cPanel and an Email for your Domain Name

Domain Name recap of Progress
O.K., for those who are still with me I want to simply summarise where you should be now and where this post may or could take you.

You should by this stage have selected a Domain Name, have the Domain Name hosted, and have WordPress or other platform building software installed on you Domain Name.  You may even have installed a few “plugins” if you are using WordPress.  Remember we are operating on a “shoestring budget” so the vast majority of tips to date are based on the need to minimise cost and provide a suitable final result.   Quite properly your main focus to date will have been “to get something up and working” and “build confidence” that you can actually do this.  If you are still struggling with the “how to” keep at it until you succeed.  DO NOT progress beyond this stage.  Remember, “Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.”

Domain Names - Inspiration

If you have achieved all the previously mentioned “goals” then I am going to provide you with a few other simple tasks it is possible to do using your cPanel.  As stated in a previous post I am not a cPanel expert but there is any amount of “Expert Free Advice” available on the Web and YouTube for technical aspects of the cPanel.

 

cPanel “aide-memoire”
I am not trying to be smart or cheeky.  However, there is so much to learn in Information Technology and there is so much information. You will likely be bombarded with over hyped offers thrown at you (they call this “Internet Marketing”).  You may begin to wonder what is a cPanel?  I have been there, so I know what happens when something is used as a “one off” to get things “up and going“.

cPanel Reminder

So, just to remind you “cPanel is a web based hosting control panel provided by many hosting providers to website owners allowing them to manage their websites from a web based interface.”  You will need your User Name and Password to access your cPanel.

 

cPanel for setting up Domain Name Email address
Do you think it would look very professional if you set up an email address that compliments your Domain Name?  Well that is possible.  For example this domain name is “myprodomain.com” and I have an email address “robert@myprodomain.com”.  You can now do the same for your Domain Name.

Lets help set up your email.  Login into your cPanel and scroll down to section titled “Email” and click on top left hand corner of section “Email Accounts”.

Email for Domain Name

 

When you click on this you will be taken to the following screen:-

Email Create

 

Click on “CREATE” button which will take you to the following screen:-

Email Creation 2

 

When you enter this screen there will be a heading “Domain” and if you click on down arrow it will give you a list of domains or if you have only 1 domain there will be no down arrow.  Click on the Domain Name you want to set up an email for.  In the nest box “USERNAME” you will be able to enter the desired prefix to the Domain Name selection made previously.  You may decide to enter your “name” or perhaps “customer service” or other relevant prefix.  Make sure your prefix is relevant to the Web Site you have set up.

Next Sub Heading is security.  I simply leave “Set Password Now” box ticked and the system generates a Password.  You do not need to note the password if you are not going to redirect (explanation below) the email, but if you are unsure copy the Password into “Note Pad” or similar system.  Hit “GENERATE” button and “hey presto” a Password is generated.

Below the Generate button there are a number of other boxes.  Leave them all in “Default mode” and Press “CREATE” button at the bottom of the page.  When you press “CREATE” button you will be taken to a screen similar to that below.

 

Webmail Application

Choose one of the Web Mail Applications – it does not matter which one you choose.  When you select your application you will be taken to your email screen.   Your email screen will be similar to the screen below.  You will notice that the Web Mail Application I choose was “roundcube”.

Email Application by Webmail

 

You can go back to you “Home Screen” on the cPanel; scroll down to Email section, click on “Email Accounts” and you will be taken to the screen below previously referred to for “Email Creation”.  However, in the bottom half of this screen there is a list of your email Account(s), Restrictions, Storage Used and buttons titled “CHECK EMAIL”, “MANAGE” and “CONNECT DEVICES”

Checking Email by domain Name

 

CHECK EMAIL button
When you click on this button it will take you to your email account.  You do not need a password to access this as long as you have signed into your cPanel.

 

MANAGE button
Clicking on this button results in a screen that lets you manage your email and at the bottom of the screen there is even an OPTION to let you DELETE your email.  You can have a look as you can do no harm by simply clicking the button.

 

CONNECT DEVICES button
You may enter this screen at no risk of upsetting anything you have previously done.  The main purpose of the screen is to let you redirect your Domain Name Email to other Email addresses from this screen.  The screen provides various protocols depending on which Email you want to redirect the Domain Name Email to and the type of operating software on your computer.

Connect Devices

This can be a complex area given the number of  Web Mail Application suppliers there are and the different operating systems on computers.  Therefore each reader will have to do their own research specific to their circumstances.   I would also advice a search on YouTube will reveal a wealth of specific information on this matter – most videos last approximately 10 minutes.

 

Connecting to your Domain Name Email from a Different Email
The previous paragraph gave outline advice on using the cPanel Email section to forward your Domain Name Email to a different (i.e. Desired Management Email) email.  It is possible using the set-up options in the Desired Management Email to reverse the process from cPanel forwarding to “Desired Management Email; to Desired Management Email to Domain Name Email on cPanel.

Reverse Order Domain Name Email Setup

As previously explained due to the number of Web Mail Application each supplier can have its own peculiarities.  Once again do a search on YouTube for the correct advice and solution to suit your circumstances.

Summary
A lot of the above may appear on first reading as “gobble gook”, but when you enter your cPanel and systematically work through items it will start to make sense.  Setting up emails on to correspond with your Domain Name is unlikely to be a high priority initially, but you should be aware of the facility.

Do Not Give Up

WordPress for your Domain Name

What has WordPress got to do with my Domain Name?
A quick recap in case you have parachuted straight into this section of the blog.  At this stage the assumption is that you have purchased a Domain Name and it is  Hosted.

Parachuted In

If you have the Domain Name Hosted correctly you then should be able to look up the url address on the world wide web (www) and see your new Web Site.  Let us assume you have a web site with an address such as https://myprodomain.com and you search for it on the Web.  The result is  a nearly blank page with perhaps an error message.  Why is this?  The answer is that you have no content on the page.

NotePad

The best analogy I can think of is purchasing a brand new note pad.  When you open the notepad cover, all the pages are blank.  A tool you can use to make entries in the notepad is a pen.  There are other tools you can use such as a paintbrush to paint a picture or a crayon to do a drawing.

The Domain name you have purchased and hosted is equivalent to the blank notepad.  It needs a “tool” or “structure” that you can use to build content.  There are many tools available on which  content can be built.  Which “tools or structure” you use will depend on the content you want to place on your Web Site.  The only content builder (also referred to as content platform) I am going to refer to is WordPress.  My reason for this is that it is a FREE tool and widely used.

 

Tell me About WordPress
The WordPress site states that “WordPress powers more than 23% of the web – a figure that rises every day”.   WordPress can be use for building simple websites, blogs, complex portals and lots of other complicated applications which techies would be quite comfortable to develop and which are beyond me.

