Deciding on your domain name
Once you have figured out a niche for your blog the next step is to decide what you want to call it. This is called, a domain name. It is what people will enter on their internet browser (Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Safari, etc) to get access to your blog.
This name is very important and should be very relevant to the topics you want to cover in your blog. At the same time you want to make it as short as possible so that people can easily remember it. This is also good for SEO (search engine optimization, in other words, how quickly Google or Yahoo rank your site when certain words are searched) as we will discuss in later articles.
For example you don’t want a name such as: killingthemsoftelyonthagame.com because one, it’s too long to remember. Two, no one spells “tha” with an a unless maybe in a mistyped text message. So you want to be careful about that when registering a domain name for your blog because once it’s registered, &you can’t change it. You can only create a new one.
Also make sure that you register the domain yourself or at least have access to the interface. I can’t count on my fingers how many times a lot of my clients forget to renew their domain registrations because they forgot. I have saved their business several times with automatic renewals that charges my account and then I send them the reminder to their relief. This is a common mistake. That’s why whenever someone registers a domain with my company, I make sure they have access to the dashboard. This is pivotal. So make sure you don’t make the mistake of having someone else register your domain for you without you having access to manage it.
You must renew your domain name every year. That’s why it’s important to have access to it. However, there are options with many domain registrars that allow you to register your domain for more than one year. Also remember not to pay too much for a domain. Paying anything above $15 for a domain name is too much. The average price as of writing this is about $10-$12 and with promotions some companies offer them for about $4. Look for these special promotions to save; godaddy.com, hostgator.com and my hosting provider, media temple (afflink) usually have these sales.
Choosing The Right Hosting Account
Choosing a hosting account is another very important decision you will have to make. It makes a difference in how fast your site is and your SEO depends on it as well. The faster your website the better.
This decision shouldn’t be taken easily because it makes a difference in your wallet. A cheap hosting account is cheap probably because the service is not so great and their servers are probably not that great either.
I have made this mistake once and I will never do it again. I once signed up for a company called webhostingpad.com for $1.99 a month hosting. That was one of the worst hosting experiences I have had.
The server went offline often and I couldn’t access my site. The customer service was awful, especially the billing department; they charged my account even after I cancelled my service.
Don’t make the same mistake. Pay for a good hosting service. There are plenty of them out there and you won’t go wrong if you follow these simple steps. Keep these in mind when starting your own blog.
1. Make sure they are reputable company and have been in business for a long time
2. Check their customer services rating and what other (real customers) have to say about them
3. Make sure their servers have a 99.99 percent up time or better
4. Get their premium hosting service if available (this guarantees better support)
5. Make sure they do backup your website
6. Make sure they don’t charge extra for too many add-ons
7. Make sure they have scalabilty so as your site grows they don’t penalize you for traffic or start giving you a hard time for your growing site
8. That they are easy to leave
Although these are not all the things you want to check for, they are very important. You want to make sure you are getting your money’s worth. I use Media Temple and Hostgator for a lot of my projects. Godaddy is often in my radar as well but out of these I find Media Temple to be more reliable for my needs. They have the WordPress hosting which I love. And their VPS hosting is just as good as anyone’s. But here is a small list of companies I recommend for a good hosting experience.
1. Media Temple – because I use them and they are great. Slow ticket response sometimes but they also solve my problems
2. Hostgator – I also have server space with them and the sites I have on there haven’t had too many problems. Just make sure you buy the business plan or above because I think that’s when the support is much better.
3. Godaddy – A few client’s sites I have designed use them and they only say good things about them.
4. Knownhost – I used their VPS server a few years back and I had a good experience with them.
5. Bluehost – they are just a damn good company to be a part of. And they have a very affordable VPS option.
So now you know how to pick a domain and how to pick a good hosting company. Follow the guidelines I have outlined here and you should be good to go. Like always leave a comment if you have any question and I would be happy to help.
The next article will walk you through the first things you want to do after you install your blog.