The first step in starting your tech blog is deciding on the domain name -the name of the site. Behind every website is an IP address and thanks to the Domain Name System (DNS) we can easily type in a web address such as yahoo.com instead of referring to 188.8.131.52. To see this in action open the command prompt on your Windows Machine by clicking the Start Button -> Run ->cmd.exe and then type ping yahoo.com. Think of DNS as the phonebook for the Internet – rather than making calls using 10-digit numbers you use your Contact List which references those phone numbers for convenience.
Now that we have a basic understanding of what a domain means it’s time to decide on the name for your tech blog. Web developers will argue at great lengths over the importance of picking the proper domain name, but I believe a good starting ground is using Google Trends. By looking at Google Trends you will be able to get a basic idea on the volume of searches for your niche. Let’s face it most of us will not be able to develop a tech blog like Engadget or Gizmodo by ourselves nor will we have the time to pump out dozens of articles a day to rival their post volume. In the event that you are focused on creating the next Engadget or Gizmodo I’ll tell you that you will need a team of writers because one area that all successful blogs agree on is the importance of valuable content. Producing content for the sake of post volume is one of the biggest mistakes first-time bloggers will make, I myself was a victim of this when I first launched my own blog.
So what should I name my tech blog? Well for starters put yourself in the shoes of someone trying to gain information on your niche. What type of content is under served? For example if I was looking to create a tech blog focused on laptops I would start with considering my personal expertise on the subject. Say for instance I had a heavy background in tech support and hardware upgrades for Laptops. My niche should be focused on the types of Laptops I have experience with which in this case is Windows-based laptops. Since my knowledge is focused on repair and support the domain I would choose would involve the following terms: windows, laptop, repair, support, upgrades, Microsoft, Vista, XP, Windows 7. By searching these terms in Google Trends I would decide based on which terms generate the largest search volume.
Now that I have decided on a domain name there are a couple options for registration. Since I’m an advocate of shared hosting when starting a tech blog I would take advantage of the free domain name included in a shared hosting package from Bluehost. This is not your only option – you can register your domain name with any service you’d like regardless of where your tech blog is hosted. If you choose to take this route I still recommend using a centralized location rather than spreading your domains across GoDaddy, 1&1, Register or any of the other domain registration websites on the Internet. Within each of the control panels of the respective sites I’ve listed are domain settings which you can alter to point the domain at your website using the DNS info from your web host. Let me explain how this works:
Let’s say you found a good deal on registering a domain on GoDaddy, but you wanted to use Bluehost for your web space. You register your domain with GoDaddy and then sign up for a shared hosting package with Bluehost. In order for the GoDaddy domain to point to your Bluehost web space you’d need to make some changes. First, within the GoDaddy control panel you would need to edit the domain to point to the Bluehost DNS settings: NS1.BLUEHOST.COM and NS2.BLUEHOST.COM. Next you would need to add the domain within your Bluehost cpanel and finally you will need to wait up to 48 hours for the DNS to update. The good news with domain names is that you can transfer a domain you register after 60 days of creation. If you later decide that you want to keep your domain registered with the same company hosting your web space, you are free to do so without any sort of fee. For a first-time tech blogger it makes sense to take advantage of the free domain included with most hosting packages.
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