You’ve set up a blog on Blogspot or WordPress. You’ve spent a few months tapping away at the keyboard and now you want to take it to the next level. It’s time to register a domain, host your own site and link up those Google Analytics. The only thing is… where do you start?
I’m by no means an expert but, setting up my own blog and managing its growth has allowed me to bash my head a few times. I thought I’d spend some time sharing some domain and hosting top tips I’ve learnt along the way that might help.
Beware the middle man!
There is always that friend who can host your site for you. They’ll tell you how they can sort it all out. What they’re really doing is being paid a percentage of your hosting fee by some company overseas who is likely sitting with servers in India or New Zealand even. There is nothing wrong with this BUT, when your site goes down or you hit a wobbly remember that you need to get hold of your friend, who then needs to get hold of the hosting company (different time zones are a bitch) and only then is your issue addressed. I personally prefer using a local company who has their own servers. I can pick up the phone during working hours and sort my issues out.
You don’t have to pay a year’s hosting fees upfront (but you do pay for your domain’s year long registration)
Don’t fall for those service providers who try convince you a year’s hosting fees up front are a good idea. I’m always dubious about paying upfront for something not knowing what the service is like and if I’m going to be happy. Registering a domain does require you to pay for the year long registration (though local hosting companies do offer this as a free ”value add” with hosting packages). However for hosting? Be cheeky and say no!
When I first set up Tech Girl I made error number 1 and got a friend to host. Within a month the site had grown and suddenly, one day, it went down. After contacting said friend and waiting for her to get hold of the hosting company, I was told that I had run out of Bandwidth and my site would be down for the rest of the month unless I upgraded my package. Unfortunately, I’d also made error number two and paid for a year upfront. I ended up getting in to a rather ugly debate with said friend while trying to rectify the situation. You want unlimited bandwidth on your hosting package. No debates. No discussions.
Check how your domain is registered
If your hosting company offers to register your domain on your behalf make double sure they do register it in your name and not their’s. You could find yourself in a bit of a battle if you decide to change hosting companies and they refuse to hand over the domain (I’ve seen this happen, a common trait among unscrupulous web designers).
Check the spelling
Once you register a domain its done. You cannot change it. Check the spelling before you hit submit, check the spelling again and then get a friend to check the spelling.
Ain’t nothing wrong with a .co.za
When I set up Tech Girl the .com domain wasn’t available. I was devestated as a friend told me I’d be far more successful in the Google rankings with a .com domain. I’m really not sure if this is true but the way I understand it a .com domain is for large corporates and international sites. While .co.za is for local-based businesses and blogs. Will I regret not having a .com domain one day? Maybe. For now, I’m happy.
If you get stuck, phone a friend… or a Tech Girl!
I’m happy to help where I can and advise you on the best hosting companies (in my opinion) or how you go about moving to the world of self hosted. Hit up the contact us page and I’ll see how I can help!
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