Most businesses know that search engine optimization (SEO) is the centrepiece of their online presence. It improves a brand’s online visibility, searchability, and relevance. And, through SEO you can attract new prospects and increase your customers’ engagement and conversion rates. It helps brands to build trust and credibility. And it streamlines users’ experience and impacts your prospects’ buying cycle.
The first steps you must take to build an optimal online presence is to choose a domain name and website hosting provider. But, with so many options available and considering their impact on SEO, it’s difficult to make the right decision. So, here’s a brief on how to pick a domain name and web hosting for your business.
What Is a Domain Name?
A domain name is your business’ location in the digital world. It contains easy-to-memorize words which tell DNS servers which website you want to visit. It’s the user-friendly translation of an IP address. When you access the site using the domain name, your browser uses the IP address to tell the DNS server what site you’re searching for.
The structure of a domain name comprises, from right to left, general and specific descriptors. The top-level domain (TLD) or parent domain is on the right. The mid-level domain is in the middle and the machine name, respectively www, is to the left of the mid-level domain. All these elements are separated by periods. And when they’re combined, they create the fully qualified domain name.
How to Pick a Domain Name
You’ll find a variety of domain names including a company’s name, brand names, the owner’s name or keywords and different combinations of each. Whether or not the domain name has any relevance in Google’s ranking is a continuous debate among experts. You’ll discover a wide range of theories about the importance of a domain’s name, the TLD or age on the ranking of a site.
1. Relevance Beats Keywords
Google’s algorithm updates prevent the search engine from ranking sites based on the domain name. In 2012, Google started to check the relevance of exact match domains. And quality, relevant and valuable content beats the importance of keywords in the site’s domain.
2. Use Your Brand or Company Name
If you include the name of your brand or company in the site’s domain name, you’ll decrease bounce rates and increase user retention. Prospects will understand what they can expect to find on your site. So, you’ll improve your ranking and your corporate identity. It’ll add sentimental value to your site and convey a trustworthy brand message to prospects.
3. The Role of TLDs
On the influence of TLDs on site ranking, Google has officially stated that the new TLDs such as .guru, .brand or .how are treated exactly like the generic .com extensions. But a regional TLD such as .co.uk improves a site’s ranking in the UK more than in the US. And site’s with TLDs such as .info will rank high and achieve higher click-through-rates because they contain valuable information.
4. A Clean Reputation
Also, a site’s ranking is affected by the domain’s reputation in Google’s records. For example, a site which was penalized or identified as spam will not rank high in the search engine. Also, the age of the domain has an impact on its SEO performance. To find out when the domain was set up, you can use a variety of tools such as Netcraft.
So, when you choose your domain name you should consider your target audience and not its impact on SEO. Use a short, relevant and memorable name, which reflects your brand’s identity and site’s content.
What Is a Web Hosting Provider?
Most people confuse domain hosting with web hosting services. If you search for the terms domain name and website hosting and “what is a web hosting provider”, you’ll find that they involve different processes. Domain hosting comprises domain registration and its hosting while web hosting does not include a registration process. It refers to the steps taken after you register your domain.
Web hosting comprises resources and technologies necessary to set up your online presence. Hosting providers own physical storage facilities in data centres and offer the space in three methods including free, shared or dedicated hosting. And you can adjust your hosting package to create an online presence which you require.
What to Look for In a Hosting Package?
Before buying a web hosting package, you should consider its features such as the type of hosting, support, storage, bandwidth, server locations, the areas of specialization, the security levels, the price, and the general online reviews. Teaming up with the best web hosting provider is your initial capital investment for your business’ online visibility and successful performance.
1. Control and Access
When you’re checking the type of hosting available consider if you require separate infrastructure. Also, account for the required level of access and control. If you’re not technically savvy, check the quality of the provider’s tech support team and if they can handle the maintenance of your site. Look at the differences for shared, dedicated and VPS hosting or a fully managed hosting.
2. Support Channels
The support channels such as emails, forums, live chat, and telephone customer service play a main role in the decision process. Is the provider’s team available 24/7 or only during office hours? You’ll require immediate service for any damages, losses or shut-downs to avoid incurring huge costs.
3. Storage, Bandwidth and Overall Functionality
A top-quality hosting provider will offer a full range of functional features such as increased storage capacities, cPanel for software installations, reliable bandwidth and the possibility to host multiple domains on the same account.
4. Server Location
Also, if the server location is important to your business, search online to find the physical locations of the hosting provider’s data centre. And, depending on the operations of your business, you may require high levels of security. Consider if the provider can meet your expectations in terms of encryption and data confidentiality especially if you collect and process users’ personal details.
5. Compare Packages
To make sure that you’re getting great value for your money, you can use a variety of online comparison tools to check which company has the best offers. And check other users’ reviews available in specialized forums or dedicated review sites.
Wrapping It Up
Both the site’s domain name and web hosting provider influence your business’ online presence. To increase your brand’s awareness in the digital world you should choose a relevant, short, catchy, and memorable domain name. It should reflect your brand’s identity and convey the right message to your target audience.
Also, choosing the right web hosting provider impacts the performance of your site in the online world. Consider a provider which allows you to customize your hosting package depending on your requirements. Make sure you know the location of the servers and the level of security offered.
Ask about what type of tech support is available. Imagine if your server shut down early morning on a Saturday. You’d need immediate help. So, your best approach is to aim for 24/7 top-quality tech support which also includes site maintenance. But also account for your budget and other users’ reviews.