August 5th, 2009 by Pete Stevenson
We work with a lot of new businesses who need to start up a brand new website but don’t know where to begin.
Before you can set up a new website design, you’ll need to register a domain name and set up a hosting account.
Registering a domain name is cheap and easy. There are several registrars that you can purchase domain names from online but I highly recommend GoDaddy.com . They are inexpensive and their domain management system is very easy to use.
Go to www.GoDaddy.comand search for an available domain name in the search box in the middle of the screen.
- Make sure that your domain name is easy to remember and easy to spell. Your domain name doesn’t need to be the exact name of your business – any name will work.
- Always register a .COM name. If you register a .NET, .INFO, .US, or other domain name when the same .COM name is taken, you will only end up competing with the existing site for search traffic and your customers and prospects will be more likely to visit the wrong site when they try to look up your business online. You can register your domain name with several alternate extensions if you want to prevent competitors from taking them or if you might want to set up different websites for your business but this is entirely optional.
- Always register your domain directly through GoDaddy.com or another registrar. You might find offers online for a free domain name with an inexpensive or free website package. But in most cases, the service provider maintains ownership of your domain and you can only use the address for as long as you use their service. When you own your own domain name, you have the ability to choose any web hosting or design service that you like.
- Avoid the extra offers from GoDaddy.com. GoDaddy is able to offer inexpensive domain registrations by relentlessly upselling additional products and services that you don’t really need. You can safely ignore any of these offers and just purchase the standard domain registration. The only extra feature that may be of use is the private registration. This is essentially like having an unlisted phone number and address and will prevent anyone online from finding your contact information associated with your domain. For most businesses who publish their address and contact information online, this isn’t necessary. But if you operate a business from a home office and prefer not to make your address public, I would recommend opting for the private registration.
Once you have a domain name, you’ll need to setup a web hosting account.
Make sure that you choose a Linux hosting service with PHP version 4.3 or greater and MySQL version 4.1.2 or greater. My best recommendation for a reliable hosting provider is Liquid Web. Their standard web hosting plan is a little more expensive than others that you might find at $14.95 per month. But their service and reliability is well worth the few extra dollars. With a cheaper web hosting service, you will usually experience more frequent site outages and slower connection times. But aside from network and server performance, Liquid Web‘s tech support is the best I’ve ever worked with. They answer the phone 24/7 and hold times are extremely minimal – if there is any wait at all. And their tech support reps actually know how to solve problems and aren’t just a team outsourced customer service reps who will recite the online help instructions that you just read yourself.
If you need any help choosing and registering a domain or setting up a web hosting service, please feel free to contact us.