You did it. You finally managed to buy a domain of your dreams. Congratulations! This is an important first step in building your company’s online presence.
But before you’re up and running and make your first direct online sale, there are some additional steps you need to take to set yourself up for success and secure your company’s future in the digital space.
This article will share 5 important steps to take once you register your domain name.
1. Protect Your Domain Name
Registering your domain simply means that no one else can register the same name during your registration period. Unfortunately, registering the name isn’t enough to protect your brand name. Malicious actors can register similar-looking domains to attempt to profit from your brand name. To protect yourself, you should trademark your brand name with the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH). A trademark will protect you from infringing domains, such as alternate extensions, misspellings, etc.
However, simply having a trademark only protects you after someone else registers an infringing domain. If that were to happen, you’d have to go to court proceedings, etc. Instead, prevent infringing registrations from occurring in the first place to avoid the headache of court proceedings. Consider:
- Purchasing a blocking service such as AdultBlock that automatically blocks registrations for your name across the adult-themed TLDs – .XXX, .ADULT, .SEX, and .PORN.
- Defensively registering similar-looking domains and popular alternate extensions.
2. Purchase a Web Hosting Plan
Once you are protected, you need to get a web hosting plan for somewhere to house your website. There are tons of web hosts out there that offer bare-bones web hosting services – many registrars even offer hosting services. However, you should look at dedicated web hosting companies such as Bluehost or HostGator. They tend to provide the best service and offer the most bang for your buck.
There are two types of hosting, shared hosting and dedicated hosting.
Shared hosting means that you share a server with other users, while dedicated means you have your own server. If you have a small or medium-sized website, you should be fine with shared hosting as it is an affordable option. However, if your website is very large and/or sends and receives sensitive information, dedicated hosting is a better option. Dedicated hosting has more robust security and custom options.
Once you have a hosting plan, you need to point your domain name to your web host. This is quite simple. Just log into your registrar and update your nameserver information. Your registrar or web host will help you through this process if you have any questions.
3. Build Your Website
Of course, this step is crucial. After all, why register a domain for your brand if you’re not going to build a website?
Because this is the most important step, it requires the most work. And there are many different ways you can build a website at many different price points. We’ll cover the main three, from least to most expensive:
Use a website builder.
This is the cheapest option as it requires little to no technical or design skills. Everything is already templated out and you can essentially plug and play. Popular website builders include Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly.
Website builders are great for small blogs or businesses just starting. However, as your company grows, you may find that they lack customization options needed to build your brand and set yourself apart from the competition.
WordPress is a free website building tool that offers more customization for your site than website builders, but it requires more technical knowledge, specifically coding. It also requires much more setup and maintenance work than website builders.
WordPress is a great option that offers the benefits of website builders with the added benefit of coding customization.
Use custom code.
This is the most expensive option. It allows you to make your website stand out as much as possible while also adding some functionality that may not be possible on a WordPress site.
Sites built from scratch are the most expensive because all the coding needs to be done from the ground up, with no existing framework. That also means any changes and updates to the site will take a lot more time. However, if your budget permits, hiring a professional web designer to build a custom site is a great option that can set your brand apart.
4. Build Your Social Media Presence
When building your brand, you should make sure to create a social media presence that works in tandem with your domain name. That means ensuring all of your social names match your domain name (this may not be possible, but do your best!). The goal is to reach as many people as possible, all while communicating consistently across all mediums.
So if your domain is footballnews.com, your Facebook should be facebook.com/footballnews.
5. Create a Branded Email Address
Last, to add legitimacy to your site, you should create an email address that matches your domain name. For example, firstname.lastname@example.org looks much more professional than email@example.com. Don’t let your customers mistake your communications as spam!
What are you waiting for? Your website is ready to be built, and your customers are ready to visit.