Owning a website involves two often misunderstood elements …… a domain and a host. Understanding the difference is key to effective site management.
The domain is the internet address people use to get to your site. For example, the Lovett Web Design domain is lovettwebdesign.com. You can register a domain with any number of registrars/providers such as domain.com, bluehost.com, or godaddy.com, by paying a fee, usually $10-$35 yr to use that web address. When ready to host your website, you’ll need to change the domain’s DNS record to point to the host server files.
Selecting A Domain: Tips
Here are some considerations for domain selection:
Research. Study your niche and to know what the average user wants. Being aware of the most popular keywords and search terms will let you find a domain name that’s best suited to represent your project.
Make it easy to remember. Don’t go for something that is absurdly long or difficult to pronounce. A catchy and short domain name will greatly increase the chances of visitors remembering your website name.
Go with .com if possible. Currently, .com is taking a firm stand as the most popular domain name extension. Thus, it’s a good priority when buying a domain name, as most web users will easily recognize it.
Check for trademark infringement. To avoid any legal issues, it’s best not to register a domain similar to popular, well-established brands. You can use various online tools to look up trademark information and avoid such situations.
Avoid numbers and hyphens. While numbers and hyphens let you create more domain name variations, they can sometimes do more harm than good. For example, people can mistake the number zero (0) with the letter (o) or the number (2) for a word (two). Oomitting numbers and hyphens may be a good idea.
Look for close alternatives. If you already have a domain name in mind, think of possible mistype variations to make sure all the potential traffic reaches you. A great example would be amzon.com which takes you the main Amazon website, or fb.com which goes directly to Facebook.
Research social media platforms. Once you have a rough draft of your domain name, look it up on popular social media platforms like Twitter, YouTube, Instagram or Facebook. Even if you’re not planning to do anything with them at the start, reserving a page for your project will ensure it’s not taken by someone else.
Web host is a place where people store their websites. The host is the service that stores your website’s files. Your domain points to your website’s files on your host’s server when someone types in your URL online. For example, I often use Bluehost as my hosting provider. The host charges fees for the service based on type of plan, site speed, uptime, support, features, security etc.
Four Types of Web Hosting
There are four basic types of web hosting: Shared, Virtual Private Server (VPS), Dedicated, and Cloud Hosting. The estimated prices do not include site maintenance.
- Shared Hosting $1-$4 mo
Your website is placed on the same server as many other sites, ranging from a few to hundreds or even thousands of sites. This is low cost, entry level, hosting that works for sites with low traffic where speed is not important. If your site uses a premium WordPress theme, your site will be very slow to load causing problems when working on the site as well as for users with little patience.
- Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting $30-$40 mo
A virtual private server hosting divides a server into virtual servers. Your site is sharing a server with a only a few different other users and the cost is mid-level. It’s the next best thing to a dedicated server. I use a VPS server often and it works very well. It’s much faster and more secure than shared hosting servers.
- Dedicated Hosting $80-$150 mo
Your website is the only site stored on the server, hence the name dedicated server. It’s very expensive, but if you have a high traffic site and a fat budget, this is the best option for you.
- Cloud Hosting
A team of servers (called a cloud) work together to host a group of websites. Multiple computers work together to handle high traffic levels for your website. This is another high cost setup for high traffic sites.
WordPress Site Maintenance
WordPress site maintenance is a necessity and it can be time consuming. It includes tasks such as backups, upgrades, updates, security, tune-ups, checking for bad links, deleting spam, and more. You can do this yourself, or you can subscribe to a service which usually runs about $30-$100 per month depending on the size of your site and amount of site maintenance needed.
What good is an amazing site if nobody sees it? To get your site noticed you’ll have to do web marketing which involves create interesting content applying sound SEO principles, and integrate with social media.
“Mark Lovett is wonderful to work with! I am a graphic designer with limited web experience, so when I needed a website for my own firm, I turned to Mark for help. He enthusiastically agreed to work with me—he did all the setup and technical work, but at the same time, we sat together and he taught me how to get in the back end and do some things myself. He was patient and had a great sense of humor as I tried to grasp this foreign language!
I would highly recommend Mark for organizations who need him to handle EVERY aspect of their website, as well as for others, like me, who need help, but also want to be able to change things themselves. Thanks to Mark, I now have a website I am extremely proud of. In addition, he made it happen quickly, which to me was imperative. Bravo Mark and many thanks!”
Dovetail Design Studio