WordPress and Domain Names

WordPress is promoted as being  “flexible while still being easy-to-use”.   Do not get too carried away with the simplicity statement.  If you are a new user, until you get a degree of familiarity, which will simply take time, it can still seem intimidating, but stick at it.  If you go to YouTube (Read ALL of this Post First) and do a search there are many tutorials to help you get up to speed with the use of WordPress but do not get ahead of yourself!  You still have to load the software onto your Domain Name Website.

Below is a list of some of the main WordPress features.  Please note the greater part of this narrative is taken from the WordPress site.

Most features provided in WordPress are standard.  The software is Free not only in respect to price but  also there is Freedom to have complete control over the software. You are also free to do whatever you like with the WordPress code, extend or modify it in any way or use it for commercial projects without any licensing fees. There are literally thousands of plugins (these are Free and Paid for Software programs that are built on the WordPress platform) that extend what WordPress does, so the actual functionality is nearly limitless.

  • Simplicity Simplicity makes it possible for you to get online and get publishing, quickly.  WordPress is built to make that happen.
  • Flexibility With WordPress, you can create any type of website you want: a personal blog or website, a photo-blog, a business website etc, etc.  You can make your website beautiful with themes available within the software or additional themes and applications using plugins.
  • Publish with Ease If you’ve ever created a document, you’re capable of creating content with WordPress. You can create Posts and Pages and with the click of a button your content is live and on the web.
  • Publishing Tools WordPress makes it easy for you to manage your content, create drafts, schedule publication, and look at your post revisions.  You can make your content public or private, and secure posts and pages with a password.
  • User Management  it is possible to set up the site in a manner to facilitate Administrators to manage the site, editors  to work with content, authors and contributors to write the content, and subscribers have a profile that they can manage. This provides flexibility to suit the purpose to which you want to use the site.
  • Media Management  Quickly and easily upload images and media to WordPress. This facility add “readability and attraction” to most Web Sites.
  • Full Standards Compliance Every piece of WordPress generated code is in full compliance with the standards set by the W3C. This means that your website will work in today’s browser, while maintaining forward compatibility with the next generation of browser.  The short version is “your Web Site is future proof“.
  • Easy Theme System WordPress comes bundled with two default themes.  There is a theme directory with thousands of themes for you to create a beautiful website.  If none of these appeal to you then upload your own theme with the click of a button.
  • Extend with Plugins  There is a plugin directory with thousands of plugins (Free and Paid). Add complex galleries, social networking, forums, social media widgets, spam protection, calendars, fine-tune controls for search engine optimisation, and forms.
  • Built-in Comments Running a blog? A comments facility provides a space for your friends and followers to engage with your content.  WordPress’s comment tools give you everything you need to be a forum for discussion and to moderate that discussion.
  • Search Engine Optimized (SEO)  WordPress is optimised for search engines.  Additional fine-grained SEO control can be sourced as there are plenty of SEO plugins.
  • Multilingual  WordPress is available in more than 70 languages.
  • Own Your Data  Hosted services come and go. Using WordPress means no one has access to your content. Own your data, all of it – your website, your content, your data.
  • Freedom  WordPress is licensed under the GPL which was created to protect your freedoms. You are free to use WordPress in any way you choose: install it, use it, modify it, distribute it. Software freedom is the foundation that WordPress is built on.

 

Where or How Do I get WordPress for my Domain Name?
I will provide a narrative as to the Where and the How.  However, you may wish to search YouTube to see an actual “live demonstration(s)” of the process.

Your first action will be to go to your cPanel and scroll down to the Heading “Softaculous App Installer“.  On the left hand side of this screen you will note the WordPress Logo and the word “WordPress”.

cPanel ref WordPress

Click on the WordPress Logo and you will be taken to the following screen:-

WordPress Download Screen

If you click on the “Install Now” button and you have more than 1 Domain Name Hosted you will be asked which Domain you want to install WordPress on.  Make your choice and continue Installation.  Job Done!  The result will be the setting up of the site on your Hosted Domain Name and the provision of an Administrators Site with a User Name and a Password.  You cannot change the User Name but when you enter the site as the Administrator you can change the existing password.

WordPress Opening Screen

After loading “WordPress” onto your Web Site; if you were to enter the “url” of your web site (i.e Domain Name plus prefixes – https://myprodomain.com) then you would a screen similar to that above.  This is a Web Site prior to developing or placing content on the site.

The screen below is the WordPress Dashboard, and this Dashboard can only be accessed as an “Administrator“.  The Administrator is generally the person who sets permissions for access and for most readers of this blog will be the person who will maintain and update the site.

WordPress Dash Board 2

 

What will you do with WordPress on your Domain Name Web Site?
What you can do with WordPress as stated in the section above is virtually limitless.  WordPress is used by both “Techies” and relative “Novices”  Both the expert programmer and the newcomer can normally develop it for their intended use.

Newcomers to WordPress often do very little with the actual programming possibilities within WordPress.  They tend to load WordPress onto their Hosted Domain Name as a “Platform” or a “Foundation”.  Onto this “Platform” or “Foundation” they upload a Software Program (often referred to as a Plugin) they have purchased which requires WordPress on the Web Site to facilitate the working of the Program.  This makes the technical knowledge required in respect of WordPress very limited.  Their only interest and level of knowledge may be as simple as ensuring  that the final result in respect of the Program loaded is as expected.

It is not the role of this Blog to provide tuition on WordPress, but simply to set the scene as to its capabilities and use.  Where you need expert help on WordPress there are many Free Courses (search Google) and YouTube videos which can be accessed.

 

Where are we Now?
Alright, progress is being made if you have been following the Blog to date.  Even if you are just “dipping in and out” I trust you have discovered nuggets of useful information.

In the “Next Blog” a few more features of the cPanel in respect of Hosting Domain Names will be explored.

Do Not Give Up

cPanel for Domain Name and Hosting

Where are you Now in respect of a “Domain Name” and “Hosting”?
O.K., by this stage if you have followed previous Blogs you will have purchased “Hosting” and a “Domain Name”.  By now you will have received a receipt from the supplier or suppliers of these services (plural if you purchased Hosting and Domain Name from separate sources).

Where are You Now?

In respect of “Hosting” one of the emails you will receive will be related to your Hosting Account to include a note or details on “cPanel Access”.  This detail on “cPanel” will include the “cPanel Username” and a supplier generated “cPanel Password”.  When you use these details to access the cPanel you will have the OPTION to change the Password to one of your choosing.

