Let’s start at the beginning…

Happy 2015! Thanks for being a faithful reader! We all get a brand new year. A fresh start.

So you want a website. And your budget is non-existent. No problem, because as we all know, websites are free and easy to do. Just set aside, oh, somewhere between 100 hours and 2500 hours to learn, make mistakes, and then learn some more. If, like me, you are a medium to slow learner, you can count on some of what you learned being out of date by the time you use it and you will need to learn more. One great way to learn will be to follow this blog. This blog will help you stay closer to the 100 hour scenario 🙂

One of the “free” website companies that you hear advertised nationally on the radio is making a HUGE mistake when it comes to SEO. Huge. I caught the mistake in my first 30 minutes of study. It may or may not be possible for you, the client, to work around that mistake, but in 2015, why should you have to do that? In WordPress, that same situation is handled properly. Boom. Right out of the box.

You will, for sure, be spending a few of those 100 hours you set aside learning at least the basics of SEO. And proper use of social media. And how to format a blog post for maximum effect/conversion and SEO potential.

However, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Because remember, this is about starting at the beginning. So whether you want an ecommerce website, or a slick one pager marketing list building website, you still need to start right here: with your domain name. Without a domain name, you have nothing.

This series I am starting for 2015 will pull back the curtains on how I do what I do. The companies I use, the software I have learned, no holds barred, no secrets left unturned.

In that spirit, I have been using NameCheap to manage all my and my client domain names for close to 2 decades. I have tried others, like GoDaddy. NameCheap is reliable, easy to use and reasonably priced. They have earned my business.

Namecheap

There are a few important things to know about domain names. Here are a few ground rules.

Do not use the dash or numbers in your domain name. Make the name reflect your current branding/business name.

Or, go generic. Like WindowWashing.com – Good luck getting that type. They are long gone. Still, absolutely worth a try.

Always use the .com ending. Resist the temptation to go with .net or others just because it is available. It is available for that same reason. Sure, NameCheap wants to sell you all the endings. That does not mean it is good for your business. Not a good way to go 99.9% of the time for a small business.

It is not easy because most of the desirable names are taken. Persevere. And when you do get your dream domain name, be sure to never let it expire. That can be very problematic, as your website will be down if that happens.

Once in awhile there can be exceptions to this rule, but they are rare. If in doubt, contact a web professional for a second opinion.

Being a rule breaker by nature, I actually own two domains with a number in them. dwb1.com (which I will have for life as I use it for a “throw away” email address, among other things) and Cape1.com which I just liked. (I have an inkling of an idea for that name which may, after 20 years working online, make me almost a millionaire.) Or at least maybe $10,000. Per month.

That’s it. The big start for the big new year!

Next week, we will address what most people fail to address when deciding upon a website.

Rockin’ in the new year,

Dave