Webmaster Resources:
Domains and Web Hosting Solutions

So, you want to be a webmaster. After all, as many websites as there are out there, it can't be all that hard, right? Well, yes and no. It's easy to get started, but very tough to master. I've gathered some of my best tips and suggestions to help you get started.

Buying a Domain

First off, you're going to need a domain of your own. Sure, you could get a "free" domain from Geocities, but do you really want your site saying that you're too cheap to get your own domain? Really, as inexpensive as a domain name is these days, it's not that big an investment. You can pick up a name from GoDaddy for about $7 or so. Oh, and regardless of which domain name provider you use, be sure to search for promo codes to help save you a little money at checkout time.

Picking a Domain Name

Here's where things get a little trickier. The "gold standard" in domain names is still the "dotcom." The problem is, most of the "good names" are already taken. Some of them are being used for other websites, but others are just "parked," letting you know that they're for sale. Unless you're really stuck on a particular name, you're probably better off staying away from those. Even though it's a little more work, you can still come up with some great names if you use some creativity.

A few things to keep in mind: Regarding hyphens, they do make the site name tougher for your audience to remember, but they also make it easier for search engines to find and index your domain name. You should avoid domain names that include numbers or words that could have alternate spellings. Try to make your name memorable, and avoid names that are really long. Oh, and keep in mind, when you're combining two words, you might accidentally create a domain name that could be read in a completely different way than you intended (for example, a site for programmers called ExpertsExchange.com could easily be misread as ExpertSexChange.com!).

Some other basics: Your domain name should be the name of your site. Sometimes, if your chosen domain is already taken, your domain registrar will offer alternate choices. In addition, there are some sites that can suggest available domains that might work for your website.