 

What is a “cPanel”.
I cannot do better than provide you with a text book definition prior to going into practical illustrative detail.

cPanel is a web based hosting control panel provided by many hosting providers to website owners.  This panel allows them to manage their websites from a web based interface. This program gives users a graphical interface from which they can control their portion of the Unix server”.

To provide you with an illustration of what a cPanel looks like an extract of the top section of a cPanel for a Namecheap site is produced below.

cPanel extract

The standard cPanel contains headings such as Files, Databases, SEO and Marketing Tools, Domains, Email, Metrics, Security, Software, Advanced, Preferences, Softaculous App Installer.

As by this stage you should have access to your own cPanel;  “Logon” to your cPanel and verify the layout given in the previous paragraph and become familiar with the order of layout.

 

cPanel Warning!
A practical note of warning is now appropriate.

Warning re cPanel

Few of you reading this Blog will need access to your cPanel on a regular basis.  The normal experience for most readers will be that they purchase a Domain Name and have it hosted on a Hosting Site.  The Hosting Site will have a cPanel.  The user may have a supplier who will automatically upload the Domain Name to the Hosting Site (if Domain Name and Hosting are from the same supplier)  i.e. Bluehost or if prompted Namecheap.  Therefore, if your Domain Name is active on the world wide web (www) you may see no need to go to your cPanel.  However, most of us even if the Domain Name is entered onto the Hosting Site go to the cPanel initially for other reasons which will be listed below and on subsequent blogs.

Occasionally

So what is the warning about.  The warning is about frequency and time.  The reality is that when you buy a Domain Name, have it Hosted and get things up and going you rarely go back to the cPanel until you buy another Domain Name or you want to change some settings (which usually is very seldom).

This means that while at one stage you had some familiarity with how the cPanel worked and how to “effect changes etc or new setups” because you generally speaking so seldom use the facility you end up forgetting how to do things.  This is a reality for most of us and it means when you need to use the cPanel if you are an infrequent user, you just need to use your suppliers help desk.  There is no shame in that and it is a fact of life in respect of any service which you do not use or need to be using on a regular basis.

cPanel a Tool

Remember, the cPanel is only a tool used to produce an “end result” (a Domain Name Web page) and there is no valid reason why you should be adjusting or tinkering with your cPanel on a regular basis if things are running smoothly for any given Domain Name.

 

Hosting your Domain Name.
I am not going to go into detailed instructions on “how to do this” but I want to simply repeat previous advice for your convenience and reassurance.

    1. Where you are purchasing the Domain Name and Hosting from the same supplier, the suppliers default position maybe to enter your Domain Name onto the hosting account, so no problem here.  Make sure you get an SSL certificate for the site (see my post Hosting a Domain Name), and ask the supplier to install this for you.  I have bought or agreed to Free SSL certificates in the past from my single Hosting and Domain Name supplier.  In each case despite trying to install them myself I have had to ask the supplier via their Help Desk to install them.  For some reason the installation of these certificates is unnecessarily complex or perhaps I am just stupid!

Ignorant

2. Purchasing the Domain Name and Hosting from separate suppliers is usually more complicated.  In this case you will need details from the Domain Supplier and Hosting provider to marry both to one another.  I am not going to attempt to go through the mechanics of this.  The Domain Name supplier and Hosting provider web sites  are likely to have videos outlining the process or detailed written instructions.  Even these can be hard to follow so as a fall back I suggest you also do a search on YouTube .

YouTube

 

Some Practical Advice 
Getting the Domain Name and Hosting put together can be challenging and at other times things go well and it seems to be straightforward.  My best advice to you is do not attempt it if you are in a hurry.  When you are doing complex things in a hurry “Murphy’s Law” has a habit of “clicking in”.  “Murphy’s Law states that if a thing can go wrong it will go wrong”.  If you are in a hurry and things go wrong you will become stressed and upset and get yourself into a mindset of failure.

Do Not Despair

Leave adequate time to “work on this process”.  Another method is to take a few steps at a time spread over a number of occasions.  Then when each step appears to be working finally bring the whole process together.  At this stage DO NOT GIVE UP, keep at it.

Do Not Give Up

Hosting a Domain Name

What is meant by “Hosting a Domain Name”?
The definition of Hosting in the context of Domain Names is “store (a website or other data) on a server or other computer so that it can be accessed over the Internet”.

An analogy would be where you work or worked in an environment where there is a lot of information (data) held on paper records.  To apply a reference and order to the information the individual sheets containing information (data) are filed in folders/holders (typically made of stiff paper).  What folder any piece of paper is filed in depends on the content on the paper and the name on the folder. These folders are then  held in a filing cabinet or filing rack in perhaps alphabetical or another logical order.  The whole system is managed via a comprehensive hard copy (i.e. paper) index system which is used for reference purposes.

Filing Paper Documents

When you want to retrieve a piece of information (data) you first of all think of the subject and then either refer to the index of contents or mentally ascertain what file/folder it is likely to be in.  When you have decided on the file/folder that is required you then need to consult an index of contents as to which drawer the file/folder is in the filing cabinet or filing rack.  You then go to the relevant filing cabinet/rack, the relevant drawer/shelf, and lift out the relevant file/folder and search the information needed.

Hosting a Domain Name

The previous two paragraphs describe a manual storage and filing system.  When you buy a “Domain Name”, (the Domain Name is equivalent to the file/folder which holds many pieces of paper on the file/folder subject title) you need somewhere to Store the Domain Name.  Hence, the term “Domain Name Hosting” and the need to have a “Hosting Service” to store and reference your Domain Name.  The main difference between the manual paper system described and an electronic/digital system is the speed of access for updating, storage and retrieval of data.

 

A few Domain Name Hosting Facts

  1. It is possible to buy your Domain Name and have it hosted with the same company.
  2. If you are new to Internet Marketing the easiest solution would be to purchase them both from the one organisation as the Hosting of the Domain Name with the same organisation will be relatively straight forward.
  3. Many bloggers advise separating the Hosting and Domain Name supplier and give good reasons for doing this.  However, given how intimidating the set up process can seem to a newcomer  it would not be my preferred route for inexperienced users.
  4. You can get Hosting plans from as little as $1 or £1 per month but see my comments later in this blog.
  5. First year costs of Hosting are normally very attractive but second and subsequent years can take a very steep hike – be wary of cheap first year plans.
  6. Pay attention to details on First Year offers and see if you can find out what year 2 is likely to be.
  7. When you select a purchase option and are taken to the Sales Basket there are normally a number of additional add on costs.  So be aware your Hosting costs may not be the real cost.  These costs will be explained below.
  8. Most Hosting/Domain Name Sales organisation will by default, seek to have an automatic renewal at the expiry of the current contract.  You will be able to “Opt Out” of this but be aware of the options.

