branding!