by Renee Kennedy
In order to appear professional, it is important to have your own domain name and a site which supports that name. A domain name will also help you to get into Search Engines and Directories
When considering a domain name, think about how easy it will be for people to remember it. Using a hyphen or dash between words could become confusing. It might benefit you more to leave out the dashes and hyphens. For instance, if you find yourself telling people your web address over the phone, you may not want to use the dash or hyphen. It would be easier to tell people www.webdesign.com rather than www.web-design.com.
For example, when we chose our domain name, thewritemarket.com, we decided to leave out dashes for ease of explanation. Still, this domain name is too long. People new to the internet are confused by our domain name. If you can – keep it short and to the point.
Also, many important domain names have already been taken. Even if you are considering a new web site, it’s important to register your domain name right away.
You can register a domain name through Internic for a $9 registration fee for the first year.
The most important things to look for in a host:
- a cgi bin
- daily backups
- server side includes (SSI) – you may not need it now – but if you want to get fancy – you will need it later
- 24 hour access to your site
- enough space – depends on your needs – 100 Mb is A LOT of space – you probably don’t need that much
- UNIX server (my personal preference because most free scripts are written for UNIX)
- bandwidth – if you think you will have a lot of hits on your site – get unlimited bandwidth
- email accounts – you want emails like this: firstname.lastname@example.org
- personal SMTP mail server
- mail lists (if you plan on starting a newsletter)
- statistics – preferably graphical
- SUPPORT!! a number that you can call – also email addresses
- price under $20 per month
- online manual
One of the most important things to look for – especially if you’re new to the internet – is a rapid responding support email address. Check them out – ask them questions – before you choose.
The second most important thing you will need is an “online manual”. That is a manual on how to use your new site – how to set up email addresses, server side includes, autoresponders, etc.
If you are just starting out on the internet, it may be prudent to start small until you get a feel for what’s involved. By “starting small” I mean finding a free host. There are many out there. Or try a host like these:
Virtual domain hosting on full featured servers for $3.99 per month. Enough space for up to 25 pages (40k per), cgi, ssl capable, server side includes, stats, logs, front page, Unix or NT or ASP, Cold Fusion, shockwave, unlimited mail forwarding and 5 aliases. Check it out at wwwgodaddy.com/hosting
When you’re ready to move up, try out Godaddy Business Hosting. The Write Market is hosted by Optimal for $14.99 a month! We like them, they offer a complete line of services!
Or try InterServer. They are a small hosting company, very easy to get a hold of by phone. We use them for a few of our sites. We are more than satisfied with their services.