 

Beware when Purchasing a Domain Name Hosting Plan
At this stage I am assuming you know which Domain Name you want but you are relatively new to Domain Names and Hosting and do not want too much hassle.  In essence in this scenario you will want to purchase the Domain Name and Hosting from the same supplier.

My first piece of advice would be that you do some research with say three organisations which sell Domain Names and Hosting.

Investigating Domain Name Hosting

In my previous Blog I have listed numerous suppliers along with a recommended organisation that I use.  However, ultimately the choice is yours, but be sure when investigating possible organisations that you pay attention to the following:-

      • You normally need not join or sign into a potential supplier of Hosting and/or a Domain Name to thoroughly investigate what is on offer and how much?
      • You can make selections of Domain Names and Hosting plans and put them into the Sales Basket without committing yourself to any payment.  Online Shopping Basket
      • When you make selections and put them into a Sales Basket it is at this stage that the “Add On’s” will appear.  What I am saying is you will usually be unaware of the “Add On’s” unless you are attempting to make a purchase.  Just to reassure you; as long as you give no Debit or Credit Card details or a PayPal account etc you will be in no danger of paying out any money.  You can put items in the Sales Basket and cancel the whole transaction prior to giving payment details.
        • Credit Card

 

    • While you may be new to purchasing a Domain Name you will note that many Hosting organisations have a range of Hosting Plans.  The lowest level normally allows the Hosting of a single Domain Name or perhaps up to 3 Domain Names.  The next level of Plan often provides the Hosting of unlimited Domains for a very small increase in the monthly price.  A site I recently investigated for Hosting, charges $2.75 per month  to Host a single Domain Name and $3.95 per month for unlimited Domain Names (please note this is before Add On’s).  Even though you may be new to Domain Names my strong advice would be to take the Hosting Plan next to the Lowest level Hosting Plan. This will give you many more options to Host additional Domain Names for a minimal price difference. When you purchase your first Domain Name for marketing or business purposes, you often find you quickly need another Domain Name (if only for trialling systems etc.).
    • As you progress through the purchasing process on a Hosting/Domain Name suppliers site look for the “small print” especially in respect of renewal after the first year expiry.  Some sites will “push” you to a first year plan but will have a note stating the cost of the second year (which will normally be at least twice the cost of Year 1).  Other sites will seek to “default” you to sign up for 24 months or 36 months.  So be wary, these organisations are expert marketers and are at “every trick in the book”.

Marketing Tricks

 

Possible Domain Name and Hosting Add On’s
I will provide you below with some of the likely “Additional Services” and what impact they could have on your business.

SSL Certificate which results in https:// 
An SSL Certificate consists of  small data files that digitally bind a cryptographic key to an organisation’s details. When installed on a web server, it activates the padlock and the https protocol and allows secure connections from a web server to a browser.

https - SSL

Most Hosting/Domain Name providers now supply this certificate Free.  I would recommend you ensure your site has an SSL certificate as https protocol gives confidence to users of the site and search engines/virus checkers.

 

Site Lock Monitoring
This service (which is usually charged for) is a monitoring service that checks your website daily and immediately notifies you if your website has been hacked or injected with malicious code.

Cyber Security

I Do Not recommend you purchase this.  There are other Free “Word Press Plugins” that you can access which do a similar thing.  Most new users will become users of Word Press but more on that later.

 

Email Linked to your Web Site Domain Name
Some suppliers will  supply this Free but with others it is an “Add On”.  Until you get up and going I would give this a miss.

Email

 

Backup of your Web Site
A daily backup can be provided at a cost.  However, there are other means of providing “back ups” at no cost especially if you are a “Word Press” user.

Backup of Data

Unless your site is very critical initially or holds tons of data and you are not using Word Press I would give this a miss.  If you are not using Word Press but have tons of data look for other cheaper alternatives which are available.

 

S.E.O. Tools (Search Engine Optimisation)
SEO Tools are promoted as providing easy-to-follow insights and analytics that help improve search rankings, boosts website traffic, and monitors local competition.

S.E.O.

For someone relatively new to Internet Marketing or just starting out buying a Domain Name(s) having this facility as an “Add On” would in my opinion “not be a good idea”.  S.E.O. is an industry all of its own with many specialists whose sole role is S.O.E.  It is therefore difficult to see how a relative novice would benefit from this service in the short term.  My advise is until you are more experienced with managing your Web Site give this item a “miss”.

 

Before YOU PRESS the BUY Button – COUPONS
So, by this stage you have selected your Hosting Plan, selected your Domain Name, and decided on “Add On’s” (if any).  You are aware of likely second year costs but at the moment the basket shows you the cost for Year 1.  You have almost pressed the BUY BUTTON but WAIT.

Waiting

Frequently the Seller Organisation will be promoting the Sale of their services via a “Discount Coupon“.  Search the Web via Google to see if your particular seller has any Discount Coupons on  Offer.  If they have then note the conditions (i.e. they may not apply to already first year discounted items).  If the Discount coupon is applicable then enter the “Code of the Coupon” in the appropriate “Promotion Code Field” on the Shopping Basket screen.  This will mean you will pay less for the items that are in your basket.

Buy Button

Now Press the Buy Button.

 

My Hosting Account and a Domain Name
O.K., by this stage you should now own a Domain Name and have a Hosting Account. You should also have minimised (note I did not say eliminated) the more obvious mistakes that we all make or the monies we waste unnecessarily.  Remember there are never any perfect solutions to most business issues just optimal and best fit solutions in any given set of circumstances.  Now that you have got this far, that will lead onto other issues and opportunities, but that is for future posts.

Do Not Give Up

Purchasing a Domain Name

Where to Purchase a Domain Name
At this stage if you have been following this blog you will be familiar with and aware of the following:-

  1. What is a Domain Name?
  2. Picking a Domain Name Extension
  3. Selection of a Domain Name

You should now have selected a Domain Name or Names which you know is/are available to purchase.  It is always wise to have a choice of more than 1 name.  The reason for having a number of options comes down to the purchase price of the Domain Name.  There can be a wide variation in the price of different Domain Names.  The impact of the price variation means that your number one Illustration of a Domain Name

choice which is available may be prohibitively expensive.  If you are starting out on your internet journey or are just buying an additional Domain Name, unless you are a very experienced online marketer you want to avoid  spending all of your monies on the purchase of a Domain Name.  It is normally possible to get a similar name at a reasonable price.

 

Domain Name Registrar
All Domain Names are held on a Registrar.  Therefore, when you attempt to purchase a Domain Name it must be purchased from a company accredited by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers).  ICANN is a non profit organisation which  has been given the responsibility and authority to manage the Domain Name System.  It carries out this role by crediting “usually for profit organisations” with the “license or authority” to sell available Domain Names.

