Having a gorgeous website that you love, can update and maintain is wonderful but the website domain and hosting company are your first considerations.
It is paramount the basic roots are strong.
Making a wise choice for your website domain and hosting will have a HUGE impact on the site security, speed, searchability as well as your mental health. I know this can be a dull topic so I will get straight to the point.
A website host stores your website data. It is a big computer where your website lives. Choosing the right website hosting environment for your business is very important because having problems with your host can cost you a lot of business.
When choosing a suitable host consider: customer service, uptime, scalability, speed, security and host location.
Good customer service is the single most important decision in my opinion. This means, asking do they offer phone, email or instant chat support and which format that suits you? Good customer support will make a big impact on your life when things (inevitably) go wrong. Personally I find live chat is really effective and the least time consuming option.
UPTIME, SCALABILITY, SPEED
Uptime means how often your host might crash and therefore not be able to load your website. A lot of downtime will impact on your Search Engine Optimisation.
Scalability relates to how your bandwidth handles an increase in traffic – really important for e-commerce sites that have sale times.
Server speed will have an impact on whether your customers hang around while your site loads. A slow server speed is not desirable, people dislike waiting and you may loose them before they have even made an enquiry.
Security is another consideration even though we install security software on your site it is really important your host has good security too. Also, with regards to security you need an SSL Certificate. This is a certificate of security that Google wants all sites to have. It changes the url from a http to https. I suggest you ensure that is part of your hosting package and if it is not included, then purchase it. No matter what type of site or business you have a safe site is important for your SEO.
Before selecting your hosting company it is wise to find out where the severs are. Although a less important issue, Google prefers a local host so perhaps don’t host with a company in Norway if you are an Australian business, best to stick with a host in the Asia pacific region.
Ok so what type of host do you need? There are four main types:
1. Shared Server: you share the server and IP address with other websites (usually a cheap option but if other sites on the same server and have problems, you may too)
2. Private Server: you lease a separate virtual server but you share the IP address (more independent but you still have same potential issues with a shared IP address)
3. Dedicated Server: you lease the entire server, have full control and more bandwidth (totally private but expensive)
4. Managed Hosting: a company will look after your site uptime, security, backups (stress free but can be expensive)
For safe hosting and great support we recommend Siteground. You will also find they have great uptime and frequently offer 50% off deals.
Domain Do’s & Do Not’s
Choosing a domain name is a crucial decision and can have BIG impact on your Search Engine Optimisation. This name (or url) will be how people find your website. It will effect your ‘click through rate’, influence backlinks and brand awareness. A poor domain name is likely to effect your SEO rankings. A good domain name will help your business immeasurably.
A really great domain name will be intuitive. “What’s that?” I hear you say. Well, this means it needs to be easy to say, memorable and unique. Consider the target audience and how they will perceive it. To help you generate ideas try Bust A Name.
Consider which extension you want: .com, .com.au, .org, .net. Always buy the .com and the one related to your country – in Australia it’s ‘.com.au’ so nobody else can secure your domain or confuse (redirect) your potential clients to their site. Research social media and extension availability in one go at Name Checkr. You can purchase your domain from Siteground when you get your hosting. Other sites we recommend are Name Cheap or Net Registery.
Also, BEFORE you register a domain name you should check if your ‘chosen one’ has been blacklisted. If it was blacklisted in the past you will inherit the problems associated with it. This is really easy. Pop it into the MX Toolbox. Be sure to change the orange button to ‘blacklist check’ and see if you have a clean bill of health.
Don’t use hyphens, numbers, abbreviations, acronyms or adjectives – people DON’T REMEMBER these things. Make sure it matches the name of your business. Ideally the name you choose will be short. To improve your SEO choose a unique name – don’t copy your competitor. Does it make sense and is it clear – general domain names will not help. Choose something that is specific to your business, for example ‘gourmetfood.com’ is not specific to you – each word is generic. Likewise location based domain names, like: ‘brisbanenorthsidemarketing.com.au’ are not going to help your SEO. This is an out dated and over saturated technique that no longer works.
Finally, your website domain and hosting need to perform for your business for a VERY long time, decades. Don’t make this decision lightly. Changing your domain name in future you may encounter lots of issues, including a dramatic drop in SEO rankings. Changing your domain name means your internet business footprint is wiped and it will take a lot of effort and time to climb the SEO ladder again.
Do yourself a favour and sleep knowing your website is protected from robots accessing and holding it to ransom. It is a fact of life that websites occasionally can get hacked so we like to install Wordfence for top security. This is a great program that works seamlessly with WordPress and will give you piece of mind. Each website only needs1 key API key, just choose how many years do you want to purchase for. This is the link for their pricing options.
Give yourself an early Christmas present and choose your website roots wisely. Having confidence in strong website domain and hosting plus some extra security will be well worth your time and money.
For more information about choosing a name you may want to read ‘What’s In A Brand Name?’.