The first thing you need to do when you decide you need a website is to purchase a domain name (https://myname.com). If you haven’t done this before, not to worry. It’s fairly simple, but there are a few things that you should be aware of before you buy.
Choosing the name
When choosing a name, you will want to get something that is as close as possible to your business name or something that relates to your area of business. Shorter is better and something that is memorable is key.
Check out this article from Google that has some nice tips.
Free might not be free
Some web companies offer a free domain name if you sign up for their services. This sounds like a good deal but sometimes it can come back to bite you. We had one client try to move his site to another host and that particular company held it hostage for a ransom of $100 (slime balls!). I’ve heard of other people who have been charged more than that. For that reason, we recommend that you purchase your own name using your own account from a reputable Domain Name Service provider. There are many good ones, though the one we recommend most often is Hover.com.
Free WHOIS Privacy
Hover.com offers free WHOIS Privacy. What does that mean? Well, when you purchase a domain name you are required to enter your name, address, phone number, and email address. This is important so that the registrar knows that a real person or company owns the name. By default, that information is published on the web. Anyone can go to whois.com and look up a website address. If the person hasn’t purchased WHOIS Privacy with their domain, their personal information is there for anyone in the world to see including spam bots. Hover offers WHOIS Privacy for free with all of their domain names. Pretty sweet!
Do you want email at your new website address?
We at Great Big Lake have gotten out of the email business. We used to set up email for clients on the same server where we hosted websites, but after a number of strange issues and a lack of customer support from web hosts who don’t specialize in email, we decided to require our clients who want email at their domain name to use a reputable email service like Hover.com (Gmail for Business is also good, though a bit more expensive). In order to have your email at Hover, you have to have your domain name at Hover as well. Hover charges $20/year for a small inbox. If you’ve ever had issues with email, you know that $20/year for peace of mind about email is a steal!
Great customer support
The support staff at Hover are very helpful and knowledgeable. They will walk you through the process of moving your domain name over the phone if needed as well as help with setting up new email account(s).
Take a look at Hover and see what you think. If you use our Hover link, we’ll get a little bit of credit there which is always appreciated. Know that we’d be using them anyway because Carrie Dils (WordPress coding diva) recommends them. If you’re thinking of going with another company, make sure that you read some reviews before you buy.