Register of Domain Names

When you attempt to buy a Domain Name you do not need to concern yourself that the selling organisation may not be registered with ICANN.  The larger well known companies will be registered and it is these organisations from which you should make your purchase.

Without the domain name system all we would have is confusing and hard-to-remember IP addresses (i.e a series of numbers), instead of the easy to use and remember domain names we have today.

Most domain name registrars today make it simple to purchase and renew your domain names. Nevertheless you need to choose wisely. Each register has their positives and negatives.  Later in this post a few of the positives and negatives will be highlighted.

 

Hosting
As  I provide analysis and advice below you will note the term “hosting” is referred to.  In writing a “blog” it is not always possible or advisable to put all the information in a single “blog” (information overload).  The other challenge is where two separate actions can take place concurrently.  This is a long way of saying that before you purchase your Domain Name from any Vendor you may be wise to read my next “blog” which deals with “Hosting a Domain Name”.

Hosting a Domain Name

 

How to Choose the Right Registrar
There are hundreds of domain name registrars to choose from.
Once you’ve found a domain name(s) that meets your requirements you need to consider a number of options when selecting a suitable registrar. Factors which you should take into account in your search are:-

 

1. Contract and Pricing
For most of us this will be our number 1 priority post selection of the Domain Name.  It is always prudent to review what is on offer from a selection of Domain Name registrars and start to get a “feel” of the various  pricing options.  Options are that you can usually register your domain for a period of one, three, five, or even ten years.

Contract and Pricing
If this is your first time registering a domain it is  recommended just registering a Domain Name for one year. You can usually turn on automatic renewal, which automatically renews your Domain Name at the end of the year.  My own preference is not to do this, as I like to keep control of my money.

You should also note that often the first years Domain Name fee can be very cheap with a large jump in the price of the Domain Name in subsequent years.  If you are not satisfied with the performance of your Domain Name registrar and you only sign up for a year you can always transfer the name elsewhere at the expiry of the year.

If possible be sure to investigate any costs in dealing with domain transfers, cost of renewal, and any additional fees that may be added at the renewal date.

 

2. Pricing Up sells and Pricing Add on’s
Many domain registrars will attempt to add on additional fees just as you’re about to purchase your domain name. The most common added fees are WHOIS (this provides your personal address if you are a private individual) and privacy protection. Frequently the  domain price being advertised is not always the final price.

Privacy Protection
Prior to completion of  your purchase make sure you’re not paying too much for your domain when compared to purchasing the same Domain Name from another registrar.  It does pay to “shop around”, and if possible try to ascertain a price for the second and subsequent years (it may not always be possible to do this).

Be particularly vigilant  to watch out for up sells that you might involuntarily add to your total.  Some examples of up sells are additional web hosting, multi-year domain registration, web site creation products and others.

Most registrars will offer additional web services above and beyond registering a domain name. Such services would be hosting, security certificates, web sites etc, etc.  These services will be discussed in detail on the next blog.

 

3. Customer Support
For almost all of us buying a Domain Name (including seasoned professionals); excellent and timely customer support is a must. Receiving an answer to a problem 3 days after the problem arises is just not acceptable.  As far as possible try to ensure support is responsive and helpful before you actually need it.

Do a google search on comments from customers on the various Domain Name registrars you are considering using.  This search should lead you to Blog Sites etc containing a wealth of information of the “pros and cons” of the registrar(s) under consideration.

Customer Support4. The User Experience
Once you have a domain name in your possession there are certain things you’re going to need to do to get your site up and running.  These things can all come under the heading of “Domain Name Hosting”  and will be addressed in detail in my next blog.

Hosting issues can be a nightmare if the hosting companies domain management systems are hard to use. If this is your first time purchasing a domain or even if you have previously purchased  a Domain Name , then be sure to choose a domain registrar that is user friendly.

User Friendly

 

Listing of 10 Domain Name Vendors?
A search on Google will provide you with an extensive list.  I have for your convenience listed out 10 Domain Name Registrars below (this is for information only and is not a recommendation of any of these vendors).  This listing is by no means an exhaustive list:-

  1. Google Domains
  2. 123Reg
  3. bluehost
  4. GoDaddy
  5. names.co.uk
  6. Easyspace
  7. Namecheap
  8. Domain.com
  9. one.com
  10. HostGator

 

A Brief Analysis/Comment  on Four Domain Vendors

Bluehost
Bluehost appears to be primarily interested in the provision of hosting.  They seek to sign the purchaser up to a monthly hosting plan and provide a free Domain Name.  There are bound to be restrictions on the selection of a Domain Name as depending on the “desirability”  of the Domain Names some names are much more expensive to purchase than others.

They have three different hosting plans all of which provide you with a single Domain Name.  Another feature which is not highlighted and which someone new to Domain Names would not be aware of, is that they automatically load your Domain Name onto the hosting platform and load WordPress Software onto your site.

Hosting a Domain Name

I have never used this company but it appears suitable for both novice and experienced users provided you can get the desired Domain Name as part of the monthly fee.  If you end up having to separately purchase the Domain Name then you need to consider the cost of monthly hosting and the cost of the Domain Name with other alternatives.

 

GoDaddy
GoDaddy has been in business for a considerable time.. They are both a domain registrar and a hosting company, so they can do a lot for your site without you having to turn elsewhere. They are the world’s biggest domain name registrar and they also sell a lot of other services to support larger sites, eCommerce sites, and much more.

They tend to have a very varied pricing structure. However, the good news is they are forever running promotions where you can register a domain for as little as $0.99.  If you have a lot of patience and are very savvy you could end up with a very good offer for the first year.

Go Daddy Domain Name

GoDaddy  offers a great range of services, but I have often struggled with the layout of their site and what exactly I end up signing up for. In plain English I did not find their site intuitive. The site is very promotion and marketing driven and often they are so busy bombarding you with offers that it is difficult to see the “wood from the trees”.

Their support is adequate but in my opinion not “first class”.

My biggest hate about GoDaddy is the hard sell once you select your Domain Name. The extras that they try to add into your basket is way over the top.  In addition if you do purchase something and omit to tick the correct boxes you are subsequently bombarded to your email box with additional promotions and offers.  As I am a person who does not like to be intimated with offers and having used them once I never used them again for the reasons listed in this paragraph.

 

Namecheap
Namecheap has a site which is probably one of the most intuitive and easy to use in this business. Having stated this; even then, I get myself into confusion periodically but please read on. They offer reasonably priced domains (especially after the first year), and have a number of free services including SSL encryption which will be referred to in my next blog.

Registering a domain with Namecheap is relatively straightforward and there is no pressure to buy additional up sells.

Namecheap Domain Name

Where issues arise in setting up your domain they have numerous easy to follow tutorial videos.  However, they do only offer person to person phone support, so you won’t be able to speak to someone if the need arises. That being said, their online chat support is incredibly responsive, helpful and patient and is available 24/7.

As a user of this online chat support I have found it second to none even when they are dealing with what seems a routine query.  As a side issue, may I say there are no routine issues, all issues no matter how trivial are important.  The difference is some take longer than others to resolve.  Another issue of importance is that they are usually able to solve your issue on the online chat support within 24 hours.

 

HostGator
HostGator tends to have similarities with Bluehost.  Beyond registering domains they’re mostly known for their hosting. They offer low-priced hosting and free domain registration bundles plus Email for the first year.

Hosting a Domain Name
If you do purchase a bundle package and decide to get hosting as well, then you’ll be happy to hear that they have a 99.99% up time, meaning your website will very rarely, if ever, go offline.

HostGator provides a solid foundation for you to start your online journey  They are promotion and marketing driven but just not to the same level as GoDaddy.

 

Finally
This has been a long blog post, but I trust you have picked up many “nuggets of information”.

There are no perfect Domain Names, but applying the advice given in this post can help you strive towards a suitable Domain Name at a reasonable price with good support available when issues arise (which they will)!

Long Blog Post

Do not fall into the trap  of “Paralysis by analysis” which is the state of over-analysing (or over-thinking) a situation so that a decision or action is never taken, in effect paralysing the outcome.  At times you will just have to go forward on a best judgement.  Most expertise only comes through a degree of trial and error and with the passing of time.  They call this experience and there really is no substitute for experience.

On a personal note my recommended Domain Name registrar would be Namecheap, for reasons of ease of use, support 24/7 and also reasonable pricing especially when renewals are due.

Do not beat yourself up if your first efforts cause you problems.  We have all been there.  As long as you do not waste all your money on a single effort you will be able to try again.  A positive is, that it takes little money to purchase and host a Domain Name.

 

Do Not Give Up

Selection of a Domain Name

Challenges in the Selection of a Domain Name
Decisions, decisions.  Someone has said “they can make anything other than a decision”.  There are some decisions that you clearly don’t want to rush and the choice of a “Domain Name” may be one of those decisions.  I don’t mean you prevaricate for days or weeks but you do need to consider your choice of name very carefully.

 

Selection of a Domain Name for an Existing Local Business.
If you have a business name, are a local business and the “Domain Name” is available then choice of name is probably straightforward.  However, if your desired choice of name is not available then the search for an alternative is where a “choice” becomes important.  Hence you may want to consider alternative names and “mull” over them or even discuss them with third parties to use them as a sounding board for possible choices.

Alternative Domain Name

 

Selection of a Domain Name to appeal to a Wider Market.
For other types of business enterprise  where your Internet Site my be your main or only “shop window”  then the name selected may not be as obvious or straightforward.  It may also be the situation that a  Local Bricks and Mortar Business has the objective to promote their products/services to a wider market/audience.

In these instances name selection and the implications can have long term consequences to traffic and business viability, especially if you are working on a limited budget (which will be the case for the vast majority of people reading this post).  What I am really saying here is that most people will not have large sums of money to promote a Business Name or Business Domain Name via a huge advertising budget.  Therefore the name selected needs to be suggestive of the service supplied so that “search engines” (i.e. Google) will pick it up.

 

 

Summary “Must Have” of a Domain Name.
In my post “What is a Domain Name” I have went into detail on the characteristics of name selection.  I will not repeat all the detail contained in that post but summarise the main points below.

Must Have of Domain Name

1. Make it easy to type. Therefore it should not be complicated, but be memorable hence it is easy to type.
2. Name should be short; maximum length is recommended as 10 letters, however the shorter the better i.e. “Skype”
3. Keywords will become important (will be discussed later), so the name should lend itself to being a keyword or becoming a keyword.
4. Maybe “area specific” depending on the business – see my post on Domain Name Extensions where I go into great detail on their implications and importance.
5. At all times try to ensure a Domain Name uses letters only – avoid numbers and hyphens. Remember the “KISS” principle (Keep it Simple Stupid).
6. Ideally the name should be Memorable or suggestive of service/product promoted.
7. Use an Appropriate Domain Name Extension.
8. If you are going to use Social Media such a Twitter/YouTube etc you should check if your Domain Name is available as an address.  CHECKUSERNAMES is a Free Web site that will check the availability of any proposed Domain Name on 160 Social Media Networks.

 

Key Words in the context of a  Domain Name.
You need to understand what a “Keyword” is and “file” its importance in the back of your mind for constant reference.  I am not going to provide you in this post with a comprehensive “paper” on Keywords but I will highlight their importance and necessary features.

Keywords are ideas and topics that tell a person or electronic search tool what your content is about.  In terms of Search Engine Optimisation (S.E.O.), they’re the words, phrases and terms that searchers enter into search engines (i.e Google).  On a Web page — all the images, video, copy, etc. — down to simple words and phrases, are your primary keywords.

S.E.O.

While the content of your Web page is vitally important in respect of “Keywords” in our case we want to focus particularly on the Domain Name as a “Keyword”.

 

Why are keywords important in respect of a Domain Name?
Keywords are important because they are the connection between what people are searching for and the content of the Web Site you are providing to fill that need. Your goal in ranking on search engines is to drive organic traffic to your site from the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs).  The keywords you choose to target (i.e. the ones you choose to include in your content) will determine what kind of traffic you get.

So, you may be asking yourself; what has all this to do with my Selection of a Domain Name?  Think about this a moment!  For most people starting out on a limited Budget their Domain Name will be their “Most Important Keyword” .  The more relevant to the service/product you are supplying/promoting that your Domain Name is, the more likely it is to be referenced and picked up by a Search Engine.  Keywords are as much about your audience as they are about your content.

Keywords for Domain Name

If you take as an example the present page you are reading and the Domain Name “MyProDomain”.  The name “MyProDomain” was purposely selected because it contained the word “Domain” which was what the blog was going to be about.  However, it was not possible to purchase “Domain.com” so a compromise name had to be sourced.  Eventually after searching various alternatives the name “Domain” was prefixed with “Mypro”.

The expectation is that over time anyone seeking information on Domain Names will turn up on the Search Engines “MyProDomain”.  O.K. granted, it would be better and more effective for Search Engine Optimisation if the prefix “Mypro” was not part of the name, but this is an example of the compromises and improvisations that are a regular part of suitable name selection on a limited budget.

