In order to have an operating website, you need to have two specific things: a domain name and web hosting. These are actually two separate and distinct things and both are essential to having a website for your small business.
What Is a Domain Name?
A common way to describe aspects of a website is to compare it to a house. The domain name is the actual address of your website, just like your address is the location of your home. It’s what is typed into the URL bar that will take you directly to the website, like www.amazon.com or www.nytimes.com. Every website has it’s own unique domain name, and it’s generally the first step toward starting your own website.
In order to make it valid and setup your site, you have to register your domain through a registrar. GoDaddy and BlueHost are common options, though we are partial to TheeRegister.com because it’s easy to search and register your domain name at an affordable cost and don’t have to worry about being upsold additional services.
It’s important to note that buying a domain name only guarantees that name is yours for as long as you pay for that service. So it’s best to purchase one for multiple years, or be sure to renew annually. Otherwise, someone else could buy it out from under you!
Choosing a Domain Name
Generally, you have two solid options for choosing your domain name:
- Your business name, like Smith Heating and Air would become www.smithheatingandair.com;
- A keyword rich name that reflects your business, like IndianapolisACRepair.com
If you type in your business name into the domain search bar to see if it’s available, it may be taken. If that’s the case, don’t panic! If SmithHeatingAndAir.com is taken, you can try .net as an alternative or put your city name like SmithHeatingAndAirIndy.com.
You could select .biz or .pro for your website, but we don’t recommend them because they are uncommon and typically not associated with professional businesses. This could reflect poorly on your brand and turn away customers, which is the last thing you want!
Most domain names cost between $15 and $20 to register, though there are times it will be much higher, such as if a website with that same domain name was recently in use. That could raise the price up to $2,000 or more! Unless you really, really need that name or it’s really lucrative, such as SanDiegoLaw.com, there’s no need to pay that much.
What Is Web Hosting?
Remember the house comparison? If the domain is like a house’s address, the web hosting is the house itself. It’s where all your files for your website pages, like your content, pictures, and videos, are stored and accessible to anyone who types in the domain name.
A web hosting service provides the storage space and connectivity and often provide maintenance and disaster recovery to keep your website accessible, live, and backed up at all times.
As part of our web design and digital marketing packages, WP.digital includes web hosting services so our clients can enjoy the convenience and confidence that comes from knowing they have a professional website that’s regularly updated with the latest marketing, and also has the maintenance, security, and updates needed to stay up and running!
Contact Us for Site Hosting, Web Design, and Digital Marketing
At WP.digital, we know that running a small business takes up much of your time and energy as you strive to achieve success. That’s why we’re committed to helping you increase your sales and visibility in a way you can afford by offering convenient monthly packages that include attractive, easy-to-use WordPress websites, ongoing digital marketing, web hosting, and so much more! Fill out our contact form to get started today!