Introduction – Get Organized – Where to start – Action Plan – Research – Hosting and Domains
This can be a complete business on its own and a large portion of my income over the long term comes from hosting.
Alternative WordPress Hosting Blue Host Great Australian Hosting at Ventrip
Tip 1 –Make sure when you start looking for domain names that you are ready to buy. I am sure there are programs out there looking at what you enter and if you don’t buy it there and then you could come back tomorrow and see it gone. It has happened to me a few times.
Tip 2 – Always buy your domain names through a registrar like Name Cheap, after all your want control. Early in my time on the internet I bought one with my hosting and it did quite well. Unfortunately the hosting company didn’t and it was very hard to get my domain name back so I could change hosting companies.
To succeed in life in today’s world, you must have the will and tenacity to finish the job.
I know you want the Internet equivalent of 40 acres, where you can grow electronic mail, raise a small herd of Web pages and maybe someday open a little electronic cottage industry of your own, all with your own unique electronic brand. dot something. dot anything.
It used to be technically difficult for the average computer users to get their own personal, second-level Internet domain names — the part of an E-mail address to the right of the ”@” and the part of the World Wide Web address that typically follows www.
But if you could figure out how to do it, registering a domain name was free, and good names were plentiful.
No more. The Internet is now the world’s fastest-growing economy, and the commercialization of the Internet has created a feeding frenzy for domain names. A combination of greed, government bureaucracy, technical jingoism and wild consumer speculation has thrown the Internet addressing system into chaos.
With over 3 billion people on the Internet, domain names are already a precious commodity. An Internet domain name is not just the equivalent of a telephone number and mailing address but also a status symbol, a powerful marketing tool and a vanity license plate. A while ago, someone in Texas was reported to have paid $150,000 for the name business.com. Today they would pay so much more.
As the Internet grows, catchy domain names are becoming scarce. It can be difficult to find a domain name that best suits your needs because so many other people in your field might be thinking of the same domain name. So, you must be creative and brainstorm a little while to decide on the right domain name for you.
Brainstorming to Choose a New Domain Name
I tend to go with a fairly long business name. My first was Multiple Streams of Income. This then broke down to MSI and so if I wanted a catchy name I could simply enter in MSI something and be fairly confident that I could get that domain name.
So I have things like msijukebox.com, msiwebvideo.com, msiprompt.com and so on. I have sold most of my products and websites now.From this point always have an exit strategy.
These are all old products I sold as they reached their use by date. Most products you create will have a shelf life and so its good to be able to sell them towards the end of that shelf life.
It also provides a good exit strategy if later you want to sell your business or website.
Write down these four things before getting started:
*Your company or organization name.
*Your products or services.
*Who is your target audience?
*Are you planning to do heavy advertising and branding for your domain name or small-business marketing?
These four factors can help you come up with a great domain name. When you buy or register a domain name, you must consider these things before getting started because they will help determine how effective certain types of domain names will be. Search engines place a fair bit of importance on how the domain name fits with the content of your site
Can’t I Just Use My Company Name?
You shouldn’t use your company name as a domain name unless your company is well-known to the general public, or you plan to make it well-known through heavy branding. The only other time you should use your company name is if the name is short and simple, and if it reflects the type of business you operate.
For example, if you own a company called “The Roland Brothers” and sell children’s toys, then the company name is not related to the product you sell. Visitors to your site will have a difficult time remembering this domain name. Maybe a better domain name would be RBToys.com
However, if your company name is “Tot Toys, Inc.” you could easily secure the domain name “tot-toys.com” or something similar if that one is not available, and you’ll still have an effective domain name. This all depends on what you have to offer and how the company name relates.
Otherwise, follow these simple rules to buy a domain name:
*Keep it simple.
*Keep it short.
*Avoid excessive dashes or other symbols within your main domain name.
*Choose a “.com” domain name if possible if you plan to operate an online business. Or, choose “.org” for an organization, “.edu” for an educational site, and so on. Go local for a local business.
