How to Select the Best Domain Name and Hosting Service for Your Website
Deciding to build a new website is exciting. But if you’re not entirely sure what to do, it can also be nerve-wracking and confusing. Where do you start? What information out there is accurate and reliable? And how do you know if you’re doing the right things first or the first things right?
Well, the first step you’ll need to explore when building a new website is determining what you want your domain name to be. And then you’ll need to decide which hosting service is best for the type of website you’re building. Keep reading to learn more about what to do.
Tips for Choosing a Domain Name
Believe it or not, choosing a domain name can actually be a fun experience if you know how to approach choosing one. It’s not always as simple as using your business name for your website. Follow these tips to choose the right domain name for your new website.
Do Your Research
First, you’ll want to do some research and see what domain names are available. There are millions of websites out there now, so it is highly likely that the original domain name you have in mind won’t be available unless you want to buy it from its current owner at a hefty price. But there are still plenty of options out there. Use a domain name generator to see what’s available.
While doing your research, make sure to keep your target audience in mind. What terms and phrases, or keywords, do they already search for online the most? If possible, incorporate one or more keywords into your domain name itself so that it will come up in their search results often.
Additionally, think about what domain names will be available across different social media channels and messaging platforms, too. For instance, if “hotsocks.com” is available, it may not also be available on Twitter, Facebook, or other social media channels where you’ll want to share links and information about your website.
Make It Easy to Remember and Type
Your domain name must be easy to pronounce and type out or people will easily forget it or not be able to find it. For instance, don’t have more than two or three words in it. And don’t use words or phrases that have homonyms or that are easily misspelled. For instance, “weirdkix.com” could easily be misspelled and mistyped if someone mentioned it aloud. And it won’t be easy to find in search engines.
And if you want your domain name to be easy to remember and type, don’t use numbers, hyphens, or special characters. For instance, instead of, “5*Mini-Vacations.com,” you would want to use something like, “luxuryminivaca.com.”
Remember Your Brand
Choosing a domain name is also one of the first steps you’ll take toward branding yourself or your business online. Again, always keep your target audience and customers in mind, so that you’re always speaking their language and communicating what you do and offer in a way that makes sense to them and really resonates with what they want or care about. For example, if you’re trying to target luxury travelers with your website, you would probably select the domain name “luxurioustravel.com” before you would select, “traveldeals.com.”
Use an Appropriate Domain Extension
Everyone thinks that they need a domain name with a “.com” extension, but you might want to consider thinking outside of the box if you’re really having a hard time finding a domain name that you want and that coincides with your website’s brand. You can also consider domain extensions like “.us,” “.info,” “.biz,” “.work,” “.shop,” etc. Just make sure the domain extension is relevant to your type of website and or business to alleviate confusion. For instance, “.org” is usually used for nonprofit entities. And “.net” is usually used for network-related businesses or organizations.
Know Where to Register Your Domain
Once you’ve decided on a domain name that’s available, you’ll most likely want to register it with the hosting service you choose for your website. While it isn’t necessary to do this, it makes managing domains and websites, as well as billing and website setup, much easier to do and understand because there is a single source to manage both. Most hosting services will also let you transfer and existing domains you already have.
Tips for Choosing a Hosting Service
After you’ve selected your domain name, you’ll want to register it with a web hosting service before you begin building your website. Here are some tips to keep in mind to help you choose the right web hosting service for your website.
Verify That They Have Your Hosting Needs
Not all hosting services offer the same things. Consider whether you want or need shared hosting or dedicated hosting. And then see what offers and options each hosting service provider has available. If you don’t anticipate a lot of website traffic, then you might want to go for more economical options. But if you anticipate a lot of traffic, your needs will look much different.
Most hosting offers are available in 3 categories:
- Shared Hosting – As the name implies, multiple websites will share resources on a single server. This is usually the least expensive option, and is sufficient for most individual or small business websites.
- Virtual Private Server (VPS) – With VPS hosting, your site will still reside on a shared server, but a section will be partitioned out for your access only. This option allows more customization of the OS and the functionality of your site. And the resources you get won’t be impacted by activity on other sites.
- Dedicated Server – Also known as a managed hosting service, you will be leasing an entire server. You will get complete control and customization of the hosting environment. Dedicated hosting provides optimum security and flexibility for high-traffic or mission-critical websites.
Know Sign Up Rates vs. Renewal Rates
Sometimes hosting service providers will offer discounts upfront if you’re a new customer, but your renewal rates might be different. Make sure that you know all costs associated with your new website, which ones are one-time only, and which costs might fluctuate in the future. This way, you’ll never receive a surprise bill in your inbox and you won’t have to worry about interrupted hosting service resulting from overdue payments.
Consider How You Will Build Your Website
If you don’t know how to code websites or build them from scratch, then you’ll want to consider going with a web hosting provider that offers a reliable and easy-to-use website builder. Most website builders offer drag-and-drop features, customizable templates, etc. Be careful not to buy a web hosting service plan or subscription that you won’t even be able to use because you don’t know how to code.
Decide Whether You’ll Need E-Commerce Features and Support
You’ll also want to consider whether your website will need e-commerce features and support as you’re considering web hosting providers. Some providers won’t be able to offer all the features and support that an e-commerce business website needs to succeed. To accept payments you will need to implement a shopping cart and payment processing functionality. Find one that offers all you need for an optimized and user-friendly e-commerce website.
Server Reliability and Customer Ratings
Most importantly, you’ll want to investigate what current customers are saying about the web hosting services you’re considering. Are customers happy with the providers’ services, options, rates, customer care, etc.? Do their websites function well and fast? Do they ever have problems with website security or billing? Does the hosting service offer regularly scheduled backups for websites?
While price points are important, you’ll also want to make sure the web hosting services you’re considering are reliable and that you’ll be able to easily contact someone if you have a question or need assistance. If your website is always crashing or encountering data breaches, you will lose customers and website visitors over time.
Choosing the best website domain name and hosting service doesn’t have to be stressful. Just keep the information above top-of-mind when you get started.
Feature image: Pixabay