The easiest part of starting a new website project is registering the domain name. After that things start getting a little complicated, but they don’t need to be. In this post I’ll share some quick tips for learning how to effectively manage your domains to make the best use of your time.
Sign Up For Hosting
After you register your domain name, the first step to get your website live is to signup with a hosting company. Many domain registration companies also offer hosting packages, but sometimes it’s good to keep them separate. For example, I register all my domains with GoDaddy but host with MidPhase. Most of my websites are WordPress blogs, and for the money and service MidPhase is great. But it all depends on what you need your hosting provider to do.
Set Your Name Servers
Once your hosting is in place you can login and set your name servers. Name servers, also called DNS or “Domain Name Servers” are programs that translate names from one form into another. Website addresses are actually numeric, and name servers translate them into words that humans can better remember and understand, such as directoryjournal.com.
Get An Email Host
You’ll also need to setup an email account for your website. This is often accomplished through your hosting provider, but can also be done through a webmail service such as Gmail or Yahoo. The only drawback with using webmail services is that you have to use their website address. By setting up your own email hosting, you can have an email address that maps back to your domain name, such as email@example.com. Hosting companies also provide turnkey email services which provide total control over your email including email forwarding, list management, email filters, anti-virus protection and autoresponders.
Setup Auto-Renew On Your Domain
Most website hosting companies provide a domain name “Auto-Renew” feature that automatically renews your domain name on its expiration date. This is critical for ongoing website management, especially if your website produces income. This also avoids the embarrassment of “losing” an existing site to someone else who picks up the domain name after the expiration grace period. If, however, you have only reserved a domain name and have not implemented a website yet, you may want to turn off the auto-renew feature to save money.
Lock status is a code that can be set by your domain name registration company and is a best practice. This prevents unauthorized, unwanted or accidental changes to your domain name. That way you are virtually guaranteed that no changes can be made to your domain without your authorization.
Also known as a redirect, URL forwarding is a common technique for making a web page available under a different URL. This is often done for marketing purposes. For example, if the URL to your landing page is www.greatsite.com/products/buytoday, you could setup a forwarded URL to that same page by redirecting another domain name that you also own and that is easier to remember, such as www.greatbuystoday.com.
At some point you may want to sell or transfer ownership of your website to someone else. This is done through your registrar’s domain transfer service. Once your domain has been registered for a minimum of 60 days you can initiate a domain transfer. This ensures that the parties involved in the transaction provide the appropriate information needed to make sure the transfer is conducted smoothly and in a timely manner.
Over To You
Most domain registrars have a “domain management” section of their website that you can access once you are logged in to your account. After you have registered your domain name, play around with each of these features and get to know how they work. You’ll be an expert in no time.