** Affiliate links incoming! I do earn a bit of money if you choose to purchase through these links. However, it in no way impacts my opinions and I am a current satisfied customer (and have been for years).
You finally took the plunge and are starting your own website for your business! Or maybe you are a blogger finally ready to take the jump to self-hosted. You found the perfect designer or maybe it’s the perfect theme. Now you are good to go, right?
Before your website can hit the world-wide web you need 2 very important things. All too often I encounter bloggers and business owners a like who are ready to take this jump without the very things that make their sites work. Before you run off to your designer, make sure you have the two most important things your website will need to work: a domain name and web hosting.
Must have #1: A Domain Name.
A domain name is what people type when they go visit your site. My domain is kararajchelblogdesign.com. Yours can be anything you want, but there are somethings you should keep in mind when selecting a domain name:
- Trademarks – don’t take a domain name that infringes on anyone’s existing trademark or you could find yourself in legal troubles later
- Long domain names – don’t make it harder than necessary for people to visit your site! Long domains can be hard to remember.
- Poor word choices. Sometimes, combinations of perfectly acceptable words can come together to create meanings you might not intend a plural + exchange comes to mind…
- Hard to understand – Imagine you are telling someone over the phone your url, do you have to spell it out? Is there room for confusion?
- Relevant to what you do – usually this means your name, or your business/brand/blog name, or even an acronym for your organization
Ready to find a domain? See if it’s available right here:
I have a domain so I’m good to go right?
Must have #2: A Web Host
A domain name tells visitors and browsers where to go to find your site. However, you need some place to put those files. You need a host. This is where it can get confusing, your host may or may not be the same as your domain name provider. Often, hosts will provide a free domain name with hosting packages to new customers or offer their own domain name registration. However, you can certainly purchase them separately. Whatever you do, you need both a host and a domain name. An address, and a piece of land to on which to build your new home, in this case, your website.
Where do I get a domain and a host?
I recommend Blue Host for most people’s needs. They offer affordable and reliable web hosting and domain name services. I have been with them for years, for as long as I’ve had this website! They also have great, US-based, customer service representatives to help you when you run into trouble. For most sites shared hosting will be the way to go, however if you are interested in eCommerce you will want an SSL certificate as well (to keep your customer’s information secure). The also offer more powerful solutions and specialized WordPress hosting services. There’s something for everyone, every need, and every budget.