That’s all there is to it for brainstorming! As you’ll see in the next step, to buy a domain name is easy, choosing it is usually the hardest part!
How to Buy | Register the Domain Name after Choosing One
Once you have a great domain name in mind, you must go online to a “Domain Registrar” site to check for availability of that particular domain name.
We use Namecheap and GoDaddy though we are using Namecheap a lot more as GoDaddy is just getting to much advertising and you have to wade through it all before you get to finalize your purchase.
You can check as many domain names as you want at no charge.
Some sites will even offer alternatives for your domain name if it is unavailable. So, visit your chosen registrar site and locate the “Register Domain Name” form.
Type in the domain name you have chosen and select an extension (.com, .org, .net, .edu, etc.).
If you want a country specific one like .com.au for Australia look for a local registrar like Crazy Domains.
It’s really easy to buy a great domain name, but the whole process can be confusing for beginners. Use the tips above to register a great domain name today! Then, submit the domain name to check for availability. If the domain name is available, you can continue registering it right then and there.
Thinking of the Future
Another factor to consider is what your site might look like in the future. I’ve seen a number of designers start up sites with domains that fit with the topic of the site initially but which outgrow the domain down the track. In one instance the problem was that the site started on a fairly narrow topic (a sub-niche) but in time it expanded it’s topic as the industry changed. In the end the topic and name just didn’t fit.
Another ‘future factor’ to consider is how many sites you’re thinking of starting on your domain.
Take a look at About.com for an example of how it’s possible to have one domain with many blogs running off it. They blog (yes they are blogs – run by MovableType) ‘about’ hundreds of topics and have a domain name that suits this perfectly.
I myself have fallen into the trap of not thinking ahead in this way with my Sound Bites Newsletter domain where I used to have a newsletter on Internet audio marketing.
It started off as a newsletter for my streaming audio products and has almost out grown this niche. I guess this is an example of how ultimately it doesn’t matter what domain you start on if it’s a site that does pretty well – however I often wonder how much better if could have done if I’d just thought ahead a little more!
Lastly on the ‘future front’ – don’t pick a name that you suspect might date quickly. Picking a name that is time specific in any way might find you searching for a new domain when it is no longer relevant at some future time.
Of course if you sell time sensitive products then with your own hosting you can buy and set up a site very quickly and just run for a specific time.
There are a range of opinions on what the ideal length of a domain name is. Technically you can have one with up to 67 characters in it but it is generally accepted that short ones are better for a number of reasons including that they are easier to remember, that they leave less room for making mistakes when typing them in, they are good for word of mouth (online or offline) marketing, that they are more visually pleasing (eg on your business card) etc.
The other argument is that if you are looking for SEO traffic that you might like to consider a longer domain name with a number of the keywords that you’re looking for traffic on.
My personal preference these days is for shorter domains if possible, but not just for the sake of being short. Plus short names are very popular and hard to find these days so you might be forced to consider something a little longer anyway.
For products I sell online and will never have a business card for I go long and specific. http://msincome.com
Another eternal debate with domain names is over the value of hyphenated names. For example a hyphenated version of our site might be Web-Marketing-For-Profit.com. There are two main reasons that some people prefer hyphenated names:
Availability – one of the main reasons for going with hyphens is that ‘all the good names are taken’ (or at least it can seem this way). Adding hyphens to names definitely gives more options.
SEO – hyphens are said to identify keywords to search engines more clearly (once again there is some debate over this).
Of course for every positive there is a negative and the arguments against keywords include:
Memorability – adding hyphens can make it tricky for readers to remember your name
I personally don’t mind a domain with one (maybe two) hyphens in them but domains-that-have-lots-of-them-frustrate-me-and-turn-me-off.
Another option to consider when choosing a domain on a topic that is quite crowded is to include a number at the beginning or end of it. Once again this increases your chances of finding a domain with your keyword in it but could ‘cheapen’ the sound of your domain (a matter of personal opinion of course).
