Buying a Domain and Hosting Your Site for Cheap - Getting Started on the Web
There are plenty of good reasons why you might want to buy a domain name and begin hosting a website on it. Perhaps you're starting a business and you want to get set up correctly with a solid web presence to drive sales and increase your visibility. Maybe you've already had your business up and running for a while now but you realize it's time to make the crossover to cyberspace. Perhaps you and your family just want a private domain name and website where you can host your family photo albums so distant relatives and friends can keep abreast of what's going on in your lives. Whatever your reasons might be for wanting to buy a domain name and host a website on it, the good news is that domain registry and website hosting are now more simple and streamlined than ever before.
Step 1 - Choosing and Registering a Good Domain Name for Cheap
The first thing you'll want to do on your quest to buy a good domain name and start hosting a site on it is to decide what general terms you need or want your domain to include. Far from simply being a matter of preference or linguistic aesthetics, choosing a clean domain name well suited to your purpose is essential to your website performing well in search results and therefore being visible to the searching internet public. While this is obviously less important for a private family web album, the importance of choosing a good domain name cannot be overstated in terms of online business and getting results. The best rule of thumb is to get your main keywords in your domain name, if at all possible. If you own a company that is selling zebra food, for example, and your website is going to have a healthy dose of zebra food and related keywords repeated throughout its content, you'll definitely want to go for a domain name that has zebra food in it as cleanly as possible.
When I say cleanly, I mean that you want to avoid any alterations on this central keyword phrase, if you can. Oftentimes, your keywords may not be available in domain names still up for grabs. That's just the nature of the game and you can't always expect to find open and perfect domain names waiting around for your company to snatch up. If someone else already beat you to the domain registering punch, you can do your best to work around domains that are already taken which use your keywords. For example, if your competitors have already bought up zebrafood.com and have hosted their website on it, you can try to register bestzebrafood.com. You could even opt for zebrafood.net. The point is that you need to be as flexible as you can when trying to get your main keywords into the domain name you are trying to register.
How to Register a Domain Name
How do you even go about registering a domain name, you ask? There are a number of established companies that offer the domain registering service. Among the popular choices are godaddy, bluehost.com, 1and1.com and namecheap.com. Depending on the company and domain registrar that you choose, the price of buying a new domain will vary. Usually, you buy a domain for at least a year, and you can opt into a subscription plan at the time you do this. Many domain registrars will offer you a discount for buying more time up-front. For all intents and purposes, if this is your first time around trying to buy a domain name to host your website on, you can get away with one year. This will give you plenty of time to build and host a website on your domain and to see if having it is even worth the effort and expense. Should you find out 4 months in that your domain name is absolute garbage and can't be found by any of your prospective customers, or if you get out of the business you're going to host a website for, then at least you've only paid for one year and not 3.
When you visit one of these domain registrars, you will find a prominent search bar on their site which invites you to check for available domains. Pop in the domain you want, and press enter. In a second or two you'll get a response as to whether or not your preferred domain is available exactly as you queried it. If it's not, you'll usually get some suggestions as to which similar domains ARE in fact open. Pay close attention to these suggestions before you get click-happy and start buying them. Most of the time the suggestions are solid, like when they opt to insert "best" or "my" in front of your main keyword phrase. Sometimes, they're less successful. Your main directive should be to try to get your main keywords in order and without anything in between them.
How to Host a Website on Your New Domain
Once you've registered your domain name, the next order of the day is to select a web hosting company and begin service with them. Think of your new domain as the address of your new website, it's like a set of numbers painted on the curb of your new home - it tells everyone on the web where your information or company presence is located and allows people to pass along your site to one another, just as you could give your co-workers directions to your friend Bob's party.
Hosting is like the foundation of your new home. If you don't have a solid and reliable foundation, you can't build anything. It's impossible to have your home on a non-existent foundation and, likewise, if you try to put your website out there without something to stand on, it simply won't be seen or function properly. While some advanced users are able to host their own sites and data via servers they configure on their own and run from home, web hosting companies take all the difficulty, guesswork and stress out of the equation and perform a lot of advanced services behind the scenes for you. It's really an unbeatable offer once you consider that many web hosting companies, like bluehost.com for example, charge you only $6.95 per month for web hosting that includes special features like unlimited domain hosting. Unlimited domain hosting means you can run as many websites off your one bluehost account so long as you already own the domains for them. This comes in extremely handy for anyone trying to make their start as a web developer or for businesses that are going to need more than one site to complete their web presence.
To put this kind of offer in perspective, many other web hosting companies DO NOT offer unlimited domain hosting on one account. This means that every time you want to put a website on one of your domains, you're going to be paying the full amount for a one year minimum hosting service.