If you’re considering getting your first website, you’ll need to start with two things: a domain name, and web hosting. This is a brief guide to what both mean, and to helping you make the right decisions when choosing them.
A domain name is basically what you see in the address bar at the top of your internet browser, your ‘www.yourname.co.uk’ or .com or .net or whatever you choose. Not only is choosing the domain name quite fun, but it’s also an important part of creating a successful website.
Your domain name doesn’t have to be the name of your company. It can describe what you do instead, and it’s good practice for search engine success to include a popular keyword and the area you cover if you operate locally. So you might choose plumberlondon.co.uk if you’re a plumber in London, for example.
It should also be memorable – so that your customers will remember where to find you. Make it easy to spell too so people don’t make mistakes typing it in and can’t find you as a result. And big tip: make sure it doesn’t work out to say something that sounds silly or offensive. There are loads of funny examples all over the internet, type ‘funny urls’ into Google and you’ll come across loads. We’ll keep it decent on here and quote the website for Lake Tahoe which the tour operator would like to urge visitors to ‘go to’ – www.gotahoe.com. Got a gardening implement anyone?
Web hosting is what makes your website available to view by the world. Without hosting, your site will be offline. It’s done via a ‘server’ which is a computer that’s connected to the internet 24/7. This can be dedicated or shared, depending on specific requirements.
There are all kinds of different web hosting packages, and you’ll need to think about various things when choosing it – or leave it to your website designer to make sure you’ve got the right package. What you’ll need depends on whether you’ve got forms, forums, secure access e.g. account login, the number of visitors you get, whether you’ve got large files for download such as videos, etc.
Hopefully you are now clued up on domains and hosting. Now it’s design time!