Domains and Hosting

In this section, we’ll talk about finding a good domain and getting it registered. Once we’re registered you’ll need some place for your websites files to sit, so we’ll discuss hosting. Some of this is pretty basic, so you more experienced guys can blast past it if you like. Finishing up, we’ll get WordPress onto our new site and we’ll be ready to start building…

How it all goes together…

1. You pick out a name for your site – this is your Domain name.

2. You register that domain name with a registrar.

3. You host your site with a hosting company. This company stores your site’s information on its servers.

4. Someone types your domain name into their browser’s address bar and their ISP (Internet Service Provider) processes the request. Your site’s info is served to their browser.

Bear in mind that computers can’t read domain names, really. They only process numbers. Your hosting company will give you DNS numbers. You then log back into your Registrar account and enter those numbers. Now your domain name is connected to your hosting account, and people can find your site.

Picking out your domain name is serious business. The right one can go a long way towards making your site successful. As explained in the section on Business Structure, it is usually not a good idea to use your company name. Aside from that, there are different schools of thought on what makes a good domain name.

General Domain Name Criteria

 Keep it as short as you can. Long domain names are harder to remember, and there is more of a chance for typing mistakes and misspellings.

 Don’t get fancy. No intentional misspellings or slang. AwesomeWOWcodez.com is vastly inferior to WOWcodeStore.com because no one is going to remember that z on the end.

 Stick with a .com domain name. I know some of you have .net, and .org domains that do fine. So do I. But right now .com is the accepted form. It’s what people expect to see and type in their browser.

 Register your domain for more than one year. Spammers use short registration periods because they know their domains will get de-indexed at some point.

 Don’t put numbers in your domain name unless you have to, and if you do spell them out. And don’t be cute. Maybe you think people will remember Flowers2die4.com but trust me, they won’t.

Exact Match Domain Names (EMD)

In this technique, you name your site after the keyword you most want to rank for in the search engines, or after your main product. For instance tablesaws.com would be an EMD. The idea is that a keyword that describes your site and gets a lot of searches is a good thing, for a number of reasons.

Google will bold the search terms in the results – so if someone searched for table saws your listing could look like this:

Table Saws
THE source for Table Saw sales and information.
Call now 800-987-3333 for the latest deals.http://tablesaws.com

The bold text will help your listing stand out. The second advantage is that an EMD will help you to rank well in the search engines for that keyword.

Conventional wisdom in the SEO world is that this is not the advantage that it used to be, and may no longer be a good idea.

It is highly unlikely that tablesaws.com would be available in any case, and you would most likely settle for something like BestTableSaws.com. A little research here will go a long way. If you still want to use an EMD, try to have your domain meet these criteria for a product site:

 Has a relatively popular keyword related to your market or product in it like HospitalSupplies.com or PortableOperatingTables.com

 The more searches the keyword gets per day the better.

 Don’t use a brand name. You could end up with a really successful site only to be told you need to change your domain by the trademark holder. Forget registering BestNikeFootwear.com

Unique and Unusual

You could use a domain name that has nothing to do with your product, and even nothing to do with anything at all. Successful examples are everywhere. Amazon.com and Zappos.com come immediately to mind.

While this can work it might be more difficult to rank a domain that has no keywords in it at all related to your product, and it will be harder for your visitors to remember as well.

On Topic Domain Names

These are my favorite. You pick a domain name that while not an EMD does either have a keyword in it, or at least is a name that tells people what your site is about.

  • TeachersMarketplace.com
  • HeirloomTomatoGuru.com
  • WoodworkersParadise.com
  • SushiCentral.com
I have no idea if these are real sites

OK, maybe no one searches for Heirloom Tomato Guru. But they do search for heirloom tomato, and that site name immediately gives you an idea what the site might have. I would expect growing tips, an index of types, lots of nice photos and maybe even seeds for sale.

Domain Name Research

Domain name generators

Just type domain name generator in Google to get a list. I kind of like this one, because it is easy and fast: http://impossibility.org/

Google Keyword Tool

Put the name of your product or market (i.e. lawn mower or lawn care) into the Google Keyword Tool. Leave it set on broad. Export all results to an excel file, open it up, sort alphabetically on keyword and have a look.

The advantage to this method is that you are looking at potential domain names that someone is actually searching for.

Good keyword tool domain research
using kw tool
kwt downlaods
domain names

This is the end of the free content from this chapter. If you like what you see, and want more, take a look at what's included in the full Grabapple guide to E-Commerce...