By this point, you should fully understand first and foremost that it’s possible! If you are able to browse the internet, send emails and play games then you are in the exact same position I was in just a few years ago. If I can build online startups so can you!
1. INTRODUCTION TO OUTSOURCING
2. BUSINESS IDEA GENERATION
3. FINDING AND BUYING A GOOD .COM DOMAIN
4. LOGO DESIGN AND BRANDING
5. WEBSITE TEMPLATE SELECTION AND CUSTOMIZATION
6. SERVER SETUP AND HOSTING
7. CODING AND PROJECT WRAP UP
The next thing that you should have done by now is decided on what you are going to build as your first project. Remember to keep in mind that this build is for learning purposes and you should be focused on gaining experience rather than trying to build a million dollar idea on the first try.
FINDING AND BUYING A GOOD .COM DOMAIN
Buying a domain name is really easy. Basically, the process involves entering a proposed name into a search bar and checking to see if the domain name is available. If the domain is available you have the ability to purchase it, in most cases with PayPal or a credit card.
There are a lot of different sites where you can purchase domain names. I personally use www.namecheap.com. The other big name in the industry is www.godaddy.com, I prefer to use Namecheap just because GoDaddy will buy up domains internally and then try to sell them as “premium domains” for thousands of dollars. Now I’m sure that Namecheap does the same thing but GoDaddy kind of rubs it right in your face and I guess it pisses me off.
There are many other domain registration websites some of which may be a dollar or two cheaper or more expensive. Today I’m only going to mention the top 2 and just leave it at that.
Now the first rule that everyone should be aware of is that if you are looking to build a website that is meant to be easily found by other people then you want to focus all your efforts on a .com extension.
I do use other domain extensions for projects that I don’t need to showcase or for things that I like to keep out of the spotlight or hidden. Anything that I want to actually show to people such as a business, a brand or even a personal portfolio I always make sure to secure a .com domain.
Now the second rule is that you want to avoid any difficult to spell words, any kind of underscores or weird symbols and also avoid numbers mixed in with letters. Basically, the bottom line is that you want to keep it simple and easy and avoid any possibility of confusion at all costs.
On top of that, you have to find something that represents your brand and is not currently registered. This can be very tricky because many of the good .com domains are simply taken.
There are basically three main strategies when it comes to selecting a domain name. Always remember that these are just guidelines and my personal thoughts, don’t ever be afraid to break some rules and try out your own ideas or the ideas of others.
• The first option is to have a domain that will allow a stranger to see it for the first time and be able to guess what your company is about.
• The second option is to go with a completely abstract term or a made up word like Yahoo or Google for example.
• The third option is to build a personalized brand that incorporates the use of either your name or something else that represents you personally.
The first thing I like to do is brainstorm several keywords that would be suitable as a part of the domain. An easy way to do this is to simply run a Google search for the business you are looking to build. In this case, I Googled web design and came up with the following examples.
Now the beautiful part of building a web design or web development company is that you can literally take any of these keywords and slap a cool word either in front or behind it and you have a pretty legit brand name.
Let’s use the word FOX as an example:
– Fox Design, Fox Studios, Fox Graphics, Fox Web Design, Fox Developments.
Now let’s put it after the keyword and see what we get.
-Design Fox, Studio Fox, Graphic Fox, Web Design Fox, Development Fox.
As you can see some of these work and others simply do not but what should be noticed is just how easy it is to create a cool brand name with these very basic principles.
Now when browsing for available domains and actually trying to find something that is available I will sometimes use Godaddy not to purchase a domain but to get ideas from the search tool.
You can see here that foxwebdesigns.com is taken, however by selecting only .com extensions below I am able to see a bunch of suggestions of available .com names on the bottom right. Most of the time these domain suggestions suck and are not what you are looking for, but every once in a while something pops up. Just having these suggestions pop when you are searching is a very valuable tool that can sometimes spark a creative idea and allow you to find that hidden gem you are looking for.
Another tool that I LOVE is a free tool that keeps track of all of the recently expired domain names that have just popped back onto the market. This tool is called www.justdropped.com. This tool is very valuable and has been responsible for helping me find some great brand names over the years.
So how does it work?
Well, it’s quite simple, basically, this tool will allow us to input a keyword and run a search to see if any domain names containing that keyword have recently expired and have become available in the marketplace.
Additionally, I can select the domain extensions we want to search for, we only are interested in .com domains so we will uncheck everything else. I will also set the character length to 15 letters so that we don’t have any super long domain’s coming up that we have to go through. And last but not least we will set the results to the last 30 days so that we get a decent amount of results to look at.
For this tutorial we will use the keyword “design” and now we will run our search and see what we get.
As you can see there is a tremendous amount of results. All of these domains have just come back onto the market within the last 30 days and there will be some gems that have slipped through the cracks that someone forgot to renew.
So now the next step of the process is to basically manually go through the results until you find the one you’re looking for. Sometimes this can take a few minutes, other times it will take me a day or two to find a suitable domain name. What I will tell you is that I have locked down some sick 6 and 7 letter .com domains using these techniques.
Let’s check out our search results and see what popped up. Here is a list of some of the results that could potentially work.
Okay, I made it down to the “M’s”. As you can see there are a few options that have popped up from this search. I could also repeat this search using different keywords and produce an entirely new set of results.
Another amazing tool that is an absolute beast is www.impossibility.org. This tool will allow you to insert a keyword and then run a search which will automatically add a noun, verb or adjective to the start or end of that word. The results that you get back from your search will contain a list of domains that are currently available for purchase.
Using these techniques in combination with manually searching on Namecheap or Godaddy will allow you to find what you are looking for it will simply take some time and determination on your part.
So once you find a domain that is available you simply add it to your shopping cart and complete your purchase. With Namecheap, you receive 1 year of free WHOIS protection, which is basically a service that keeps your registration information confidential. So if anyone tries to see who owns your domain they will not be able to see your personal information while WHOIS protection is activated. After the free first year is up I believe it costs like 3 bucks a year to renew.
**Alpha Pro Tip**
Once you find a domain name and you make your first purchase your naturally going to think that you just pulled a fast one and scored a sweet gem. It will seem like this because you likely just spent hours searching. It’s easy to believe that your new company name is now the hottest new thing on the face of the planet. Now it’s important to avoid a mistake that I and many other new entrepreneurs make at this stage.
When I built my first website I bought the domain www.logomastermind.com. Thinking that I needed to protect my brand I also bought the .biz, .org, and the .ca. I didn’t actually make a sale with this website or ever use the other domains, it was all just a waste of money. I’ve seen others do this as well so it’s important to avoid it when you feel the urge.
Buying the actual domain for your new project is always exciting and makes everything feel real. If you have made it to this step and built up the courage to spend your first 10 dollars then good for you! You’re going to need more of that courage on the road ahead.
This process is going to seem complicated and scary the first time you do it. You need to know that these feelings are normal. By the end of this guide, all of these feelings of fear and anxiety will be replaced with legit experience and confidence.
If you have any questions or need any help make sure to leave a comment below. Also, if you have any tips or tricks that I have not mentioned that you would like to share with the community we would love to hear from you.
Check out PART 4: LOGO DESIGN AND BRANDING