These services can be bought together at the same company, or from different companies. Anyone who visits your website won’t know the difference. Some people like to just work with one company to keep it simple. Other people like each service to do their job excellently, and want a great host plus a great domain registrar, as opposed to a company that does a mediocre job at both.
It’s SUPER important to have a domain and hosting setup for your affiliate website to get your business established on the internet and ready to make money.
A “domain” is the web address. This is what you type into your browser to find a website you’re looking for. My domain is passiveincomeseeker.com.
Domains are bought from a “registrar”, and then pointed to a hosting provider.
“Hosting” is the location you store your website information and files that make your website visible to people on the internet.
Elements like text, images, videos, and interactive files that tell your website to perform tasks and functions when people interact with it is the main job of hosting.
Hosting is acquired from a “host” company, some really popular ones are Bluehost, Godaddy, and HostGator to name a few.
The cost of Domains is usually around $15-$25 per year for a (.com .net .org)
Hosting is priced monthly but usually there is an option to pay yearly to get a discount.
Hosting costs between $5 – $250 per month for an average website.
Staying in this range is a good idea to begin with, at some point though your website will outgrow your hosting provider and you might want to switch to a more powerful hosting service.
These are costly but are needed once your at that point where reliability and speed of your website for users is important.
To keep things simple, I bought my Domain name and Hosting service through Wealthy Affiliate but if you have found a cheaper deal and don’t mind a bit of
tinkering to get it setup you can certainly go down that path.
Depending on your preference, if you would like to stick with one company that provides both a Domain and Hosting like I did you can, alternatively you can
purchase a domain from a company and then point it to another companies hosting service, this is fine too. It just takes a few extra steps.
Choosing A Domain & Hosting For Your Affiliate Website
How To Choose A Great Domain Name
This was a challenge I faced when I first started out in affiliate marketing, how to choose a domain name that is easy to remember rolls of the tongue and isn’t too hard to spread by word of mouth.
Some tips for choosing a great domain that I wish I knew about when I started I have listed for you below so you don’t make the same mistakes. They should help you find a really exciting name for your new business and website.
Don’t include Misspellings, Dashes, and Numbers
These 3 simple rules will prevent your domain name from being misunderstood, and hard to remember or recall as well as ranking higher in SEO.
Lets say your first ever visitor to your website called fun2fry.com and really loves what they see, it will be a challenge for them to remember it later on to tell their buddies about next time they seem them all because of a number you chose to include in your domain name.
The same applies to misspelled domain names, people will forget them really easily and thats not what you want, you want a catchy and well put together name for your domain and business.
The top 3 domain extensions for ranking high in order are
There are a few other domain extensions climbing up the ranks but for now, it’s best to stick to the ones above to improve your site rank.
EMDs versus Brands
EMD stands for Exact Match Domains. Meaning your domain is the main keyword you want to aim for (more on keywords in a bit)
Here are a few examples: posturecorrector.com, dogtrainingtechniques.com, woodworkingtoolreviews, beerbrewingtools.com.
Brand examples as well like Nike.com, Instagram.com, Twitter.com
This was a really popular method for generated traffic 6 years ago because EMDs would rank in search engines very high.
A few examples are bestwoodworkingplans.com would rank well for people searching for the phrase best wood working plans when someone types that into Google search.
This lead to there being a huge number of low quality websites that were targeting specific key phrases in their domain and were pretty much playing the system to generate free traffic. Google has sinced made changes to their ranking algorithm which downgraded these sites in search results.
EMDs still rank in Google however just like any other domain if you do a quick scan of search results and it definitely still works as an advantage based of results people are having with it still.
Why Go With Exact Match Domains
An EMD will give you a slight advantage in ranking for your given keyword. If you find a keyword with low competition, and high traffic including this in your domain name could mean targeted high volume traffic to you website.
An added benefit is that people know from the get go, what you website is about.
If your looking for a new piece of equipment for your next cross country adventure in your 4 wheel drive and you visit a website named fourwheeldrivingequipment.com, theres a good chance you’ll be in the right place.
Land on an obscurely named websites home page like extreme4wd.com and you might be a bit confused as to what its all about.
Online browsing is done very quickly, if you don’t grab the attention of people landing on your site within a few seconds you might just lose a sale or new subscriber fast. So making it as transparent as possible for people to know what you site about starts with your domain name.
Why Choose a Brand Domain
Brands are unique because they can be associated with not just a single product or service.
Many different products and varieties of products and services can be behind a brand you can make it anything you want it to be.
If you’re in the outdoors and camping niche you don’t have to limit yourself to only one line of camping specific products, your options are endless everything from specific tailor made clothing, to equipment that relates to your area of expertise.
