Thursday, April 12, 2018 by Kevin Wood
What's The Best Type of Web Hosting for Online Stores?Choosing the right kind of hosting for your online store isn’t a decision you’ll want to rush into. In order to run a successful online store, you need to offer a streamlined and intuitive customer experience. By choosing the wrong kind of host you could end up slowing down your site’s performance to the point where people end up leaving your site. Your job as a store owner is to make it as easy as possible for people to buy from you. Your choice of host will influence your site’s loading speeds, performance, and uptime - all of which contribute to a solid customer experience. Below we look into how you can find the best type of web hosting for your new online store.
5 Online Store Hosting Factors to ConsiderWhen choosing a host for your online store there are a lot of factors you’ll want to consider. Below we look at some of the main features you’ll want to look for in a potential host.
1. High Performance and TrafficAs your e-commerce site grows, you’ll need a host that can keep up. Chances are you’ll probably outgrow a shared host rather quickly. Look for a host that can support your existing traffic and resource needs, without experiencing a dip in performance. Depending on the size of your store and how much traffic you receive you might have to opt for a VPS, dedicated, cloud, or managed server from the start.
2. Solid UptimeWhen your store is offline it won’t be earning you any money. Even worse, is if your store experiences high uptime, then you’ll end up creating a poor customer experience. Some hosts will offer uptime guarantees, which give you some form of money back for the time your site was offline. But, this amount will probably pale to what your site would be earning if it wasn’t offline at all. So, instead of looking for cash-back uptime guarantees, make sure you find a host that has the highest uptime possible and can demonstrate a track record of those figures. Learn more about HostGator's 99.9% uptime guarantee!
3. SSL Support and Security FeaturesKeeping your customer’s data secure should be at the top of your list in terms of priorities. Your customer’s data and sensitive information, like credit card details, should be encrypted every step of the way. The most effective way to do this is to install an SSL certificate on your site. Depending on your host you may have a bundled SSL certificate with your hosting plan. But, at the very least the use of SSL certificates need to be supported by your host. Other nice features to have are additional layers of security via tools like SiteLock, along with regular server monitoring.
4. An Awesome Support TeamWhen you’re experiencing issues with your server you’ll want to get these resolved as soon as possible. After all, any dip in performance or uptime will lead to a poor user experience and potentially lost revenue. Having a support team might not seem like a big deal until you’re experiencing a server issue right in the middle of a big sale. Support is something you’ll want, even though you hopefully won’t need their assistance very often. Read rave reviews from HostGator customers!
5. Regular Automated BackupsCan you imagine waking up one morning only to see all of your site’s product listings gone? You’d hate to think that issues like this occur, but they do. The last thing you want is to not be prepared if data loss or hacking occurs. The best plan of protection is having regular, automated site backups. Depending on your host you may have regular backups as part of your hosting plan. However, it’s also a good idea to create your own backups as well, via a plugin or other software.
Finding the Best Hosting Option for Your StoreNow that you have a better idea of what features to look for in a host for your online store, it’s time to examine a few different hosting types, so you can find the best fit.
Shared HostingMost people come to shared hosting due to its price and easy setup for beginners. The downside, however, is that you’re sharing those server resources with hundreds, and maybe even thousands, of other sites. A shared host can work if you don’t receive much traffic, but as your e-commerce site starts to grow you may run into performance, uptime, and security issues. If you plan to scale your site, then you’ll probably need to upgrade to a cloud or dedicated host.
Cloud HostingCloud hosting is similar to a VPS, but instead of having a single server environment it draws from multiple servers, which creates a huge network of resources you can draw upon. The nature of cloud hosting makes it incredibly easy to scale with your site. With cloud hosting, you’ll get very high levels of performance, security, and you won’t have to worry about your site going offline due to a traffic surge. Cloud hosting also offers you a flexible pricing structure, where you only pay for the resources you use.
Dedicated HostingUsing a dedicated server means that you won’t be sharing server resources with anyone. You have the entire server at your disposal. This means that your site won’t experience any issues with loading speeds, performance, or uptime, due to other sites on the server. Dedicated hosting will be more expensive. However, it will offer your online store incredible performance, along with very high levels of security. For most dedicated servers you’ll also need some technical skills in order to manage your server effectively.
