You took a big step.
You grabbed that domain name you wanted. It’s officially yours.
Now what are you going to do with it?
To Start, What Are Your Goals?
There are three main reasons to buy a domain name:
- You want to build a new website.
- You’re investing in domain names.
- You want this domain to point toward a website you already have.
Most likely you had a clear idea of what you wanted your domain name for before you purchased it. Your next steps will vary based on which of these purposes you have in mind. To skip directly to your purpose, click on one of the links above.
To Launch a New Website at Your Domain Name
For most people reading this, chances are you fall into the category of people looking to build a new website to launch at your new domain. Here are the next steps for you to take.
1. Purchase website hosting.
Owning the domain and owning the space a website lives on are two different things, but often hosting companies also sell domains. If you got your domain as part of a hosting purchase, then this step is already taken care of.
If not, then finding the right hosting platform and plan is the next thing you need to do. Hosting packages usually come as monthly or annual subscriptions and often include some nice extras along with the hosting itself, like a website builder and tech support for those launching a website for the first time.
2. Load an “In Construction” page.
If your website isn’t ready to launch yet, then the next thing to do is let people know what’s coming. An in construction page can provide a simple teaser to inform any visitors that happen upon your website that, while they’re a little bit early, they will find something great there if they come back later.
If you already have a logo or a color scheme in mind for your website, then you can design the in construction page so that it matches the branding to come. If you know for sure what day you’ll be launching your website, you can let people know when to check back – but be careful not to oversell. If you end up launching late, you could lose people’s trust and interest.
3. Design your site.
Before your site goes live at the domain you’ve registered, you want it to look just right. You can either build a website yourself, which you can expect to take some serious time, or you can hire people to help.
Option A: Build It Yourself
Many hosting companies (including HostGator) offer website builders as one of the features that comes with your hosting subscription. Even if you’re entirely new to website design, these make it possible to do it yourself, with some time and work.
Your other option is to go the more old-fashioned route and design a website using html or a design software like Adobe Dreamweaver, but those options are best for people who already have extensive experience with website design (in which case, you know who you are).
Option B: Hire Someone
If you’d rather hand over this part to someone that’s an expert, you can outsource it to a web designer or web design firm. Do a little research to make sure you hire a web designer that can do what you need. If you have the money to spend, hiring a professional can save you a lot of time and effort and mean you end up with a website that looks closer to what you had in mind.
HostGator offers design services for current HostGator customers. Click here to learn more and request a quote for your site.
Don’t Forget the Copy!
Writing copy is a different process than designing the website itself, but it’s an important step to making sure your finished website says what you need it to. You can whip up some copy yourself, but for words that are persuasive and do a good job of communicating what your website is and why it matters, hiring a professional copywriter or marketing agency is likely to pay off.
Once your website looks just how you want it to and all the copy is written, you’re ready to launch.
You can upload your website to the hosting platform using an FTP client or the File Manager in cPanel. If you’re using HostGator as your hosting platform, follow the instructions here.
Once everything’s loaded, go check out the new website at your domain!
To Treat Your New Domain as an Investment
Domain investing is harder now that the internet’s been around for a while and a lot of the domains with the best keywords have been snatched, but if you manage to purchase a domain name that you know will generate interest, you can resell it at a profit.
One of the first things you can do to advertise the availability of your name, if you’ve invested in a hosting plan, is put up a page at the domain that says it’s for sale. In addition, you can find a number of auction sites that help publicize domain names that are for sale, such as Sedo, Flippa, and Snapnames.
Make sure you have a realistic idea of what the domain is worth. If the name is useful and the price is right, potential buyers will find you.
To Point it Toward A Finished Site
If you bought a second domain that you’d like point to a website you already have, then you simply need to create a parked domain in your cPanel. If you’re a HostGator customer, the process of adding a parked domain is simple.
A new domain name comes with exciting potential. Whatever your goal is snatching up that online real estate, now you have a chance to do something with it. Go and make the most of your little section of the web.
Kristen Hicks is an Austin-based freelance content writer and lifelong learner with an ongoing curiosity to learn new things. She uses that curiosity, combined with her experience as a freelance business owner, to write about subjects valuable to small business owners on the HostGator blog. You can find her on Twitter at @atxcopywriter.