Saturday, April 15, 2017

Your Website Infrastructure: Domains, Hosting, and Platform

Before you can begin building your website, you need to make some important decisions regarding where your site will live, how you’ll manage it, and what your site address will be.  

Choosing a Good Domain

Your domain name is your URL – it’s what you’ll tell people when they ask “What’s your website.” It’s a decision you’ll likely have to live with for a long time, so it pays to put some thought into it and not buy the first one that comes to mind.

These days, finding an available domain name can be a frustrating task that often leads new website owners to choose less-than-ideal URLs. You can save yourself a lot of trouble by following a few established “rules”:

  • Always choose .com – You might be tempted to use .net or .org if your preferred domain is taken, but please do not do that. You will lose traffic to the holder of the .com when your potential clients fail to remember that your site is .net.
  • Avoid ambiguous spelling, repeated letters, and numbers – Using might seem fun, but imagine having to explain how it’s spelled every time you tell someone what your domain name is.
  • Avoid hyphens – For the same reason as stated above. Imagine yourself on a podcast and having to say “www dot quality dash transcription dash services dot com.” It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue.

Always give your potential domain the talk test – say it out loud – and then ask a few friends to look at it. You might just be surprised at what they’ll see that you didn’t expect.

Choosing a Good Hosting Provider

In order to have the most flexibility with your new site, it’s important that your hosting provider:

  • Is NOT the same as your domain registrar – Hosting and registering with the same company gives them far too much control over your business assets.
  • Has cPanel access – While not critical, it is much easier to find someone to help you with any technical problems you might have if your host uses this familiar format.
  • Has a great reputation – Two of the best are Hostgator and Bluehost. They’re inexpensive and well-known, and both offer excellent customer service.
  • Is NOT free – Blogger, Weebly, and other free sites might be attractive from a monetary standpoint, but they won’t convey the professional image you want.

Choosing Your Website Platform

Finally, before you can build your site, you’ll need to decide what will power it. You have a lot of choices here, from HTML you build yourself using Dreamweaver or a similar program to proprietary software offered by your hosting account. All have their good and bad points, but for most new website owners, the absolute best choice is SoloBuildIt.

It’s simple to use, offers nearly endless customization options, and with a huge community of users and developers available, it’s super easy to get help if you need it. You can customize your site with one of thousands of themes so it looks exactly the way you want it to look, and you’ll never have to dig into the code to make changes – unless you want to, that is.  And they do provide hosting as well as domain registration (the only exception to rule #1 above in my opinion) plus all the analytics you could want.

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