I promised that I would try to narrate the process I am going through to build a website and to make it profitable (or at least pay for itself—that’s kind of like our goal as parents, is it not). I have not actually completed this process, but I thought I could at least get you started. There are other sites you can look up to find information on this topic. I haven’t decided which ones I should link to, but I eventually will refer you to more astute website builders than I.
The first thing you must do before building a website is to decide what you will call it . There are actually two names you must come up with: The title of the site itself and the name that will appear in the URL, that is, the “domain name.” The domain name and the title can be the same or they don’t have to be. For example you could call your site “The Christian Parent Resource” and the URL could be “TCPR.com.” You want a URL that is easy to remember and easy to type.
Why Build a Website?
Before we continue, let me remind you: You don’t actually have to have a website to publish to the internet. You can use a Facebook page. You can also use a blog that is hosted under a blogging host name, such as “WordPress.com” or “Blogspot.” (This means your domain will always be preceded in the URL with the words “blogspot” or “wordpress.”) It all depends on what you want to accomplish with your website. If you are just trying to publish information for a small group of people, these other tools would work well. But if you want to have your own domain name just like all those other websites you visit, and you want to build traffic so you can get advertising, then you have to use another tool to do this. That means you have to pick a website host. But that is the next step. The first step is to get the information together that you are going to need when you go to purchase website hosting.
Also, note that this is not when you should buy the domain name. You should wait and buy that as part of the website hosting purchase. Right now, you just want to figure out what your URL address will be.
This name picking can be a chore because you also have to make sure the wonderful name you came up with isn’t already used (or if you want, you can try to purchase it from whomever owns the name). My advice is unless you have a recognizable brand name, just come up with something no one else is using. You can check here to see if the domain is already taken.
1. Describe what the site is about
It is probably better if your domain name describes what you do. “GoDaddy” does not automatically make me think of a website hosting site , just as “Poor Potsherd” does not automatically make one think of Christian parent resources.
2. Use .Com extensions
The domain name extension, such as .org, .net or .com, is another issue you must consider. Those latter three are the ones most people use, but .com is by far the most popular. I really can’t think of a reason not to pick that one if you are trying to build web traffic. It is also advised that if you pick one, then also purchase the domain name for the other two so when you become rich and famous, other people don’t snap up the other two and pose as you. It costs you money to do so, about $25 per year for the other two. It is your call on if you think you are going to be that rich or famous.
3. Keep it short, easy to type, and easy to understand
The URL should not be too long. You wouldn’t want something like “Myhomeschoolgroupsitefordiscussinghomeschoolstuff.com” but an easy-to-understand descriptive name such as “DallasHomeschoolResources.com” would work.
I would not recommend a domain called something like “Poor Potsherd.” “Potsherd” is not a word a lot of people have heard, and it is hard to say and hard for people to understand what you are saying when you say it. It is in fact the exact opposite of a name you should pick for your website. But I am sticking with it because you, my dear reader, are a literate sort and you know exactly what a potsherd is. But when you are picking your name, avoid hard-to-spell-and-say words. That also means not using symbols such as hyphens that you have to explain or say. You don’t want to have a conversation like this: “Yes it’s home hyphen school hy—yes, I said ‘hyphen’ like that little dash thing, but it’s not a dash. Not it’s not an underscore. It’s a hyphen. So it’s home hyphen school hyphen resources. No, no spaces, just hyphens between the words. Got it?”
4. Make it unique
Don’t pick a name that is too much like other names out there and don’t pick a name that is the name of something already copyrighted. See copyright.gov to check that out.
So after you get your domain name and you have checked to make sure it’s not used, think about your site name and the description of your site. Those can be changed later, but you should at least start thinking about those items as well.
My next post on this subject will be about choosing a website host—well not so much about how to choose one as that you must choose one. But we will discuss that then. You have some work to do first.