 

Where do I find available Domain Names?
Well, you could go directly to a “domain registrar and web hosting company” such as GoDaddy or NameCheap to name two of the most common and popular  of literally numerous companies in this business.  However, in order to provide you with ideas and options and help let you see a wide variety of options and ideas I am advising that for the moment you consider tools that will provide you with both ideas and options.  These tools will also help you “brain storm” all sorts of ideas.

Brainstorm Ideas

 

Options for Searching and Suggesting Domain Names.

Searching for Domain Names

LeanDomainSearch
This online software simply asks you to input some text (i.e. a keyword) to a text box and after a few seconds provides literally hundreds if not thousands of available Domain Names which have your keyword as part of the name. The site focuses on “.com” Domain Names.  If you click on any of the suggested names it will offer to Register the Domain Name,  create an account with “WordPress.com”  and  also Blue Host.  At this stage I would not do anything until you consider my next Blog which will detail a series of Options.

NAMEMESH
Like the previous site this online software operates in a similar manner, but provides less names of available Domain Names, but does provide a variety of available Domain Name extensions.  The site also gives indications of “Premium Sites” and their likely sales value.  The site is set up to promote “BlueHost” a company which hosts Domains. My best advice is to have a look at the site, but as stated previously take no further action until you read my next Blog post.

Nameboy
Like the sites above you enter a “word or words” (keyword(s)) into a text box and are provided with a comprehensive list of suggested names although there is no indication of their extensions.  When you click on a name it takes you straight to “BlueHost” which as stated is a company which hosts Domains.  This would be my least favourite site of the three and appears to have been set up primarily to promote “BlueHost”.

 

Finally
If you have got this far then hopefully you have selected or finalised the selection of a suitable Domain Name which will rank well in a “Keyword” search.  At this stage when you know what name or a number of name options you may have, we then need to look at two other important matters – the cost of the Domain Name and the Hosting of the Domain Name.  These two items will be the content of the next Blog.

Do Not Give Up

Picking a Domain Name Extension

Picking a Domain Name is Simple but Not Simple

Some of you will realise the above heading is an “oxymoron”.  I will take the time and trouble to provide a definition of “oxymoron”.  Oxymoron is a figure of speech in which two opposite ideas are joined to create an effect. The common oxymoron phrase is a combination of an adjective proceeded by a noun with contrasting meanings, such as “cruel kindness,” or “living death”.

So why the English lesson when we are discussing “Picking a Domain Name”?  Well, the reality is that it is very easy to select a Domain Name; but (there is always a but) it is much harder and it requires a lot more thought and effort to get the correct or best fit Domain Name.  It would be fair to say it is almost impossible to get a perfect name but it is important to strive towards perfection.

Possibilities of Choice

 

Pre Domain Name Selection Considerations – Extensions

You may have noticed that there is a suffix added to all Domain Names.  Amazon uses suffixes such as “.com” to give Amazon.com or “.co.uk” to give Amazon.co.uk Other large companies do the same.

These suffixes are known as Domain Extensions.  Examples of Domain Extensions are “.com”; “.co.uk”; “.net”; “.org”; “.site”; etc , etc.  There are a huge variety of Domain Extensions and most (if not all) countries have their own extension.  So for example “.co.uk” tends to designate a United Kingdom extension while “.us” tends to be associated with the United States of America.

Domain Name Extensions

In reality in most cases if a Domain Name with any extension is available and you are willing to pay for the name and extension you can purchase it irrespective of where you live.  An example is the Web Site you are currently looking at where the url is https://myprodomain.com.   I am based in the United Kingdom but I have no problem purchasing an unrelated country domain extension name.  If you are based in the United States you could purchase a domain extension with “.co.uk” (this extension tends to designate a  United Kingdom site).

There is a hierarchy of Domain Extensions known as “Top Level Domains [T.L.D.]”.  The “.com” extension is known as a Top Level Domain Extension and “.com” extensions added to a Domain Name are usually more expensive to purchase than other extensions such as “.net” or “.org” etc, etc.

Do Domain Name Extensions Matter?

The “Law of the Situation” applies to this question.  This law states that “solutions to management problems should be governed by the demands of the situation and not by reference to any authority or principle”.

So, lets apply this law to a number of separate scenario:-

Your Business and Your Target Market is Local.
If you were a single site small business such as an automobile repair business, then you will be servicing a local market (probably within a 20 mile radius [32 kilometres]).  In this case your actual Domain Name will be much more important and relevant than your Domain Name extension.  If someone is looking for you on the Web to check the range of work  that  your automobile service provides they will probably apply one of two search criteria – Automobile repairs or they may search by Business name.  The use of any of these two criteria will result in the search engine (i.e. google) showing all the Automobile engineers in the local area or bringing up the Business name (if business name was search criteria).

Auto Mechanic

In the scenario above as has been illustrated, the Domain Name extension is very much of secondary importance.  In most instances such as above the business will obtain a country Domain Name extension i.e. “.co.uk” (if available for the business name) or if the Domain Name which includes the Business Name is only available with another extension they will accept the other extension (i.e. “.net”; “.site”; etc, etc).  The point being made is that the Business Name being available is the priority over the desired extension being available.

 

Your Business is Local but Your Market is both Local and National
Let us assume you are a small retail business with a single shop selling meat products but specialising in different flavours of sausages.  You know there is a national market for these sausages within your own country (assume it is United Kingdom) and the European Union.  (The market will be restricted to these countries due to assumed food import/export regulations.)

In the example above your main market is local but you are also starting to build up a significant amount of your turnover from selling specialist flavoured sausages via the internet by post in special packaging.  To do this you had a Web Site developed with considerable thought given to both the Domain Name and Domain Name extension.

Butcher Shop Illustration

The first consideration was that the extension would be reflective of the country of origin (which would provide confidence to the consumer that these food products were coming from a country with well regulated food standards).  Therefore you wanted a name extension that had “.co.uk” or as a fall back “.com”.  No other Domain Name was considered appropriate taking into consideration the target market and the business objective and needs.

The trading name of the business was “Hoys the Butcher”.  On consideration the business name was considered too long and was also not available with any of the two extensions referred to.  A compromise was arrived at.  The Domain Name “HoysMeats” was available, as was also “.co.uk” therefore the Domain Name with the extension became “hoysmeats.co.uk”.

I may have laboured this example but I trust it illustrates the point in respect of the combination and importance of both the Domain Name and the Extension attached to the Domain Name in a local business with both a local and  a national market.

 

Your Business has the Potential to attract Customers from Many Countries
It is highly unlikely that any reader of this blog will be a Chief Executive of a major world wide business.  However, many of the readers will be seeking to build or have built for them Web Sites which will have a genuine world wide appeal or certainly will appeal to English speaking Countries and the  Consumers within these Countries.

