How to Choose Domain + Hosting Combos for Business
Ready to get your business online? The first steps are to select a domain name, create a web hosting account, and connect an email service.
With these three things in place, you can start promoting yourself to the world, get indexed in Google, and start landing customers!
Selecting a Domain
The first step in your entrepreneurial journey is to pick a domain name and register it.
This isn’t as simple as it might sound. There are nearly 150 million .com domain names currently registered. This means your first (and second, and third…) choice of domain is probably registered by someone else.
The good news is that there are still ways to find good .com domains. There are also hundreds of other domain name extensions you can choose from that are a lot less crowded.
When selecting a domain name, make sure that it:
- Passes the radio test. This means that people who hear your name can spell it when they want to type it into their web browser. Tell five of your friends your domain name and ask them to spell it. Look for a different domain if they can’t spell it correctly.
- Allows you to expand. If you’re starting a lawn mowing business and use the phrase “lawn mowing” in your domain name, it might be confusing if you later expand to provide landscaping, pool cleaning, or other house maintenance services.
- Doesn’t have hyphens or numbers. These make your domain name much more complex. If you include a number in your domain, such as ‘4’, consider also registering the versions with for/four in it.
Try adding prefixes (e.g., My+, The+, or Go+) and suffixes (e.g., +online, +world, +media) to keywords related to your business to find an available domain name.
Sometimes, names that are already registered can be purchased from their current owner. You get access to millions of domain names that are listed for sale on partner domain marketplaces when you search for a domain at Namecheap.
If you struggle to find a domain you are happy with, take a look at extensions other than .com. Plumbers can stand out with .plumbing. Financial advisors might like .money. There are also generic extensions that work for any business, such as .online, .site and .space.
Choosing a good domain name is a big decision. But don’t let perfection get in the way of progress. Settle on a domain and then move on to the next step: choosing a hosting package.
Hosting is the second key to getting your business online. There are a lot of options for hosting, and it can be confusing.
The first thing to decide is if you want to use a website builder, WordPress, or another technology for your website.
- Website Builder – Website builders are the simplest way to build a site. They usually have drag-and-drop widgets that allow even newbies to build a site. Namecheap has partners that make it easy to connect your new domain to a site builder.
- WordPress – WordPress is the most popular way for people to create websites. It’s more complicated than a website builder but also more flexible. Over time, you can use plugins and custom code to completely customize a site built on WordPress and turn it into an online store.
- Other technologies – Unless you’re hiring someone to build your site, it’s unlikely that you’ll consider other technologies. But customized sites can be hosted on most hosting platforms.
If you are building a site on WordPress, consider a managed WordPress plan. These are optimized to make getting started with and managing your WordPress site as easy as possible.
The nice thing about hosting is that most plans can grow with your business. You can start with an inexpensive plan and upgrade as your site becomes more popular.
For example, Namecheap’s EasyWP Turbo managed WordPress plan works for sites up to 200,000 visitors a month and has plenty of storage for almost any web site. You can upgrade to the EasyWP Supersonic plan when your site traffic increases.
All websites should also install an SSL certificate. Look for a plan that includes an SSL certificate or allows you to easily add one to your site.
The final piece of the puzzle is to create professional email addresses using your domain name. Using a free Gmail or Yahoo address might be OK for friends and family, but not when you’re trying to project a professional image.
Email services are inexpensive and simple to set up, especially if you set it up at your hosting provider. You can also consider hosted options like G Suite from Google or Namecheap’s Professional Email service.
Figure out how many email addresses you need and then select a plan. In addition to firstname.lastname@example.org, think about creating generic addresses like email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, and firstname.lastname@example.org.
And… You’re Online!
Once you select your domain and set up hosting and email, it’s time to build your website and promote it.
Getting your website in front of potential customers can take effort but can also be fun. It’s amazing to think that anyone anywhere in the world can find your business online!
Try online and offline marketing, social media, link building and other ways to get people to visit your new site.
Most importantly, enjoy the experience of growing your business.