You’re ready to take the step to your first website.
You know it is time to take your business online and hire a custom web designer. Your research is beginning to make you dizzy trying to decipher the verbiage. Here’s a place to begin:
SECURE YOUR DOMAIN NAME
Your domain name is a great value at $9.13/year (update: June 18th price increase of 50 cents for .com and .net). If your business name is your branding – stick with it. But if you are looking to gain internet traffic you might consider a 2 step approach. Many of my web clients use their business name as their website domain (aka URL) to be spoken – given over the phone. The second domain name they choose is their “real” website name containing a keyword for their business. Ex. Your business name is “Cute Name, Inc.” and you sell clocks. Buy 2 domains (if available):
When someone types CuteName.com in the browser address bar it is redirected to Clocks.com seamlessly. Unless you are watching the address bar, you won’t be aware of the redirect.
Using a keyword in your domain name is a strong foundation for your website and greatly aids in search engine optimization (SEO), which is how Google, Yahoo and Bing learn what your website is about. As Google ranks your site (something being bantered around currently) a solid keyword in your domain name can help give you an edge. As competitive as the internet has become it’s important to give this thought. Discuss with others and speak your domain name to see how it rolls off your tongue and is understood. Any “s” people may not hear and forget to put in? It needs to be clear.
You can have multiple redirects.
COM vs .NET and so on…
No matter how often we’re told CuteName dot NET – we type in the browser address bar CuteName dot COM. Not a big deal if I arrive at a site I KNOW is not the one I wanted. But if it is your competitor’s site and the visitor is a potential new client – you have much to lose. It’s also better to keep your name significantly different than your competition. It is trickier these days, with so many online, but worth giving this some thought. This is your online business. You can also purchase any available extensions if you are aggressively protecting “your domain”, and leave those parked, or add a redirect to your dot COM.
I use NameSecure for domain purchase. NetworkSolutions is another (and have acquired namesecure recently). It doesn’t matter where you go, just be aware if the price is more than $9.13 you are buying something else. These sites also sell email services you wouldn’t need most likely as most web hosting offers webmail services.
You can purchase privacy of your domain name registrant. This is about $9.00/year (it varies). Every domain is listed in what is called “WhoIs”. Anyone can look up the owner of a domain name – except those who choose privacy. I don’t recommend this for most of my clients, since their name will be on their website – people can figure out who the owner is quite simply. Why pay for something you aren’t trying to hide?
That is step one – domain name = website = URL.