RaysOutdoors.com can be a review site or sell outdoor camping equipment. TentsGalore.com is more limited to only being specific to one subject.
Selecting a brand name gives your website an authority as well. Something visitors pick up on when seeing your website, a custom logo and social media accounts with a community with active members and new content makes you the go to authority in your field.
This is a much longer term strategy but it can be a big pay off if you grow it to be a large presence, building trust and authority with visitors is no easy task however. Think about whats more trustworthy though, a very specific website about just a select topic or a brand domain with a large following on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram?
About My Website & Domain Name
The main keyword or search term I decided upon was “passive income” so I made my domain passiveincomeseeker.com
It’s a little long but I’ve made it work and I’m happy with it thus far. I review products as well as writing about tools and resources that other online businesses can use to earn more money.
Even if you do include dashes, misspellings or a term you’re not happy with later these are just guidelines to get you started and definitely not rules set in stone.
My advice is to pick a domain name you’re happy with, and you’ll find a way to make it work for you. If you do decide against it later on or for some reason it no longer fits with the direction of your affiliate marketing business you can always change it, it’s not a huge deal.
Best Domain Choice For New Affiliate Marketers
In my opinion starting off with a couple of domain names is to your benefit as a new affiliate marketer!
If you want to start with a website that reviews really interesting house hold appliances or gadgets, JohnsGadgetReviews.com
or JohnsTechReviews.com would be a really good starting point.
This type of domain is a great way to squeeze in those keywords and allow you to play around with the name as well until you find something that you like.
Keep in mind that having the perfect domain name will not guarantee the success of your website. It’s just a beginning step forward. The actual content you research and write will be the core of your site.
Where to buy a domain
Namecheap is great. They offer low prices ($10/year for .com) and I found they are reliable and the customer service is great.
Godaddy is a well known domain marketplace, there are lots of unnecessary extras they try and sell you though. Another point to watch out for is the heavily discounted 12 month discount on your domain name followed by the following years being charged much higher in comparison. I purchased a domain for just $4.99 for 12 months and then every 12 months after was $30 to give you an idea. I ended up switching to a different domain name provider to avoid this.
I use a different registrar that I’ll tell you more about below. There are a number of reasons I use this company the most important services they offer though are:
Flat pricing: $15/year (no expensive hikes in prices)
Free privacy (costs $3-$10 per year in other places)
Free SSL certificates (costs $9-$70 from other providers)
This company also offers hosting and affiliate training in addition to the above.
The most important part of this process is to realise that you can have a low quality domain name with lots of helpful content and that will be earning you income. Instead of having a really great domain name but hardly any content that offers no real value and no earning potential.
The content is the most important part of your website, your bran, and your business offering. People like to read, and care about the content you’re offering, this is what will help you start making sales.
I have run into some problems with hosting so I thought writing about them would benefit you so that you don’t have to experience the same.
Knowing how much money your spending on hosting is important so make sure you that you know from the get go how much it’s going to cost not just for the first 12 months but for the years following.
I got caught out by paying a very small cost for the first year of hosting with GoDaddy and the following years were twice as much which came as a bit of a shock.
Cheaper doesn’t necessarily mean better either. Discounted hosting providers can be less than reliable and the last thing you want is for you website to go down (happened to me) and then be on the phone with your hosting provider that has less than ok customer service.
Do yourself a favour and invest in quality hosting from a reputable company, one that has been around a long time and has a decent track record.
I use Wealthy Affiliate for hosting and they do a great job, the customer support gets back to you within the hour and their servers are secure and fast meaning you don’t have to worry about your website crashing or visitors becoming annoyed because your site takes forever to load.
Choosing A Host For Your Affiliate Site
There is a lot of hosting companies on the internet, but which is the best one for you?
To begin with, keeping your costs low is important and these companies know that.
So they will be advertising the fact, that they’re service is the cheapest.
As your website grows and receives more traffic you will need to upgrade
and therefore spend more on hosting. Here are a few pros and cons to spending more or less on hosting:
- Cheap running costs to start your business
- No commitment long term to any Hosting company
- Upgrade to more powerful hosting later
- Save $200-$300 in your first 12 months of business
- Cheap hosting can be slow
- Support for cheap hosting is poor
- Other sites running on the same server can affect how your website performs
- Hosting problems can cause easily avoidable problems you don’t need while trying to run your business
- The cost of your time trying to fix host problems that could be spent on your website content
Common Hosting Tricks To Watch Out For
Cheap Hosting Doesn’t Stay Cheap
Godaddy has no business with hosting and I know first hand how cheap doesn’t mean it’s reliable, secure or trustworthy.