ConclusionIf you’re serious about your eCommerce site, then you’ll probably want to start with a cloud or dedicated host from the beginning, if your budget allows. However, you can also start on a shared host and upgrade plans if you choose a host that offers multiple styles of hosting. Finally, you’ll want to be sure that your host actually supports the e-commerce platform you’d like to use. For example, some hosts offer WordPress tailored hosting or WooCommerce tailored hosting where the server environment is optimized for that platform. While others simply have multiple types of eCommerce software you can install like Magento, BigCommerce, PrestaShop, and OpenCart. Hopefully, you have a better understanding of the features you should look for in an e-commerce host, as well as some of the hosting options you can explore. Get started with HostGator now!
How To Register A Domain NameEvery business needs a website, the first step towards getting your site online is registering a domain name. Hopefully, you’ve already spent some time brainstorming some potential domain names. Now, it’s time to take your favorite, register it, and get started building your website. Below you’ll learn how to register a domain name, some domain registration mistakes you’ll want to avoid, and how to choose the best domain name possible.
Choosing a Solid Domain NameChoosing the right domain name is important. After all, it’s going to act as the foundation for your brand online. It’ll be what your visitors remember you by. Pick something too difficult to remember and it’ll be hard to establish a strong brand. Keep the tips below in mind when choosing the perfect domain to register for your new website.
1. Have a Few Different Options in MindThe last thing you want is to give up in frustration because your dream domain isn’t available. To avoid this make sure you have a list of different domains to choose from. After you’ve gone through the brainstorming phase you’ll probably have a ton of options to choose from. Narrow this down to your top five and head over to your domain registrar of choice.
2. Choose the Right TLDIf you have your heart set on a domain, and the .com is taken, then you might think about compromising for a different domain name extension. Although this can be tempting, it’s important not to choose a domain name extension that will reflect negatively on your website. In terms of popularity, .com is the most popular, followed by .net, and .org. You can get away with choosing another domain name extension, but make sure that a competitor site isn’t using another more popular domain name extension. When people are typing in your domain name, they might end up typing in the .com and be taken to a totally different website.
3. Keep it Short, Readable, and MemorableYour domain name should be as short as possible and easy to remember, while being related to your business. Think of companies like Apple and Google, or websites like Smart Passive Income and Zen Habits. Their domains are short, memorable, and in some cases give you an idea of what the company is about. Think about domains that you remember and company names you like and take those as inspiration when choosing your domain.
How to Register a Domain NameWhen registering a domain name you’ll have a few different routes to take:
- Register a domain alongside your hosting
- Register a domain name without purchasing hosting
Option 1: How to register a domain and hostingRegistering a domain name with a hosting account couldn’t be easier. If you’re signing up for hosting with HostGator, then you’ll just follow the steps below:
- Choose your HostGator web hosting package.
- On the next page, you’ll be able to register a new domain. Just enter your domain name, choose the domain name extension, and HostGator will tell you if the domain is available.
- Once you’ve found a domain you like that’s available you’ll complete your order and your domain will be ready.
Option 2: How to register a domain without additional hostingIf you already have a hosting account somewhere and just want to purchase a domain, then you’ll have multiple options to choose from. There are dozens of different domain name registrars you can use, but for the sake of example let’s assume you want to register your domain at HostGator.
- Navigate to the HostGator domain name registrar.
- Enter your desired domain name. The tool will show you if it’s available, along with the domain name extensions are available.
- Choose your desired domain combination and complete the checkout.
Domain Registration Mistakes to AvoidBeyond keeping the points from the first section in mind, it’s also important to avoid common pitfalls when purchasing a domain name. Avoid the mistakes below and you’ll be on your way towards making a higher-quality long-term investment.
1. Do Your Research FirstMake sure you aren’t using any trademarked words or phrases. This is an innocent enough of a mistake, but it can really come back to bite you. There are multiple entrances where webmasters have been sued, or forced to turn over the domain that includes a trademarked phrase.
2. Double-Check Your SpellingIn a rush to register your domain name, it’s common to misspell your domain and click purchase before you realize your mistake. If you’re surprised that a certain domain is still available, then double-check the spelling before you end up wasting your money.
3. Look for Multiple MeaningsSome words have more than one meaning. You’d hate to register your domain and build out your site only to realize that your domain doesn’t mean what you think it means. If the words in your domain translate over to other languages then make sure that meaning of the word or phrases checks out as well. Hopefully, by now you can answer the question, "how do I register a domain name?" with total confidence.
Best Practices For Buying A Domain NameBuying a domain name isn’t something you’ll want to rush. Sure, it seems simple. It’s just the little URL that you type in to access your website. However, your new domain needs to contain certain elements if you want it to be a valuable addition to your site. Choose the wrong domain name and you’ll make it that much harder for your website to succeed, or you might even have to migrate to a new domain name down the road. To avoid this fate, keep the following best practices in mind throughout your search for the perfect domain name.
1. Choose the Right TLDThere are thousands of different TLDs available, with new ones springing up every day. It can be tempting to choose a new TLD, however, don’t choose a TLD at the expense of your domain being memorable. Overall, .com’s are the most common TLD and carry the most authority. Choosing something like a .info or .biz will only make your website look spammy. Choosing the wrong TLD won’t kill your business, but if possible it’s always a good idea to go with a .com, as they’re the most recognizable and trustworthy.
2. Go for Simple SpellingThe easier your domain is to spell the better. Don’t include slang words or add additional letters to your domain. Your goal should be to make your domain as memorable as possible. Also, don’t include words that are commonly misspelled, this will lead to people guessing your domain name and ending up on a broken site. Technically, you could pick up all of the misspellings of your existing domain as well, but you’re just creating more unnecessary work for yourself.
3. Don’t Add Hyphens or Other ElementsAdding numbers and hyphens to your domain name is going to make it much more difficult for your visitors to remember. You want your domain name to stick in the mind of your visitors, not be something they have to write down to get it right. Plus, you run the risk of your visitors navigating to the non-hyphened version of your site, and losing traffic over the long-term.
4. Shorter Is BetterKeep your domain name as simple as possible. The more words you use the harder it’s going to be for your visitors to remember. Plus, having too many words in your domain name can make it look spammy and just plain weird. In the old days, people would purchase domain names that were comprised of long-tail keyword phrases. This little trick used to help with rankings, but today it won’t really help your online efforts.
5. Spend Time BrainstormingThere’s no need to rush the domain selection phase. Set aside some time to brainstorm as many unique domain names as possible. The bigger list you have to start with the greater your chances of finding a domain name that hasn’t been taken. Feel free to get creative at this point. You’re not making your final selection yet, so let your creativity run wild.
6. Let Tools Help You OutIf you’re stuck in the brainstorming phase, then let the following online tool help make the brainstorming process easier:
- Impossibility: This tool lets you enter a variety of verbs, nouns, and adjectives, and it’ll combine words to find available domains.
- Panabee: This tool will offer you dozens of different variants based on your chosen domain name.
- Lean Domain Search: This tool will add popular words and phrases to the beginning and end of your chosen domain.
7. Think About KeywordsIn the past keyword stuffing your domain name was common practice. Getting an exact match domain name would help improve your rankings. Today this little trick isn’t as valuable. But, you still might be able to include keywords to let your visitors know what your website is about. For example, think of domains like, “fitnesscopywriter.com” or “realtorwebsites.com”.
8. Include Locally Relevant TermsIf you’re a local business, then it might be helpful to include locally relevant keywords in your domain. Again, this isn’t a chance to keyword stuff your domain, as you’ll still want it to be memorable. But, if you can find a match it could be beneficial to your business to pick up the domain. Think along the lines of, “losangelesdentist.com”, “topekachiropractor.com”, and so on. You can also pick up domain names that have local keywords and forward those to your main domain name as well.
9. Stay Away From Trendy PhrasesDon’t include any trendy words in your domain. Sure, it might look good at the moment, but think about 5 or 10 years down the line. This will only make your business seem dated. For example, when Apple was releasing their first iPhone a lot of companies either branded themselves or picked up domains with a similar aesthetic. For example, “iCreative.com” or “iConsultants.com”. At the time it might have looked good, but now it looks out of touch. Once you have your domain name, you're ready for the next steps. As you can see, buying a domain name is a process you should take seriously. Hopefully, the tips above have been helpful in giving you actionable advice to find the best domain for your new business.
