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    Jan 2012

    Digital Media – Getting Started – Web Hosts and Domains

    Posted by / in Marketing, Tips and Tricks / Link

    There are many web hosting companies out there. There are 100x as many lame web hosting review sites that surprisingly don’t include some of the largest hosting companies. It is easy to get mislead so I would not recommend review sites in this case. I would suggest asking people you trust and of course checking out your competitors.

    Jelly Belly Jelly Beans by Mrs Magic, on Flickr
    Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  Mrs Magic 

    I’ve used a fair number of web hosts over the years but have been quite happy with Netfirms, 1and1, and MediaTemple. This doesn’t mean you will be happy with these service providers – in fact, if you Google them, you will see the good, the bad and the ugly!

    Basic things to look for: established company; referred by people you trust; must have a control panel, ability to upload files via FTP or directly to server, backup services and tools for installing software.

    If privacy/confidentiality is a concern, use a Canadian host (see US Patriot Act).

    Types of Hosting

    Shared web hosting

    • cheapest; most popular – you have access to a small portion of a web server
    • 10-$20/month

    Virtual Private Server (VPS) web hosting

    • for businesses/e-commerce sites with multiple sites or high traffic – access to multiple web servers/resources; unmanaged (you do all the administration)
    • $30-$150/month

    Dedicated Server Hosting

    • you lease a server that is exclusively for your use (not shared)  – can do more things simultaneously – more power
    • $60/month – $2500+/month

    Choosing Domain Names (marketing+SEO)

    Domain Name Providers

    Again, there are many providers. I’ve used Yahoo Business, GoDaddy; 1and1; and Netfirms. Canadian registrars are listed with the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA).

    Budget $8 – $15/year for domain registration or renewal but it is best if you register for longer than a year – this shows that you’re in it for the long haul.  Look for: domain name control panel; domain forwarding; no restrictions on domain name transfers; no games like $0.99 the first year and then $19.99 thereafter! I would not trust sites that try to sucker you in with those sneaky tactics.


    • all of your contact info is shown when you register unless you have domain name privacy (added cost with some registrars) – see whois (lookup)
    • ·after you register a .ca site, you might get spam snail-mail from a registrar that wants to trick you into renewing with them – it looks like an official CIRA letter but it is not

    Choosing the Right Domain Name

    New vs. Existing

    New – cheaper but will have to work to establish the ranking

    Existing – like fine wine, the older the better – get indexed faster and rank higher (longevity=trust)

    Branded vs. Exact Match domain

    What do you want to do with the domain name? Branding?  Exact Match (exact keyword you want to target)?  The name can help increase rankings but only if it’s consistent with your “theme” – what you say on the site and the keywords you use.

    • Branded Domains – not niche specific; looks professional.
    • Exact Match Domains (EMDs) used to be favoured by Google but with the Google Panda update, brands seem to carry more weight.

    See what Google has to say:

    General rules

    • Keep it as short as possible (MRK634 vs. digitalmediadrivingbusiness)
    • Make it easy to remember and pronounce (bubbletea vs. taiwanstylepearlgreenmilktea or blackpearlmilktea)

    .com or .ca? .org? .net? .info? .others? depends on your business objectives

    • .ca has precedence on .ca search engines (assumes that a user limiting the search to Canada, wants Canadian-based info)
    • .com is universally known
    • .org makes sense if you’re a non-profit/non-commercial organization
    • .info is used if you’re providing info
    • .others (.mobi, .me, .tv, .xxx depends on your objective)

    numbers, dash or underscore in your domain name?

    • numbers  – don’t do it unless your brand is already established (9671111.com = pizzapizza.ca)
    • dash/hyphen – ok if necessary but difficult to remember and difficult to share verbally
    • underscore – hard to read; don’t use

    Checking if it’s available

    All domain name registration providers have a search function where you can see if your proposed domain name is available.


    Look for Digital Media – Getting Started – Web Content for a continuation of this week’s MRK634 digital media driving business lecture notes.

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