Most ‘experts’ in this area argue that a domain name should be easy to spell, pronounce, remember and type. Web users are notoriously lazy and if your site is not easy to find then they might just quickly give up trying to find it. As a result the easier you can make your domain to remember and access the more chance you have of traffic to it from repeat readers.
Keeping it Legal
it is highly recommendable to think seriously about the legal implications of the words you use in your domain name. Avoid trademarked names especially. I know of a couple of instances where marketers were forced into making changes months into new site because of legal threats. Whether these laws vary from country to country I’m unsure – but it’s worth considering if you’re picking a domain that might clash in this way.
The ‘Blog’ Word
One temptations for many marketers is to use the word ‘blog’ in the name and URL of their blog. This has the advantage of opening up new options for domain names but can also have some costs. For starters it could see the possibilities for expanding your site down the track limited. If one day you don’t want to run your site in a blog format you might feel a bit trapped. The other reason is that if you are wanting to use AdSense as an income stream for your blog down the track, it has a problem of serving ads about blogging when the word ‘blog’ appears too prominently on a site. This is ok when your blog is about blogging – but isn’t too conducive to high ad relevancy if you’re writing on a different topic.
Secure Multiple Domains
One piece of advice that many experienced web-masters recommend is making sure that you secure other similar domain names to the one you eventually choose. For example, if you choose a .com domain name it might be worth getting the .net and .org ones if you can, or perhaps even getting plurals or other logical similar ones. This is not essential but might help you protect your niche in some circumstances.
Opinions of Others
Before you buy that domain you’ve been eyeing off – it might be worthwhile running it by one or two other trusted friends (who won’t run off and buy it themselves). It’s amazing how focused you can become on finding the right name and how that can cloud your judgement. It’s also interesting to see how a name might sound to a person of a different culture to your own. Words mean different things in different part of the world and it could help you avoid an embarrassing mistake or just a dorky blog name.
Previously used Domain Names
It’s worth checking to see if a domain has been previously registered. Spammers often buy up domain names and then abandon them later once they’ve used them up. This can leave these domains banned by Google which gets you off to a pretty poor start.
Of course the above points are not hard and fast rules. As I’ve mentioned many times before – some of the worse domain names on sites have ended up being quite successful. I have blogs trapped on domains that were not thought through very well (largely because I didn’t know any better and that’s the way things evolved) – some of them do poorly and others do very well.
There’s more to a blog’s success or failure than it’s name or URL – all I’m arguing is that a wise choice in this can better your chances in the long term.
Some tools you might like to use in selecting a domain name include:
Nameservers – Moving your domain to your hosting
Once you register your domain and buy your hosting you will need to join them together. Your domain name will be parked at the register that you choose and until we move it you cannot add your website.
Adding Name servers is pretty simple and is a core skill.
Log into your Namecheap or Godaddy account. We will do this for namecheap first.
All the registrants have good tutorials on how to manage your account.
We do this with what is called nameservers.
These are just two lines of code (text) we add to our domain in the admin of the registrar.
Obviously depending on the hosting company the name will differ however the process is the same.
Log into Namechaeap and click on the domain you need to add the nameservers to.
Then click on the Nameservers link in the menu and add your nameservers as
shown in the video.
Now it will take a little while for it to take. Anything from a few minutes to 24 hours.
Once it propagates over the net you will see your site you registered live and until
then it will still show the registration at Namecheap.
The process is the same basically for hostgator.
Set up Your Domain Name Servers Go Daddy
To set up your domain name servers:
- Log in to your Account Manager.
- In the My Products section, click Domains.
- Use the checkbox(es) to select the domain name(s) you want to modify.
- Click Nameservers.
- Select Custom nameservers.
- In the Nameserver fields, enter the nameservers. You must enter at least two for
your hosting account.
- Click OK.
Allow 4-8 hours for .COM and .NET domains and 24-48 hours for all other domain extensions DNS changes to take effect.
Once this stage is done we only return here to either register a new domain, renew an account or change the nameservers.
