When you’re building your online presence, there are two steps you’ll need to take right away: claim your domain name (the URL others will use to locate your site) and set up your web domain by choosing a service that will host your site.
In this article, we’ll help you work through these two important tasks.
What is a web domain?
As we mentioned above, a web domain is a place you claim on the Internet. It’s expressed as a URL, often with the format www.<<yourbusiness>>.com. However, it’s become common for businesses to claim other extensions, such as .info, .org, .net, and .co, because it’s difficult to find URLs with a .com address that other businesses haven’t already claimed.
What should I choose for my URL?
If it’s possible, try to claim a URL with your business name and the .com extension. This URL format usually gives people browsing search results the most confidence in your site and its authenticity.
If your preferred URL isn’t available, don’t despair. Few people trying to access a business’s site type a URL in manually, so the odds of losing your audience to a business already claiming that address are low. Instead, most type the name of the business they’re searching for in a search engine and select their desired result.
With this information, you can feel confident choosing any extension that works for your business.
With the naming piece of your domain, you’ll want to choose with care. It’s important to get the URL name as close to the name of your business as possible. If this isn’t possible, choose a name that assures viewers that they’re reaching their intended site.
Here’s what we mean:
Let’s say the name of your business is Smith Lawncare. With a quick web search, you can see that smith.com is taken, as is smithlawn.com, smithlawns.com, and smithlawncare.com. Your next move might be to integrate your town’s name with smithlawncarekalamazoo.com or smithkalamazoo.com. You could also try variations such as yoursmithlawncare.com, smithmylawn.com, or greenerwithsmith.com to ensure your domain is recognizable and connected to your business.
How do I know if a URL has already been claimed?
The best way to do this is to use a domain search service like this one from Siteground. You can enter any URL you hope to claim, and the service will let you know whether the site is available for purchase.
How much should I pay for the URL?
Many owners ask this question, and there isn’t a simple answer. You’ll need to decide what a URL will mean to your brand and compare it to the cost of others that are available. In most cases, URLs available for less than $500 should be purchased without hesitation (but not with negotiation!), but URLs costing more will require more careful deliberation.
Where should I host my website?
There are lots of options for web hosting. Below, we list three of our favorites:
Bluehost is one of the world’s most popular hosting services. This service powers more than 2 million websites that rely upon it to optimize their speed, performance, and design.
Many small business owners start with Bluehost and stay for the long term because of the solution’s 24/7 support, affordable packages, unrivaled security, and winning web tools. Bluehost's online resources make it a best-in-class solution for people looking to start up their sites, migrate from other services, and access a variety of themes and plugins to boost their site’s style and function.
Bluehost offers three categories of hosting: shared (a great option for businesses needing a very small web presence), virtual private server (a pick that gives far more flexibility and control), and dedicated (a must-have for high-traffic sites). Shared plans start at around $3/month, virtual private server plans at around $20/month, and dedicated plans at around $80/month (all with a 36-month term). You can choose from multiple options within these categories to suit the needs of your business.
Learn more about Bluehost’s hosting plans at bluehost.com.
Siteground is an excellent choice for web hosting that offers many of the same features, but works even better for high traffic, complex websites.
This service makes it easy to design professional websites, migrate existing sites, and manage them over time with their unbeatable storage, up-to-the-minute security, and ultra-fast network. And, like Bluehost, Siteground offers 24/7 support from a team recognized for its customer satisfaction.
If Siteground is the right choice for your business, you can choose from one of four hosting options: web, WordPress, WooCommerce, and cloud. The service offers Startup packages starting at around $4/month, but you might opt for a more robust package if you need more webspace or expect a high volume of traffic to your site each month.
Visit Siteground.com to live chat with a sales representative and select the package that works best for your business.
With starting prices far lower than its competitors, Ionos is an excellent, budget-friendly option.
This robust hosting service is committed to reliability, security, and ease of use. As with the other options we mentioned, Ionos offers round-the-clock support and live chat to help users compare hosting options, get started on their sites, and take on challenges the moment they occur.
With Ionos, you can choose between two hosting options: web hosting that provides access to a fraction of a server and dedicated hosting that provides your business with an entire server to maximize site performance. Web hosting plans start at $6-10/month, and dedicated plans start at around $40/month.
Learn more about Ionos at Ionos.com.
|Some sites require a term commitment, but it’s easy to transfer to a new domain host if a provider doesn’t meet your needs. Visit your preferred domain host to learn about the steps you’ll need to take.|
After you set up your web domain, one of the next steps you’ll take is designing your website. In our article, How to Design Your Website to Amplify Your Brand, we’ll walk you through some of the most essential steps.
Then, log into your owner’s portal for more articles and a free step-by-step guide that can help you work through branding, marketing, and positioning your business growth.