One of the first things one must do when starting a blog is to register a domain. Broadly speaking there are two types of registrations one can choose from. This week I’ll write about one option and next week will be about the other.
The first option is to register a custom domain. An example is chriswinterhoff.com, where I paid a fee to reserve the address, meaning that no one else can use it so long as I own it. There are plenty of services out there that one can choose from to register the domains. Below are some examples:
Just by typing “domain registration” into google will reveal plenty of other competing services looking for your business.
Once you’ve decided which domain you want to pick, you need to choose a domain name out of hundreds of possibilities. They start from country specific domain names such as “.de” or “.co.uk” to universal domain names such as “.com” or “.net”. Country specific domain names will naturally limit you to a certain country as for example visitors from the US or Canada rarely visit websites with a “.de” ending, whereas visitors from Germany will (since it is a German domain name, as it stands for Deutschland). So this is important when considering who your target audience will be and where they come from. There are notable exceptions such as “.tv” which is the domain name for the island nation of Tuvalu and is nowadays often linked to media outlets around the world for obvious reasons.
Registering a custom domain will come with a cost for the actual name and for the required hosting service (more about that later). Below is a screenshot of namecheap.com, illustrating the different costs for various domain names.
It often pays to shop around a bit once you have decided on your custom domain. In this case, the “.net” domain name is £1.15 cheaper on godaddy than on namecheap.
The second step when registering a domain is choosing a hosting service. Competition is big in this space too, so a simple google search will reveal plenty of web hosting providers offering various price plans with a multitude of hosting bandwidths and added services. Often the domain registration websites (such as namecheap) will offer hosting on the back of your registration, and I think this is probably the best way to get started because you circumvent possible complications with linking up your hosting service to your domain. At the start it is very unlikely that you’ll receive hundreds of thousands of visitors, so going for the cheapest price plan will be sufficient whilst you build your content and readership base.
There is also an additional service that is called WhoIs Guard. Often the domain registrar will throw this service in for free for the first year, but it will never cost more than $3 a year. WhoIs Guard protects your personal information (which you need to use when you register your domain) from being viewed online (ie your home address, email and telephone number). To me this is key when operating online, as you will avoid receiving many unsolicited mail and emails and more importantly protect yourself against identity theft.
So all in the costs for my own custom domain ($9.66), hosting service ($9.88) and WhoIs guard ($0.00) came to $19.54 for 1 year. The web hosting service came with hosting from the US, but given recent negative NSA publicity I decided I preferred UK data centers which cost me an additional $12.00 on top of that. I guess in hindsight the UK government institutions will be sharing the data with the NSA anyway, but one can always hope right?
Please post any questions or comments you might have below. Next week I’ll talk about the free blogging services.