Reseller Hosting – Hosting for profit
Not many people want to share this information because it is a real money spinner.
The only reason I am ready to spill the beans is that I have built up a great clientele and thought it was time to let my members in on the secret.
I have been active on the Internet since 1998 and have never paid for any hosting for my websites by using the programs and strategies I am going to lay out in this workshop for you. I now run around 150 sites for myself and use these programs myself and never pay a penny for hosting.
WEBHOSTING: is the business of housing, serving, and maintaining files for one or more Web sites. We will be talking about you becoming the hosting provider in this workshop so it is important not to get this confused with buying a normal hosting account.
There are plenty of great paid hosting accounts and we have listed the two main ones we we use, Hostgator and Site 5. Alternative WordPress Hosting Blue Host
When you go to these sites click on the reseller hosting tab. This will allow you to add unlimited domains for one small fee and also resell to others. The plain plans for around $5 to $6 will allow you to set up many domains on one account but you cannot resell through these smaller packages.
Finally as you start to see the potential of this market you maybe lured to think it is money for nothing. While it is an excellent way to make a lot of extra residual income the secret is in the service. Try and read our important steps before making your decision. Backing up files and sites and providing excellent service will bring you more clients and if anything happens you will be ready.
I have a number of reseller accounts and the tendency is to set and forget. Well a few years ago one of my old hosting companies went out of business and all the clients started to email me because their sites went down. I tried to contact the company but to no avail. Believe me when 60 customers get on your back you can feel like curling up to die but it happens.
IMPORTANT: Contact your customers once a month and remind them to back up. This is also a great way to introduce any new products you might have to release and also to send them some articles or information to help them.
Don’t make it a big selling frenzy. Just be open and caring.
The outcome was that I did not loose one customer and in fact I got more referrals because of my great service. I was able to get most of the sites back up and running in a few days.
The point is there are plenty of great reseller programs around but business is business and sometimes bad things happen.
Service in the hosting business is KING!
I simply went out and got another reseller package and sent them the new instructions and most had their sites back up in a couple of days.
You could even backup the sites yourself once a month as an added service. Believe me service like this pays big dividends.
Always be on the lookout for additional products to help your customers and try them out yourself before suggesting them.
Some other good things to provide your customers are tutorials on how to utilize their hosting more efficiently. Because we are mainly looking at UNIX plans they can have php and mysql programs for free in a lot of cases.
Be pro active.
Before we get going there is one last thing to discuss before we get into the mechanics. Keep good accounts. Always make sure you have scheduled when a package is coming up for renewal and advise the customer. Again it is all about providing excellent service. All the services I suggest have this built in or it can be added on.
Customers and Promoting – Add Value
Lets be honest right up front. Web Hosting is a great business however it is also very competitive. I am going to share with you how I have built a great hosting business.
Tip One – Don’t try and compete with the big guys.
There are literally hundreds of people selling hosting however there are niches where you can get a lot of customers. Local businesses, local papers etc. Lets face it people like to have some one they can reach and talk to. This also means you can charge a premium price.
Example: A local politician wanted a new website and knew I provided hosting so contacted me. He already had a site but wanted to change it to a Content Management site. He paid a premium price for me to transfer all the current information and set it up. I used Word Press blog as a CMS which is free. I contracted someone to copy his site graphics into the blog and then I copied and pasted all the information across. Why was he willing to pay so much more.
I simply offered a service which his current hosting company did not. It was costing him a fortune every time someone did something on his site. I simply charged what the other company was charging and added a little for the time to install and copy the software, and buffered in some training how to use the program. Another very happy customer. I used Camtasia to make some training videos for him and his staff which meant it was a hands free project. I use these now for all my new customers.
Tip Two – Add value to your hosting.
Learn some of the more advanced systems like forums, Word press, photo galleries etc. Things that people may want. You can do it all to a test site to show them before going live. Many of the added features can be auto loaded through plugins which you will find in this package.
If they just want a plain website you can add streaming audio. Take their audio and compile it for them and offer to embed in their page. This can be a great money spinner as most people still think it is only for big corporate sites. You can also set up a Youtube channel and add their videos for them and add to their site.
Offer to take their brochures and convert to pdf. You can pick up an older version of Acrobat at auctions etc. There are also some good 3rd party ones around. Here is a good one http://sourceforge.net/projects/pdfcreator/
Here is another greatPDF creator called Primo PDF www.primopdf.com You can also add this tool as a bonuse when they host with you. Build a package of tools for them to use.
All these additional services and tools mean you can increase the cost from very basic hosting to 10 and 20 times what you would get if you just sell hosting like everyone else. Learn how to stand out from the crowd.
Pdf995 makes it easy and affordable to create professional-quality documents in the popular PDF file format. Its easy-to-use interface helps you to create PDF files by simply selecting the “print” command from any application, creating documents which can be viewed on any with a PDF viewer.
Tip Three – Find a local graphic artist. There are plenty of budding artists and web graphics people around. Universities, school children, at home mums that will do it for very reasonable prices and then you add on your commission. I have used a young uni guy I found a couple of years ago and we have developed a great relationship. I think I have almost paid for his uni course. He has also introduced me to some other great people.
Tip Four – Advertise in local places. I have found most of my customers locally. I did this through small ads in local papers, handouts to local businesses and as I started to get a few going they referred the rest. This has also given me other work creating eBooks and pdf documents for them. I am also now getting computer work that I use some of those uni students for. Businesses pay quite well for good service and advice. Find a good computer hardware wholesaler locally and do a deal for computers etc and add on your commission.
Tip Five – Offer spotters fees. Many of my customers have come through people just getting to know that I am local and offer good service. I offer a spotters fee depending on what product they buy. Word of mouth is the most powerful form of advertising in this area.
Tip Six – Offer your new hosting package to your current customers. Many of you will already be selling other products etc so this is another service you can upsell to current customers. You may have friends with businesses so you could also tap into their data base of customers by offering to share the profits. If they do mail outs to their customers see if you can add a small brochure. It doesn’t have to be anything to spectacular.
Tip Seven – Check out the local competition. Look in your local yellow pages and find any companies offering the same sort of products. You will find they charge a small fortune selling what you can do for a lot less. They have probably ruled the local market for years. A friend of mine was quoted $7000 for about 10 pages and a few multimedia bits and pieces. It would also cost her about $50 every alteration etc and more for new pages. I told her to come around and I would have a look. We installed a CMS Blog for her and built her first 10 pages and now she does all the work herself. She has become a customer for life and pays her hosting every year. We saved her $6000 and she could not be happier. Naturally she has referred quite a few customers our way.
Tip Eight – Thinking outside the square. A great way to find customers is to use your local library or community centre. In many cases they will let you run free courses and have internet connections already set up. Our local library has a small room with 6 computers that will let anyone run a course and use their equipment as long as you do not sell anything.
Run a courses on web page creation. How to use goggle adwords and adsense. How to add graphics, audio or how to set up a family photo site. How to set up a blog. There are so many of these you could do for free and of course they will want hosting which you can provide. The secret here is not to sell the hosting but to offer it as a service. Again word of mouth will spread you name far and wide.
If you do not know how to do some of these things then learn them. There are plenty of free tutorials online you can copy or base your own courses around. You can then put the tutorials on a cd and give it to them for free with a link to your hosting page.
Tip Nine – E-Commerce. Find a couple of good ecommerce solutions and help your customers set these up. Most have affiliate programs you can use to make that little bit of extra income. You will find plenty in this course.
Summary – Providing hosting is a great revenue generator because it is recurring and in most cases if you keep up contact and provide training in your newsletters people will do most of the work themselves. Actually this is your aim to 1make them self sufficient except for your hosting which they will need.
Always see what competition is available locally and I am sure you will find that by using the above tips you can sell your packages for a lot more than you would get just by selling online and competing with all the other hosting companies. Remember to always be on the look out for additions products and services you can add to the package to add value.