Map of the World

Examples of the type of business I am referring to would be Internet Marketing,  especially where you are seeking to attract customers (i.e. pull marketing as opposed to push marketing).  Within Internet Marketing some sub-divisions would be:-

1)Affiliate Marketing (i.e. ClickBank, or JvZoo [marketing of digital products which are downloaded to the purchasers computer when a sale is made]);

2)Drop Shipping (marketing a physical product via your Web Site and getting a third party to deliver the product when a Sale is made – you never handle the product)

So, the question arises what Domain Name Extension should be used for this type of business which can draw customers from around the globe?

Well, within the Domain Name Extensions hierarchy the  Top Level Domain Extension is globally recognised as “.com”.  Hence the Web Site you are currently looking at has a “.com” Extension.  So before you finally select a Domain Name make sure if you are in this market that your ultimate Domain Name has available a “.com” extension.

 

Summary of Advice on Domain Name Extensions
Perhaps at this stage after reading all this detail about Extensions and the examples given you are wondering – how could you say so much about such a minor item?

Well, if you ask that question you have missed the point.  What is the point?  The point is the Domain Name Extension can be unimportant or important, depending on the Market you are operating in or intend to operate in.

Missed the Point

If you pay extra for a Domain Name Extension you do not need, then you are wasting money and obtaining no extra benefit by having a Top Level  Domain Name Extension.  If you try to save on money at the expense of an unsuitable Domain Name Extension your traffic will be less and your Business will suffer from lack of  traffic.  If  there is little traffic there will be few Sales

 

Do Not Give Up

What is a Domain Name?

Simple Answer to What is a Domain Name?
In its simplest terms a Domain Name is a “Website address”.  Well known examples of Domain Names are “google.com” ;  “bbc.co.uk” ; “youtube.com”; “amazon.com”.

Illustration of a Domain Name

 

Is a Domain Name a Big Deal?
Well to answer that question a little piece of history will be helpful.  In the United Kingdom the word  “Domain”  is used to refer to  “an area of territory owned or controlled by a particular ruler or government”.  A digital domain has similarities to this although there is no ownership of physical land or territory involved.

It is not unusual to hear  a “Domain Name” being referred to as being equivalent to “a piece of Digital Real Estate”.  This is a good  illustration of the potential and actual value of some “Domain Names” (please note these are the exception, not the rule – so do not get carried away!).

Image of a Physical Domain

 

What Exactly Does a Domain Name Do?
I am sure all of us who live in a house/property or static home of some type, receive post  or mail (for those of you in the U.S.A.), or more recently parcels of deliveries from Amazon etc.   To receive this post/mail and/or deliveries the deliverer of the items needs a reference to know where to leave the delivery.  This reference point will be known as the postal/mailing address of the recipient.

The Domain Name is the electronic equivalent to a physical postal address in respect of finding a particular Web Site.  You cannot put a Web Site on the World Wide Web without a Domain Name.  The Domain Name is the Official Name or Address of your Web site.

Most references on computers take place with the use of numbers and no doubt numbers could have been used to identify Web Sites.  However,  just think about this for a moment.  What is easier to remember – a number perhaps running to 8 or 9 digits or if possible a short text?  Obviously most people find it easier to remember text, especially if the text has an underlying meaning.  Hence Domain Names are designated via text although you could use numbers, but using numbers is not recommended for the reasons previously stated.

The words used to identify a Web Site are known as the Domain Name or URL address.  URL is an abbreviation for “Universal Resource Locator” and the URL or Domain Name provides the address of a World Wide Web (WWW) site.

World Wide Web example

 

Selection of a Domain Name
What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet” (Quote from Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare – English Writer 1564-1616).

In respect of the selection of a Domain Name the name is extremely important, especially if you are seeking to promote a business and already have a known brand name or business name i.e. Coca Cola (www.coca-cola.co.uk).  You will note that the url address used by Coca Cola is the exact same as their product name.  This is despite the fact that the product name pre-dated the Internet age by at least a century (Coca Cola originated circa 1886).

Coca Cola

There can be occasions when the Domain Name has a lesser importance.  An example would be where perhaps you are involved in actively promoting a single product offer to an established mailing list or via social media.  In this case you are driving an offer using  a mailing list or social media and are asking/encouraging the recipient of the email/social media site to click on a link to get details of the product/service being offered.  You are not relying on “searches” by a potential customer via a search engine (i.e. google) to find your product/service.  This type of marketing is known as push marketing as opposed to pull marketing where you are trying to attract the customer to your Web Site.

Push Marketing

 

Matters to consider when choosing a Domain Name
A number of recommended best practices apply especially when you are seeking to attract traffic and therefore potential customers.  As stated above you are seeking to attract this traffic via  “pull marketing”.

Having to Choose

  1.  A Domain Name should be as short as possible and no more that 10 letters.
  2. The name should be related to the business.  Think of the name “coca-cola” and the web site which has the same name.  If you trade as “Joes Tyres” then you should be looking for a name that has the words “Joes Tyres”.  Someone looking for your Web Site will always be inclined (especially in local markets) to look for the Web site under the name of the business i.e. “Joes Tyres”.
  3. A “short name” will also mean if your decide to use social media such a Twitter that you will be able to get a Twitter Account.  If you are going to use Twitter check out your Web Site name with its availability on Twitter.
  4. A Domain Name should pass the phone test.  If you were to give the name over the phone would the person at the other end of the phone be able to “pick up” what you have said and remember it?
  5. The name should be “Memorable”.  I have touched indirectly on this in the points above but I am explicitly stating that you need a name that is memorable, even if initially until the name becomes known the name provides no suggestion of the product/service.  Such names would be Amazon or Skype.  Neither name suggests the actual service the organisation provides but through time and large marketing campaigns and budgets they have become world wide brands.
  6. Yes, I know item 5 tends to contradict items 2 and 3.  As most of you will be working with limited funds to start with; advice at 2 and 3 plus must be “memorable” must trump the total of comment at 5.  The latter part of comment 5 can only be achieved where there are large marketing budgets or significant time periods in order to build momentum.  However in the past time and  momentum has achieved this.  Who would ever have associated the name “Apple” with computers?

 

Summary & Conclusion

Common Sense

Perhaps at this stage you are thinking to yourself  – What is the point of all this advice?  Perhaps you are thinking I have learnt very little or even nothing.  Perhaps you say all this is common sense.

Well if the previous paragraph reflects your opinion then you must also ask the question:- Why do so many people make such a  “hash” when selecting a “Domain Name”?  You must also consider your context for the purpose of Name Selection.  Are you a “push marketer” or a “pull marketer” or a combination of both.

The application of the information provided above will greatly assist you in the avoidance of common errors and in the next post I will progress matters a little further into the next steps of the journey.

Do Not Give Up