Hosting Blog

{Discussions about hosting/domain and the things you should consider.}

Creating a new website for your small business starts with deciding on a domain name. This process isn't exactly simple, but it's not difficult either.
The creative process starts now.
These are some things you should consider when picking a domain name:

  • Your domain name is the first impression you're putting out to your online customer base. Make it memorable by keeping it short and easy to spell.
  • Avoid using numbers, hyphens and underscores. Also avoid using slang or derogatory terms in your domain name.
  • If you're planning on future growth, pick a broad domain name. If you pick something like "" and then decide to sell pants, the domain name wouldn't quite fit.
  • Research your choices. Check the United States Patent and Trademark Office website to see if there are any trademarks associated with the name. Also check to see if there are any other domains very similar to your chosen domain. "" and "" are very similar and your potential customer base could get confused.
  • Check to see if the domain is available. With so many sites on the web, many "preferred" names are already taken. You may have to buy it from a registered owner...which can potentially be much more expensive than an unregistered domain.
    Is that extra cost worth it to you to have the specific domain you set your eyes on?
  • The one thing most small businesses overlook is the idea behind picking an "SEO-Friendly" domain name. If at all possible, you should include your keyword in your domain name. If you're tied to a specific location, also consider including that in your domain name. It is a lot easier to boost your search rankings for a local plumbing business if your domain is something like "" instead of something like "".
    One of my clients has a successful custom gift/letter photography company. She owns two domains: and It should be no surprise that it was much easier and quicker for me to boost her search ranking for the latter because it included her keywords. Potential customers who have never shopped with her before would never think to add "Swix Pix" to the search terms.
  • Secure hosting for your domain name. I will go more into this topic on another post, but just remember, a domain name is of no use unless it is available 24/7 to your client base.

First order of business: You do NOT need to host your site with the same company you purchased your domain from. While it makes the process a tad easier, don't feel like you're "stuck" with your host. If at any time you feel like the hosting service you're receiving isn't reliable enough or is too expensive, pack your bags and move on. Site reliability is a key factor in the success of your online business and directly affects your SEO rankings as well.
When choosing a host, please consider the following:

  • Pick a host that offers 24/7 chat and/or phone support. As a small business owner, you're probably not well-versed in DNS server management or site performance issues so it's important to have an "expert" at hand that can help whenever and wherever you need it.
  • Choose a host with increased server security. Website backups should be frequent and automated. Purchasing and installing SSL certificates is a must have -- especially if you're accepting customer information or payments.
  • Verify that your host provides custom domain email addresses -- with unlimited storage. This is a branding technique that cannot be overlooked. If you send an email out to your customers via a generic hotmail email account, it will likely get overlooked.
  • Unless you're an experienced web developer, you will want a host that provides a user-friendly server interface. I highly recommend CPanel but any interface that is more user-friendly than using a terminal will work better for the general user.
  • Pick the *correct* hosting plan. Generally, there are three options: shared hosting server, dedicated hosting server and VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting.
    • Shared hosting is always the cheapest option. Shared hosting means your site is sharing a server and its resources with other websites. The performance of your site could degrade depending on the traffic that hits the server, however, this is usually not a big issue for small business websites.
    • Dedicated hosting is always the most expensive option. It is the exact opposite of shared hosting--the server and all resources are dedicated to your site only. The price tag of $100-$2,000 a month is usually out of the range for small business sites and almost always unneeded.
    • VPS hosting is the delicate balance between the two. More expensive than shared but considerably cheaper than dedicated, this is a good option for larger sites or for companies with critical business operations needs.

*Web Phenom provides Turbo Boost Shared Server Hosting via A2Hosting. My clients have the option of leaving all the work to me or receiving a customized CPanel login to access and update the site as well.