Here’s where it all begins.
Setting up your website begins with a domain name and a hosting account. This can be a little confusing for some people, so I like to compare these to owning a mailbox, and a piece of property. Follow along as I explain the analogy more completely.
What’s a Domain Name?
Your domain name is your mailbox and you own it (or you should!) and you can take it with you wherever you go in the future. If you decide you don’t like the property (your hosting account) you can just take your mailbox and put it down in front of a new piece of land of your choice. Regardless of where you put it, the post office will actually find you and send your mail there. (No cracks about the post office. This is purely hypothetical.)
What’s a Hosting Account?
If your URL, or Domain Name, is your mailbox, then the property behind the mailbox is your hosting account. Your hosting account is what “holds” your actual website. All the words, images, code, videos, instructions, forms… everything. This is the memory behind your address.
It is important that you get the proper kind of hosting account for whatever it is you plan on doing with your website, much like buying the right sized house with enough rooms for all your family and hobbies. It’s also important that your property has the proper security system installed to make sure you don’t wake up one morning to find your house has been repainted and all your visitors are being sent to the website of a deposed prince in Nigeria.
Don’t laugh too hard. It can happen if you’re not careful and follow proper security steps for your website.
Let’s get started
Below we will begin to help you by explaining the different uses for each of the kinds of hosting accounts, and how they can be purchased.
NOTE: Try to do as many of these steps as you can from this page. It will help you with understanding the ins and outs of setting up your website if we are all working from the same platform. But if you’ve already got your domain and hosting from a place like Godaddy, then many of these instructions will transfer over pretty easily.
The first thing you need to do is get your domain name. You can do this by going here and searching for your dream name. If that’s not available, then maybe get something a little different, but still pretty cool.
You can search to your heart’s content, trying all different names and combinations. So although “TomsBiscuits.com” might be gone, perhaps “BiscuitsbyTom.com” is still available. TIP: Use the shopping cart to store the ones you like, then delete the ones you don’t want when you’ve compared them all.
I do suggest, however, that you keep the following rules of thumb in mind:
A. Do your best to get a .COM domain name. Too many scammers use the other suffixes, like .AI or .US to trick people into thinking they are visiting the REAL website, and people are leery of those suffixes as a result.
B. Avoid misspelled words, as you will simply end up sending people to another site that has the word spelled right. That means using “LovingBaskits.COM” will only end up sending your hard-earned prospects to “LovingBaskets.COM”, as they will be far less mindful of the spelling than you are, unless you actually make selling “Kits” a HUGE part of your marketing message. (DISCLAIMER: I just made up that name. I have no idea who they are or if they even exist.)
(DISCLAIMER #2: If you’ve already incorporated under a misspelled word, then OWN IT. Make it a huge part of your branding so people learn and think about your spelling before they remember the real word. If you didn’t really have a reason for the misspelling, other than the name you wanted was already incorporated by another defunct entity and was unavailable, then make one up. Create some catchy reason for the change in spelling. It’s your company. You can do whatever you want with it.)
C. For the same reason as “B”, avoid using a hyphen, or dash, in your domain name. People NEVER remember to put them in, and they look a bit amateurish. And once again, you’ve sent people to the wrong website. Ooof!
D. Please don’t put “inc” at the end of your domain name. Not only will it NEVER be remembered by your customers, but in all honesty, it can make you look like your business’s crowning achievement was becoming a real corporation… so much so that you decided to immortalize it in your domain name. It is better to have a URL that explains the product you offer than it is to have one that matches your state tax collector’s legal entity filing, don’t you think?
Here’s a takeaway tip: Long website names aren’t really a problem any more. Don’t be afraid to be accurate. Most short names are gone, and with good marketing, very few people will ever need to type in your URL anyway. CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR DOMAIN NAME.
The next thing you’ll need is your hosting account. For most people, we suggest getting the WordPress Deluxe plan, unless you plan on having a lot of content, then go for Ultimate. If you think you’re going to need more heavy duty access to the back end of your hosting account, which is especially handy for building multiple websites, use the C-Panel Deluxe Plan.
Once you have those two things in place, we can then move on to the next step in creating your new website. We’ve got some materials set up for you to follow as a guideline. We also offer a really cool membership in a group that cooperates and shares tons of up to date information on the latest tech, trends, and customization tricks for your website. Click here to have a look!