The second thing to do after planning your online business is to choose a domain name. After that, you need to decide who is going to host your website. Choosing a domain name for your website is critical for the success of your online business. Karol K. writing in Winning WP concurs: “Choosing a domain name is something every website owner needs to ensure they get right — ideally before they do anything else, and ESPECIALLY if the website will be serving a commercial purpose.”
Also important is to get a reliable company to host your website. “It’s crucial to select a hosting provider carefully since your business will depend on it” advised Syed Balkhi in the Huffington Post.
But let us first discuss how to choose a domain name for your business.
How to choose a domain name
It is mostly great fun to search for a domain name. I do it as follow:
- I go to a domain name search facility e.g. GoDaddy.com;
- Then I type my first choice domain name to see if it is available;
- If the name is already taken, then I try my second choice, and so on;
- Once I’ve it the ‘jackpot’ (a domain name that is available), I’ll quickly register and pay for it.
However, there are more structured ways to choose a domain name. Brainstorming is a good way to generate a list of potential domain names. Still, many of us battle to get a name to start with.
If you battle get a domain name to start with, have a look at your mission and vision statements that you’d designed in the planning stage of your online business. For example, if your vision statement is: “We want everybody to wear our garments”; then www.garmentsforall.com may be an appropriate domain name. Or if your business’s name is “The Coffee Shop” the www.thecoffeshop.com is an easy choice.
However, since most of the generic .com domain names are already taken, you need to be more creative. Then it may be a good idea is to choose an unusual, but catchy domain name like www.zop.com.
There are several things to consider when you want to choose a domain name for your business:
- The size of your domain name. A short domain name is better because users can remember it easier. They are unlikely to misspell your domain name while searching for your business online. The domain name for this website is “ebizplan” which I think is easy to remember and relatively easy to spell.
- Consider a domain name that resembles your business. Ideally, customers will be able to guess a domain name from the firm’s name. If this isn’t possible, then find a functional name; a unique name (Yahoo!); or one that expresses an emotion or attitude associated with the brand, person, or mission 1.
- Choose a unique name. If you choose a domain name that is too similar than existing domains, you’ll start your business on the back foot. First do a Google search of the domain name you’ve got in mind. You’ll quickly see how many domains have similar names and also if they do similar business than you planned to do.
- Choose “.com” first. Dot com (.com) websites are by far the most popular domain extension on the web. “If your number one name choice isn’t available, then try your second choice before accepting other top level domains. Remember that some browsers accept address-only entries in their address bar. If you type just the domain name (and who knows how many of your users will just do that?) they will return, by default, to the ‘.com’ site”, suggest Ogi Djuraskovic and FirstSiteGuide team.
Deciding which company will host your website is the next step after you’ve acquired your domain name.
Choosing a hosting company for your website
Your website needs to reside on a hosting computer somewhere. Because when you buy website hosting you basically rent server space on a server where your web files will be placed. So whenever somebody will look up for your website by entering your domain, he or she will get directed to your website.
Therefore, it’s crucial to choose a reliable web hosting company to ensure that your website remains safe and accessible all year round. Also, a web hosting company makes it possible for your website to be accessed by everyone on the web.
Syed Balkhi writing for Huffington Post gives the following advice when choosing a web hosting company:
- Understand the different hosting options available – there are various web hosting options available such as Shared, VPS (Virtual Private Server), Dedicated and Managed Web hosting;
- Excellent customer support is a must – the internet never sleeps. So, look for a provider that offers excellent customer support;
- Choose a host with an excellent uptime track record – the hosting provider you choose should take every precaution to ensure maximum uptime;
- Cost should not be your only consideration – as the saying goes, “you get what you pay for.” As a business, you cannot afford to experience extended downtime;
- Ability to scale – as your business grows, your website will tend to generate more traffic. For that reason will the ability to scale be increasingly important.
- Good reputation is essential – once you have narrowed the list of important features you require, the next step is to find a host with a top-notch reputation.
Now that you’ve a registered domain, and hired a capable web hosting company, you may start thinking of choosing your eCommerce package.
Congratulations! You are now one of at least 330 million registered domains owners on the internet. I’m afraid so say, the easy part is over. From now on it will be guts before glory.
The third step to take when starting an online business is to choose your eCommerce package…
Remember, you need a well researched and written Business Plan to get your business off to a good start!
1 Thomas, L. 2011. The McGraw-Hill 36-hour course: online marketing, McGraw-Hill Education.