How Much Is A Website Domain Name?If you’re looking to build a website, then one of the first things you’ll need to do is secure a domain for your new project. But, how much is a domain name actually going to cost you? Well, that depends upon a bunch of factors, as the cost of a domain name can vary widely. Below you’ll learn why some domains are more valuable than others, the average costs for getting a domain name, and some tips to help you get started.
The Value of Domain NamesBuying a brand new domain name will be cheaper than purchasing an aged domain. Some older domains have gone for millions of dollars. However, these are typically single word domain names like insurance.com, hotels.com, and investing.com Some older domains also come equipped with a decent backlink profile and existing domain authority, so your site will get rankings and authority head start. So, if you want a single word, used domain, then be prepared to spend a lot of money on your domain name. On the other side of the equation, you have new domains. The average cost for a brand new domain will typically be anywhere from $10-12, depending upon the registrar you choose and the length of your registration contract.
How Much Does a Website Domain Cost?Buying a used domain will run you anywhere from the hundreds to thousands, and potentially even millions of dollars. Pretty crazy right? If you’re just getting started online, then the best course of action is going to be choosing a new domain. A new domain will be cheaper, and allow you to build your own brand from scratch. Typically, you’ll be paying around $10-$12 for a new domain, depending upon the domain name extension you choose. Some extensions like .biz, .xyz, or .info, along with hundreds of others will end up being incredibly cheap because internet users aren’t quite used to those extensions and they don’t pack the same kind of punch. Some extensions will lead to even higher registration fees, like .co, .ai, .io and others. Other costs you’ll want to research include:
- Renewal fees. Some registrars will charge a cheap registration fee, along with a pricier renewal fee. Make sure you’re aware of the price increase upon renewal (if there is one).
- Privacy fees. Some registrars will charge additional fees to improve the privacy of your domain. This service will hide your contact information from public records.
- Transfer fees. Sometimes you might want to switch registrars. Make sure there aren’t any hefty fees associated with migrating your domain out of your current registrar.
Buying a New Domain NameFor most people, they go with the option of purchasing a new domain name. It’s the quickest and cheapest option, and with a little creativity, you can find a solid domain. First, you’ll need to choose a domain registrar. For the sake of example, let’s say you’re going to register your domain with HostGator.
- Navigate to https://www.hostgator.com/domains
- Type in your domain of choice. This will let you know if the domain, along with your desired extension is available.
- If it’s available, then follow through with the purchase.
Buying an Old Domain NameIf you’ve found the perfect domain, but someone else already owns it, then you’ll follow a different process. This is only recommended if you have more cash to spend and require a very specific domain for branding purposes. You'll have to visit a domain auction site and make an offer for the domain. Keep in mind that you’ll probably have to do a lot of back and forth negotiation to secure the domain, and the price could be very steep. You can also find expired domains, that might have an existing link profile and authority. Just make sure you thoroughly research the domain before making a purchase.
Domain Name Fees to Watch Out ForSometimes you might not be getting as good a deal as you think when registering your domain name. Below you’ll learn about some hidden charges you’ll want to watch out for:
- Hidden fees. A lot of times what might seem like a good deal up front won’t actually be a good deal. Sometimes fees will be buried within the terms of service. Look out for things like transfer fees, increased renewal fees, long-term domain contracts and more.
- Short-term discounts. Some domain registrars will offer seemingly good discounts, but this discount will only apply if you register for a long-term contract, or pay for multiple years up front. Short-term coupons can help you get a cheap domain up front, but make sure the costs won’t increase drastically after the first year.
- Scams. Some domain registrars that offer ridiculously cheap, or even free, domain names will end up charging very high administration fees, or even manipulating your Whois records. Make sure you’re only buying your domain name from a reputable seller.
Which Option is Best for Me?For most people, buying a new domain is going to be the preferred route to take. You’ll not only get the best deal, but the registration and purchase process will be the simplest. In time, as your experience and online assets grow it might make sense to negotiate for a domain or purchase an expired domain. But, when you’re just starting out make it easy on yourself and find a solid new domain.