- Share contact and location information
- Educate visitors about products or services
- Sell products and services
- Share company goals
- Provide important industry specific information
- Display answers to common questions and issues
- Share customer reviews
- And more!
What to Know Before Building your Website: Domains & Hosting
The domain is the way people locate you on the Internet as well as a way to advertise your business name. The domain name can be a catchy way of describing what you do, your business name, or something else altogether. When choosing a domain name the goal is to get users to your website while also remembering it so they can return later. Most commonly the domain name is based on the name of the business. However, businesses can be forced to get creative if their domain name is already taken.
- The second-level domain, or SLD, which is the more readable portion and is fully customizable. This portion can be anything you want it to be as long as it is available.
- The top-level domain, or TLD, is created and preset. There are many to choose from but they cannot be modified.
Some of the most common TLD's are: .com, .org, .net, and .biz. In recent years hundreds of creative TLD's have been introduced. To see some examples, check out this list of new TLD's on GoDaddy. Many more options can now be chosen to better identify what type of business you are creating a website for.
- It is important to choose a domain name that represents the business name or what the business does so people can find you online.
- Domain names cannot be changed once they are purchased. I cannot stress this point enough, be sure you have the name you want before purchasing. Trying to change after the fact would be like purchasing a house then deciding you wanted your neighbors address. The only way you are going to be able to use that address is by also purchasing that house. Domain names work the same way: if you want something else, you have to purchase it as well.
- Keep the domain name as short as possible while still being descriptive.
- Renew domain ownership before the subscription ends. While domains are "owned", they are in a sense only leased because they are never fully paid for. Domain ownership renews on an annual basis unless multi-years are purchased. Either way, there is an annual fee to own a domain that never stops unless you no longer want to own the domain. If domain ownership lapses, someone else can purchase the domain name and it can be costly or embarrassing to get back.
When considering a hosting company, ask the following:
- Reputation - Have you heard of this company and/or do you know anyone who has used them? Are there large amounts of negative reviews about them?
- Guaranteed up time/availability - Is there a service level agreement (SLA)? Is your business or are your products time sensitive? Do you need guaranteed up time?
- Usage - What kind of traffic are you expecting? Hosting fees can be based on CPU, memory, disk size and type, IP addresses, operating system licenses required to host your site, as well as the bandwidth usage of your website's visitors.
- Location - The location of the hosting company can affect the responsiveness of your website. Be sure to check this out before signing up. Also, consider whether or not your business data is bound by regulatory compliance as to where it can be stored and located.