Words – There was a time when people sought out one word domain names and ones that ended with the prefix .com Those days are over for many reasons; one reason being that a one word domain name is impossible to find practically and very expensive but second that a two to three word domain name website can be practical, useful and very worthy. Look at the fact that three out of the top five domains sold were two word domains (CarInsurance.com sold for $49.7 million, Insurance.com – $35.6 million, VacationRentals.com – $35 million, PrivateJet.com – $30.18 million and Voice.com – $30 million). So what does this tell us, two to three word domains are ok – great to buy. But this depends on the words and how long.
Characters – I have met many people who have domain names for their websites that are huge; like maybe three to five words and counting at twenty five to 30 characters. Unless this is a common search term like “BestCarRentalsInNewYork.com,” it’s ridiculous. It has to be short. It has to sound good. It has to have great meaning. And if more than a word or two, it should be something like “AreYouLost.com” or “BestGetAway.com.” The less characters the better. The shorter the words the better. There are very few exceptions to this except maybe “TheBestPhoneService.com” or “TheInteractiveSolution.com” which are both available here.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) friendly words – Now that is a mouthful but that is also one of the most important things you should get from this entire website. Your words that you pick for your domain should have great similarity or actually BE the words you would want people to search for your website on Google or any search engine. If you have a cell phone business, you shouldn’t use the name “ShopOnMainStreet.com” for your business because the name says nothing about your business and doesn’t even relate to a search someone might do on Google. “CellPhonesOnMainStreet.com” is incredibly long but better. But a better name would be “MainStreetCell.com” or “MainStreetPhone.com” or better yet “TheBestPhoneService.com” which is available here. Yep, we’re here to give tips but we’re also here to sell domains. You get it. Think of the search terms someone might use, think of your business name and put it together and try your very best to come up with a very short domain no longer than fifteen or twenty characters. If you can create an original name under ten characters, you’ve done a great job.
*** Important side note – Now, after saying all this to you (and this might sound crazy because it goes against EVERYTHING I just said), there is the philosophy or idea on the Internet that it doesn’t matter WHAT your name is or even WHAT it looks like as long as you have good content. Content is king and adding new content will bring you new traffic and repeat traffic. The better your content (video, opinion, comments, images, and more), the more “sticky” your site is and will be.
*** What is sticky? Sticky is how long someone sticks around or how much time they spend on your site. Let’s put it this way, if you get people who stick around and you get traffic, other people will notice and your will get contacted by people who want to advertise and people who want to either be a part of your site or buy it from you. It’s that simple.
The Bottom Line – There bottom line is this; most hosting companies have been bought up by a company called Endurance. At this time they own more than 80 hosting companies (you can see that list here on Wikipedia). Some of these companies we used for hosting and customers including me enjoyed the services with little to no problems. But Endurance has become a behemoth of a monster of a company. They have also terminated many U.S. jobs that have gone overseas. Now we find that there are few companies left to use that are not owned by Endurance; companies like A2 Web Hosting. SiteGround Hosting. Dream Host. InMotion Hosting. or LiquidWeb Hosting.
With all this being said, you have to realize that most hosting that will be used by the every day man or woman will be incredibly similar and to tell any difference. Most people will used what’s called a “shared hosting” plan. This means your site will shared on a server with many other sites (could be hundred, thousands, or tens of thousands). All or most of any hosting service will offer a very similar control panel for you the user. If you are starting out, I would not worry about any of this and make sure you buy a shared hosting plan to save money. If your site grows in size and traffic, you can always upgrade at a latter point. Don’t sweat it. And by all means, if you are just starting out, don’t even think about a dedicated server or a VPS (virtual private server). It’s completely unnecessary. Start small and simple.
The only think you may want to consider is this; do I care where I am calling when I call support? I have seven hosting accounts because I have many websites and different needs including working with clients. I have recently moved some of my hosting over to a few independent companies that aren’t Endurance because I personally like to speak with someone who understands me when I speak which makes the call easier and when i do call an Endurance support (because I still have a few Endurance plans), I also notice that the connection is not as clear. So I have someone who doesn’t always understand me when I speak and I have a poor connection. Not a great situation when you already have a problem. My clincher here for wanting to use independent companies in the U.S. is simply that I want to support U.S. workers.
So chew on all that and make your decision.
Content is King – This couldn’t be said enough. You can’t just have a few words and then throw up some affiliate marketing. How do I know this? I know this for three simple reasons; I know this because there have been studies, I have seen other people do it and guess what… I’ve done it when I first started o the web. It’s stupid, ignorant and people see right through it. If you have nothing to say but “This is a good product, buy it here,” people won’t come back. You need to be useful, insightful, helpful and maybe even make people laugh or think. Be provocative if you want but watch out for inappropriate behavior that will get you kicked off the Internet AND your hosting plan. Be different and be good.
Use SEO (Search Engine Optimization) keywords – I tell my clients this all the time. They ask me “What should I write?” And I say, “Write about what you want or need to say about you, your business, or your goals but make sure…. and this is BIG… make sure you include all the words that someone would use to find you on Google. This is very important. Use keywords. What are keywords? They are the words people search on Google with (“rental deals” or “Rehearsal Space” or “Best Italian Restaurant NYC”). I see websites all the time that have no back-end key words and no keywords in their content. That’s just crazy. You need to include keywords everywhere but don’t be stupid. If you create a paragraph that has an insane amount of keywords in sentences that barely make sense, Google will penalize you and your size will cease to come up anywhere near the top. It may even not come up.
Content is Also Media – People forget this all the time. If you make videos and put them on YouTube, those videos will come up on top on Google. Why? Google owns YouTube. Embed those videos into your website and your site looks better, people stay longer, you get better rankings etc… It’s a win – win situation. Don’t forget the images too. Studies have shown that if you put images between paragraphs with easy charts and simple text images that people stay longer and read more from your site. Great tip here is… don’t forget to name each image something full of keywords and when you place that image into your site, make sure you name it a keyword name as well as your alt image name. Example: I have a children’s book website and I name my images like this… “easy-to-read-children-book-site-words.jpg.” In the past people would name their images something like “image0024.jpg.” What a waste that is. Use every chance to use keywords.
Actual site creation:
Bottom line – I’m calling this section bottom line because this is going to be short. You can pay someone to build your site. It shouldn’t be more than $500 unless you have products to sell and you have more than 100 images and over 20 pages. You can use a website builder from Godaddy that is relatively easy but limited. You can also use Wix which is also limited. But please know this, unless you have someone else create it for you, everything has a learning curve (website builder, Wix etc…). If you are going to spend time on a learning curve, take my advice and just do a WordPress website. WordPress, or WP, is one of the easiest ways to have a website and you can manage it from a backend administrative panel (or dashboard) that is easy to learn. WP is the most popular and east to use CMS’s out there. And by the way for those who don’t know what CMS is… it’s content management system.
Marketing your site: