So You Have Your Domain Name – Now What?
It takes a couple of seconds to obtain a domain name, assuming it’s available. You visit a registrar company like GoDaddy.com or Namecheap.com and search for the desired name. If it’s available, you pay money to get it.
The amount you pay depends on several factors, but it shouldn’t set you back more than $8-$12 per year. Now that you have your domain name, what do you do with it? For the first time owner of a domain name, the choices can be daunting. The main reason is you may not know what is available or where to look for answers.
You’ll find plenty of answers online. But, without knowing the basics, you won’t know how to judge the good from the bad. Whatever solution is presented is going to seem like a good one, initially. Then, as you learn what options are available, you’ll kick yourself for not taking the time to familiarize yourself with those options in the beginning.
If you already have your domain name, the next stage is to figure out where you are going to host it. Newcomers mistakenly believe that just because you have a domain name automatically gives you a presence on the web. It doesn’t. You need a place to house the files that are going to be used within your website.
It’s beyond the scope of this article to go into a discussion on what kinds of files are needed. But, it is a good starting point in your research on implementing your website. You could use hosting that is available within your domain registrar company.
However, choosing a company that tries to handle too many functions can lead to problems, both in terms of support or even restrictions on use. If you are looking for hosting, choose a company who is dedicated to performing that function. Hosting has become quite cheap, and you can find a decent option for about $5 per month.
After you decide on which host to house your web files, the next stage is designing your website. There are many options here along with various costs associated with them. If you try to do this on your own, you should know there is a bit of a learning curve. There are recent tools that have made it easier for most people to develop their websites.
However, just because someone can put a page or two together, doesn’t necessarily make them a designer. Consider finding someone who is skilled in this area.
Should You Use Free Website Solutions?
When you first start out as a webmaster, you will have a wide array of choices available to you. You won’t even know what to look for in the beginning. You also won’t know what features should cost or which ones to choose. You will find plenty of free options available.
But should you choose them? There are some decent free choices if that is the route you decide to take. You want to choose the platforms that display the least amount (if any) of advertising on your website. It’s one thing to display a link that shows who developed your website (the company offering the free website).
It’s another to have a bunch of banner ads plastered all throughout each of the pages on your site. This will be a huge turnoff to your readers and may slow down your website considerably. Some solutions, such as WordPress.com and Blogger.com, present minimal advertising.
It’s easy to get started. You sign up with your account and then create a name for your blog or website. Bear in mind, the name is shared with you and the free host. In other words, if you choose the name MyWebsite, the full address for Blogger.com will be MyWebsite.BlogSpot.com.
BlogSpot is part of the Blogger.com platform. It’s similar to WordPress. Your address there would be MyWebsite.WordPress.com, etc. Another problem with the free options is that you have little control of the platform. While you can change certain aspects of the look-and-feel or add some functional components, these are limited.
Also, the free companies make the rules about what you are allowed to post on those sites. Those rules are subject to change at a moment’s notice. You could have a very popular site, and rule changes can invalidate your site. This hurts much more when that website is making a decent amount of money.
It used to be these websites would give you some search engine boosts. Many people would use these free sites to point links to their main website, i.e., the one that makes them money. It may still give you some of those boosts but overall, this methodology has become less effective since Google changed its algorithm.
Some webmasters still use the tactic. They either don’t realize it is no longer effective, or they believe that it can’t hurt. While this may be true, the role of a webmaster is to optimize the exposure.
A minute spent on a free website is one less that you can spend some other place that may actually mean something.
Be sure to check back soon for Issue 2 in this series of articles.