Their support is non-existent, and they’re marketing tactics really get on your nerves when you choose they’re hosting service.
After this I moved over to Bluehost which is quite a bit more expensive and the reliability was 10 times better than it was at Godaddy.
In my opinion though blue host is quite expensive compared to who I use now which is Wealthy Affiliate and they offer a much higher level of technical support and services website related.
Unlimited Hosting Isn’t Really “Unlimited”
This one tricks a lot of people. Unlimited hosting does not mean unlimited resources for your online business. It’s a marketing trick.
Unlimited refers to the size of the files not the number of the files on your website and certainly does not mean that you will need to upgrade your site at some point in the future when the traffic levels become unmanageable.
Issues You Should Care About NOW
Malware is a serious issue with online websites and it’s SUPER important that you protect your website from these security risks.
Some hosting companies offer protection actively, and some just try and resolve the problem after it’s happened to their customer (not a good game plan).
Cheap hosting lacks the security protection that you need, it’s like driving your car around with no insurance it’s not a wise business decision.
Many high quality hosts will make sure security plugins and extra measures are taken to keep you protected even as a basic user.
You know how so many people have those stories about losing all their hard work from months or even years of grinding on their computer only to have it wiped into oblivion?
Well the same can happen to your website data. Wealthy Affilliate teaches you to do manual backups of your website which is a simple process but some hosting companies will actually do it for you so you don’t have to.
Cheap hosts may back up some select files but not your entire website.
This depends largely on what level of plan you have with them so make sure and read the fine print here.
If you decide to do it manually make sure you are doing it correctly (and onto a removable hard drive as well as to you PC).
Nothing comes close to the feeling when something isn’t working or functioning as it should and you have absolutely no clue how to fix it.
This is where site support comes in, live support is even better because you can get some assistance right away.
Cheap hosting will offer next to no support and sometimes you’ll be left waiting on hold for hours just like with some telecom companies (you know the ones I mean).
I was a victim of this with GoDaddy, and just thinking about it again brings up feelings of anxiety.
Again, paying a little extra or finding a hosting company with top level support will save you many headaches and frustration, it’s just a smart investment of money.
Tech Issues & Down Time
Once your at a point where you’re complete livelihood depends on your website being live all the time it’s a major problem when your site goes down due to a technical problem.
Just a few hours can cost you hundreds of dollars if your traffic is plenty and your running ads or relying on visitors to purchase through your website.
Downtime is not an option, but if it does occur you want to make sure it gets resolved quickly. With cheap hosting, quickly really isn’t in their vocabulary and sometimes it can take up to 24 hours to get the issue resolved.
Google penalises websites with a poor user experience, as you can imagine if your website doesn’t even load or comes up with a “page not found” message that counts as a poor experience.
Types Of Hosting To Consider
In the beginning you will be making websites that are small with not much content yet so they don’t make any money.
Traffic will trickle in after a month or two and gradually increase over time (this is normal).
Shared hosting is ok when you start out even though it’s less reliable, it’s much cheaper making it perfect for a low budget starting point until you start bringing in money.
Once the money starts to come in, then and only then it would make sense to upgrade to more expensive hosting.
VPS (Virtual Private Server) is a step up from shared hosting providing very fast speeds but not being to expensive.
The cost varies from $30-$100 per month. I have received great feedback from users of KnownHost VPS which has different levels for different needs.
A Level 1 or 2 service is what is recommended in when your starting out if you decide to go with this type of hosting.
Dedicated hosting is for when you’re getting serious about your website, need the reliability, speed and on demand support that this type of setup and provide.
You have access to your own server to configure however you wan’t and you’re not affected by other websites using the same server like you would get with a shared hosting setup.
This is for high traffic websites e.g. 100,000+ visitors per month
to ensure the performance of your site is predictable and stable.
Difference between VPS and Dedicated Server?
The main difference is the hardware itself, with more powerful hardware it means your server basically has more horsepower and can perform better under a high load of traffic and interaction with your site.
The cost of a dedicated server can run you anywhere from $70 – $140 (US) per month.
My Recommended Hosts
Blue host has 3 tiers of hosting services available like I mentioned above.
To start with Shared hosting is the low cost option until your website becomes more establish and traffic increases to a point where it’s affected the page load time of your site.
Until you get to that point, Bluehost offers a great low cost option for new affiliate marketers on a budget, keeping running costs low.
I currently use Wealthy Affiliate which has hosting inclusive of the membership to learn affiliate marketing for $49 (US) per month.
This means you get access to a huge community of affiliate marketers who have knowledge, skill and actionable advice for you to succeed further in your business.