How To Choose The Right Server For Your Website – Step 3

You have an address, now all you need is a “house” to attach it to.  Buying server space these days is easy and cheap.  You can set up a website for a year for under £50 if you play your cards right.  The server is the big lump of computer sat in a building somewhere that your website “lives” on.

Tomo’s insider tip!! It’s always best to buy server space in the country you see yourself doing most business in.  If you are selling in the UK, buy server space from servers that are actually in the UK.  Likewise, if you are going to mainly target a US audience, then buy server space from a US based server.  Why?  Usual reason!  Google likes it. It will search UK servers for UK based inquires and US servers for US based inquiries.  You want to take every advantage you can to get you up that Google ranking.

To run WordPress you are best off with a Linux based site that has PHP5.

My recommendation for servers are as follows:

UK based server webhosting uk .  This is the webhost that all my websites are on.  They are cheap, efficient and easy to use.  They also give great support that helped me no end when I first wanted to put my site up and had no idea how to do it (you should avoid that problem cos you got this guide to explain all).  They give online support 24 hours a day and I have found this much more efficient than the telephone service which does keep you waiting a while.

US based server hostmonster.com.  Once more, these guys offer you a great deal and are excellent value for money.  They have top notch customer service and will supply you with everything you need even with the budget package.  Installing WordPress is as easy as clicking a button – no faffing around with uploading files or any of that nonsense!

Get stuck in!

  • Choose the server that best suits your market, click on the link above to take you to the website and buy the cheapest Linux package you can get.  They all fulfill the requirements you have of a server so it’s pretty impossible to go wrong.  If you get super enthusiastic at this web building malarkey then you can upgrade your account later – but that’s probably a long way down the line for you (I host 4 sites on my UK based server and have barely used a quarter of my capacity).

Buy A Domain Name – Step 2

Domain Name RegistrationDomain Name Registration
The domain name (or URL) is the address that all websites have.  It’s what makes them unique.  You can buy a domain name from hundreds of sellers.  I have always used domainmonster.com because they are efficient, have great prices and have a very simple control panel to allow you to use your domain name effectively.  Domain monster are also great with customer service.  If you have any problems at all, or are unsure of what to do, then you can ring them up and you will get through to a UK based call centre within a few rings.  Their staff are charming and helpful.  When I have to ring up about an issue I had I really could not fault the service.  Domainmonster rock!

Many host servers offer a free domain name when you buy server space with them.  If you want to you can do this rather buy one separately.  I personally like to have full control over my domain name so I leave it sat with domain monster and just point it at my server – easy to do and flexible for me if I want to change servers too.

Choosing a domain – There are a few things you need to think of when choosing a domain. If the possibility of selling your blog at some point in the future is there, you don’t want to use your actual name or brand in the domain name (i.e. johndoe.com) Instead, think of a good keyword phrase to target and use that in your domain name for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) purposes.

If you are out to brand your name however, you may want to think about using your name in your URL. This is all dependent on your goal with the blog. Just keep in mind, if you use your name in your domain name, it will most likely be extremely hard to sell the blog if there ever comes a time in which you decide to do so.

The option I chose was to register my domain name and simply 301 redirect it to my blog. This way I won’t lose the traffic from direct visitors of my name domain and I can still sell my blog in the future if I decide to do so. I can even market my name domain if I choose and since I’m using a 301 redirect all of that “link juice” aka authority will go to the actual blog. I’m still building my “brand” as the header image has my picture and the title includes my name. When a new visitor lands on the site, he or she immediately knows that the blog belongs to me.

Here are some other tips that you need to consider when choosing your domain name:

1.     Go for the regional address of your country if that’s your target market.  For example, if you are selling in the USA you need to be chasing a .com domain name.   If you want to sell spanners to people in the UK then you want a .co.uk address.  This is because search engines prefer regional addresses when they search, so someone searching for spanners in the UK will have the .co.uk results returned before the .com results.  If you can, avoid non-specific addresses like .net or .info because Google will not know instantly where the website is targeted for and give it less prominence in the rankings.

2.     Do your best to get the purpose of your business in your name.  So if you sell spanners in Britain you need to be aiming for “qualityspanners.co.uk” or some such.  You then have keywords that people will search for in your web address, moving you up the rankings.

3.     Avoid underscores, hyphens or any other not letters in your name.  These make it harder to type and harder for potential customers to remember.

4.     Keep the name sensible in length.  If it’s really long then people are going to forget it or type it wrongly and not find you as easily.

5.     Make it easy to remember and avoid words that are difficult to spell.  People will forget it or type it into the address bar wrong you’ve just lost a customer!  Take it from me, the owner of http://manchesterpsychotherapy.net , that this is good advice.  I had to teach myself how to spell psychotherapy, and I can see the myriad of variations of the spellings of the word that show up on my search information that lots of people haven’t got a clue either.  Manchestercounselling.com would have been a much better bet, but it had already gone

Have a think about what names you would like to have and type them into the search web address part of domain monster.  You can quickly find out whether the address is available in the format you want.  If you want .co.uk and .com is available then think of another name and get it right!  My policy is to find a name that I really like and then buy .com and .co.uk of that name.  I then redirect the .com  address to my .co.uk address so if someone makes a mistake when typing in the address in makes no difference – they still end up finding my site.

