by Jargon Writer

Writing my way to becoming a freelancer

Shopping For A Domain Name

As I discussed yesterday, one of the first steps in setting up your website is choosing a domain name. The easiest way I’ve found so far to find out what names are available is to come up with one and then input it at Godaddy.com, which will quickly search for the chosen domain name with a variety of endings (.com, .net, .info, .us, .me, .org, etc).

This lets you know that the name is available. But don’t hurry into purchasing the name–some hosting services, including mine (dsgnrhosting.com), offer you a free domain name when you purchase hosting. This, among a number of other things, is something to consider when choosing a host for your site (a post on choosing a hosting service coming soon).

Personally, I favor having a domain name that ends in .com, if at all possible. Most people immediately think of a website as being a “dot com” so while other options exist, my recommendation is that you find a domain name that is available with that ending. For me, having a unique domain name is important enough that I am running each of the names I consider through godaddy before adding it to my list of possibilities.

If you have already established a legal business entity – you’ve registered your company name with the local business bureau and done all the government paperwork– then your domain name should in some way work with your established name. If your name, as registered, isn’t available as a dot com (many common words are in use already as domains for related products and if you’re using your name and you have a common last name that may be taken as well) many articles recommend you choose a .net, .info, .me etc. Other articles suggest adding words like “the” to the beginning of your name.

What I recommend instead is using a shorter, quirkier or easier to remember version of your name – an abbreviation, for example. For Melissa Breau Copy Company perhaps I’d do http://www.melbcopy.com, which rhymes when pronounced (mel – b – copy).

The trick is to make it both related to your actual company name in a way that will allow clients to create an association between the two mentally and to make it obvious and clear enough that clients will still associate it with your company.

When you’ve found a domain name that you feel is a good choice for your company and is available for purchase, your next step is to choose a host for your site (do this BEFORE buying the domain name).

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April 7, 2010 Posted by | Freelancing, in practice, writing | , , , | 5 Comments

The World Wide … What??

As much as I am a nerd and a geek (after all, I freakin’ love words), I am not a techie. As you may have noticed, if you’ve checked out my goals page, one of my goals was to talk to my friend, who is a techie, about the web this week.

I spent an hour on the phone with him on Sunday, and I think I probably said, “I don’t understand. What?” more times than I can count.

Prior to talking to him I had decided I was going to buy three web domains in the coming months.
1) Jargonwriter.com – where I would host this blog
2) mbreau.com – which would host a site about me and my writing and hopefully collect leads.
3) MelissaBreau.com which would redirect to mbreau.com (or vice-versa).

I have some (very) rudimentary web skills – I know enough HTML and PHP to make dreamweaver work. I’m planning to work on the site myself with some assistance from my friend, mr. big bad web developer, who frequently fields questions for me for free when I should probably be paying him a ridiculous amount to do consulting. Needless to say, he’s damn good at what he does (danny if you’re reading this, stop blushing).

Even before talking to him, I thought I understood the basics. You have to “buy” a domain name (ie. pay money to register it). Then you need to set up an ftp site, and pay someone to host your site. The way I understand it, when someone hosts your site you pay them to put it on their computer and they keep that computer (really, i think its called a server) online at all times, allowing visitors to your site to view it. An ftp site allows you to exchange files between your computer and their server, and shows you what is on each. Okay, so far so good. And then I called Danny.

Due to the number of search results that pop up when you google my name (3 pages), he says I need a higher bandwidth than most sites include with a basic hosting package. Ok, so add on that. Then we talked about hosting through wordpress (since I can just upgrade this) and he recommended against it for reasons that took a really long time to understand, but boil down to templates and how much memory or kb or w/e this site actually uses each time it downloads and how that translates to bandwidth usage.

That is, apparantly danny thinks I am WAY more popular than I think I am, because I think 4,000 pageviews a month sounded like a hecka lot and he thought it wasn’t enough – he says search engines crawl it regularly and hosts count those as page views …. and, since I know he knows what he’s talking about … I’m going to trust him on how that all works.

Then he recommended another site, which upon visiting I promptly told him was way beyond me. I couldn’t understand every third word on their page explaining what you get when you pay for their services. Too complicated.

So now I’m on the search for the perfect host. Danny’s helping – he’s tapping his group of resources to find out what’s worked for other people.

I, in the meantime, am supposed to try and do some independent research. The goal is to find a host where I can get close to unlimited bandwidth for under $60 / year. And that’s not including start up fees, like actually buying or registering a domain name.

Needless to say, I ended the conversation by taking a few aspirins and a break from doing work of any sort. Right now, I fully appreciate the depth of what I do not know, and am REALLY glad I have someone in my personal network who understands it a hell of a lot better than I do.

February 2, 2010 Posted by | research | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments