Establishing Your Web Presence
by Vishal P. Rao

Part of the success of most home-based businesses is their 
web presence. After all, you want to benefit from the global 
exposure, reduced marketing expenses, and low entry costs. But 
to receive those benefits, you must first get your web site off 
the ground which means you need to select an effective domain 
name and find reliable web hosting.

The tips below can help you accomplish both goals successfully.


When it comes to choosing your web site's domain name, you need 
to keep a few things in mind:

1) Your domain name should relate directly to the product or
service you provide. Avoid picking a name that is vague or 
misrepresents your company.

2) Your domain name should be easy to remember. Keep the
name as short as possible, but do not use unconventional
spellings or add hyphens just to secure a version of the
name you want.

3) Your domain name should be simplistic. Do not pick words
which may be difficult to spell or which have multiple
spellings. Also, select words and phrases that are common
and easy to pronounce, especially if you are aiming your
business toward the general public.

4) Your domain name should be a .com address whenever
possible. Avoid selecting the less common extensions which
cost more to register and which will be largely unfamiliar
to your clients.

Once you do select a domain name, you should consider
registering other variations of the name. That way if
someone uses the wrong extension or adds a hyphen, he 
or she still end up right where you want them.

Here are some good places to register your domain: (Recommended)


You could literally go crazy trying to compare all of the
hundreds of hosting plans and providers on the market. To
narrow down your options, talk to friends and business
associates who have professional web sites. 

Ask them which providers they use or recommend. A number of
Internet sites, such as CNET and Epinions, allow users to
share their thoughts about web hosting companies, so their
input could be valuable in your search also.

Once you've found a manageable number of potential providers, 
you can begin to compare plans. Here are a few things you 
should focus on:

* Money Back Guarantee - Many providers offer a 30-Day money
back guarantee so that you can try their service risk free.
Always look for this option so you don't get stuck with a
service you're unhappy with.

* Storage Space - This is the amount of room you will have
for your site. Of course, you don't want to pay for room you
don't need, but you also want room to grow. If you've a small 
site in mind 10-15 MB should be sufficient to begin with.

* Bandwidth/Data Transfer - Data transfer (bandwidth usage)
refers to how much data/information is sent to or received
from your hosting account on the server over a specified
period of time. Usually it is measured monthly.

The more visitors to your site, the more bandwidth you'll
require. Small sites can usually get by with 1 GB/month.

* Site Speed - This is a very important factor when
considering a hosting service and will determine how fast
your site loads when someone visits. Online surfers are 
extremely busy, so you need a fast server to keep them
from leaving your site before it even gets loaded!

Ask your hosting provider to provide you with a list of their 
clients' sites (if they can) so you can check their speed. 
Here's a good tool to check a site's speed:

* Customer Service - You strive to provide exceptional
service and you should expect nothing less from your web
hosting company. Look for multiple methods of receiving
service, such as a toll-free phone number or live chat. You
may also want to consider testing their response time in

* Uptime Guarantee - Your web site is like your store. If
your store is closed, you aren't making any money. The same
is true if your web site is down. You should only choose a
plan that provides at least a 99% uptime guarantee.

* Cost - Price should also be a deciding factor. Cheaper is
not always better, but there are reasonable rates for
quality hosting available if you do your research.

Never pay for a full year of service upfront, though you are
likely to pay less in the long run. You have to take into
consideration their after sales service too.

Also, as far as possible, try to choose a hosting company
that allows easy upgrade/downgrade between plans. This way
you can trim down your costs to the maximum.

Using these tips and suggestions, you should easily be on
your way to establishing a successful web presence and to
reaping all the benefits the Internet has to offer.

Also read:

Vishal P. Rao is the editor of Home Based Business
Opportunities - A website dedicated to opportunities, ideas
and resources to help you start a home based business. Visit
him at: