I have come to despise phonebooks. Those little fuzzy dots on the pages may as well be Braille. Yeah, they make eyeglasses for that issue but, despite planting a pair in every room of the house, I can’t ever find them when I need them. And that’s assuming I can even find the phonebook! I much prefer looking for your business name on the internet where the text is bigger and brighter.
Statistics from everyone but the phonebook people indicate that record numbers of people are running away from phonebooks and turning to the Internet for their shopping and service needs. Heck, people under age 30 probably don’t even know what a phone book is. If you or your business doesn’t have a website that relays your location and goods and services, then you are missing out on a potential and substantial revenue stream. So, let’s talk about how you can dotcom yourself.
First, you’ll have to choose a domain name that no one has yet (i.e.: www.YourName.com). This can be difficult since there are about 160 million websites out there at the moment. Just about any common word or letter combination has already been purchased by someone else. So when you are trying to come up with your own name, you will want to come up with as many variations of your business name as you can in hopes of scoring one that no one has thought of. Keep in mind that shorter names are better than longer ones and the easier it is to spell, the better.
Website addresses are organized into categories called level domains (TLD). There are 20 TLD extensions but the most popular TLDs are COM, NET and ORG. .COM stands for “commercial” and is usually used for business. .NET used to be used for “Network Infrastructure” which usually means internet-related business but is now generally accepted as a “generic” commercial TLD. This explains why, for example, there is an ATT.net versus ATT.com and Comcast.net versus Comcast.com. One is for business, the other is for their internet stuff. .ORG used to stand for organizations that didn’t fit into the other TLDs but is now also considered generic. There is no law that says you must choose one extension over the other but the fact is most people expect a business to have a “.COM” address so I recommend that if at all possible.
Once you compile your list of preferred domain names, GoDaddy.com makes it easy to find one that no one has used yet. Simply enter your choices in GoDaddy’s website and they will instantly inform you if the name is available. GoDaddy will suggest alternatives if necessary. Once you find a suitable name, you can purchase the domain name for a specified time period from 1 to 10 years. The cost is about 8 bucks per year.
Next, you’ll need to rent some space on the Internet that will accommodate your website and email. This is called “hosting.” GoDaddy has hosting plans starting at $4.99 per month. Once you select a hosting plan, you can use GoDaddy’s “WebsiteTonight” technology to build your website using easy-to-use, web-based technology. If you think all this is beyond your capabilities, my company can build a website for you for as little as $500.00 per year.