Your turn to get stuck in!

  • If you want to use domain monster to buy your domain name then I would ask you to click on the link on my website to take you to it.  I’ve made this guide free so I guess I’m asking for a favour from you.  If you go to the site via my link I’ll make a small profit and you will pay the same amount.  To do this simply click on the flashing monster in this article – see, even saves you typing!

You don’t, of course, have to buy your domain name through domain monster.  I recommend them because they have excellent prices and they make it very easy to manage your domain name.  The rest of this guide will be presuming you are using domain monster, but it should be easy to do the same with whatever seller you have registered your name to.

  • Think of a good name for your business that fits with the criteria mentioned above.
  • Buy that name.

Tomo’s insider tip!! If you can afford it (and, let’s face it, it’s not all that expensive!) buy the name for at least 2 years.  This is because Google likes names registered for longer than a year.  It shows commitment to your site and proves you are not a spam website that will do evil things and then disappear never to be seen again.

Well done!  You are now a proud owner of your very own domain name!

Choosing Your Website Platform – Step 1

use wordpress for your free websiteChoosing the software in which your website will run is extremely important. If you choose the wrong one you will be missing out on a great deal of useful features and it will be a nightmare to switch over to another once your site is established. You basically have 3 options; WordPress, TypePad or Blogger.

Each platform offers two different options to use their software. You can host it on your own domain or you can get a free blog and they will host it. The quickest and easiest option is obviously to get a free blog that is hosted by them. However, I HIGHLY recommend that you host it on your own domain. Here are a few good reasons for that:

1. You have complete control over your blog. No one can suspend your account etc. It’s your blog, you’re just using their software!
2. If you ever decide to sell your blog, you’re out of luck if you’re not hosting it on your own domain … you don’t own it so you can’t sell it!
3. Are people really going to take you serious if you’re using a free blog that you’re not even hosting yourself? You may lose credibility, as many people may think you’re not serious enough about your own blog.
4. Free blogging platforms restrict you from accessing files like the .htaccess file, which is a very important file to control when your blog becomes popular!

If you’re going to make a serious effort at this, you should pay £30 or so each year for your own domain.  This is easy to do and I will guide you through the process step by step.

Out of these three platforms WordPress wins the quality race hands down.  The reason WordPress is so incredibly popular and effective is because it allows you to easily install plugins. There are LOADS of plugins that will do just about anything you want and most of them are free.

Here are some reasons why I think WordPress is better than the rest:

It’s Free (always good).

It’s massive – WordPress has a huge community behind it that produces free themes (front end part of you website that everyone can see) and plugins (small programs that carry out a specific function like a secure contact box, or an affiliate link to amazon) that make your website fantastic.

It’s user friendly – if you have some familiarity with computers you should have little problem building a website that looks great and that ranks well on the Google search engine.

It looks great!  WordPress has loads of themes that stand out from the crowd.  You also have many options on some themes to customise your site to get it looking how you want it to.  The theme I use for all my websites including this one is a paid theme called Catalyst.  I recommend it to you wholeheartedly because it will give you total flexibility and freedom in the design of your website without having to learn any programming languages.  Go to the Catalyst website by clicking on this link.

We have pretty much established you need to be using WordPress (.org) for your website.  In a alter post I will explain how to install this onto your server.  The next step for you is to choose and buy a domain name.  Read my next post to find out all about this

Build Your Own Website – Introduction

free guide to building your own websiteIt is said that a new website is created every second of every minute of every hour of every day. Everyone from large Corporations and small businesses, to your average dude on the street are using websites and blogs these days to get their message out. Although this information seems a little intimidating, it’s relatively easy to reach the top 10% within your niche and it’s not extremely difficult to reach the top 1%.  In the therapy world you should not have too much of a problem building a high ranking site because most therapists don’t have a single clue as to what they are doing!

My name is Ian Tomlinson.  I am a Psychotherapist and Educator working in Manchester, England.  I also build websites and help therapists market themselves online.  I learnt to do all of this my teaching myself!  Here’s how the process works.  Read, do, fail, read some more, have a go, fail, read some more, interact with people who know, do, fail, scratch head, try something different, fail, try again, read, have some success, build on it, read, check things out with those who know, have more success, build on it – ta da!!! Successful website set up and pulling in clients.

I’m writing this series of posts to cut out a lot of that hard work and failure bit for you.  If I had a guide like this when I started then it would have massively speeded up the process for me.  I also wanted to make this information free because I believe in Karma!  Give and you will receive.  I’ll make no bones about it.  I have put affiliate links into the posts that, if you buy products or services through them I will make a small profit.  It won’t cost you a penny more.  If you are happy to do that then I thank you very much for showing me the support.  If you don’t want to do that, that’s cool too.  I also promise you that every product or service I recommend I use myself and I know will help the creation of your website more simple and result in a much better looking and performing site.

So, I hope you enjoy the information in these posts and I will be there to help you if you get stuck.  Just use the contact form on my site to give me a shout and I will do my best to point you in the right direction.  Let’s get started with the first post: choosing your software platform.