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There’s No Place Like Home

provided by Novella Studios

Most authors are conflicted (for good reason) about whether or not they should shell out the $10.00 a year for a domain name of their very own. To shed some light on this puzzling question, let’s take a look at some the most common misconceptions about owning your own domain name.

Misconception One – Having a domain name will get more people to visit my site.

The Reality – How many hits you get is not based on your domain name but how many places your site is linked too. It doesn’t matter what url (web address such as www.fictionforum.com) you use if no one knows that your site is even there.

Misconception Two – I need to buy a domain name to have a place to put my web site.

The Reality – A domain name is just a fancy address for your web site, it won’t host or store the html pages or graphics that it takes to make up a web site. You’ll need a server or hosting service to do that (which will cost you about $15 a month).

Misconception Three – I need a domain name to look professional.

The Reality – The address of your web site has no bearing on your professional appearance, it’s just an address. You need a good web designer to help you create a professional online image.

The main benefit to owning your own domain name is that it gives you a unique web address that people can type in to get directly to your site. The main draw back is that you have to pay for someone to host your site using your domain name. So it really is a matter of personal preference. Is it worth the yearly registration fee and monthly hosting fee to have that unique address? If it is, then great, you should purchase your domain name.

So what you do you do if you decide you don’t want to shell out the extra bucks for the domain name? Well, you have two other options, “piggy-back” and free hosts. The first (and recommended) is commonly referred to as “Piggy-back” hosting.

“Piggy-back” hosting is a form of hosting in which a company (or individual) will host your site on their server using a combination of their own domain and your site name such as www.oursite/yoursite. Some companies (or individuals) provide this form of hosting at little or no cost to you. There is generally no outside ads or pop-ups placed on your site, sometimes a small ad or link back the hosting service is all that is required. Generally Piggy-back hosting results when both the hosting service and the client have an interest in the site, for example having your own page or area on your publisher’s website, or having your own page on a community based website.

Many companies such as anglefire and geocities allow you to host your site for free through their service. The drawback is that they run ads (or worse pop-ups) on your site, this is in a sense how you “pay” for the service. Using a free hosting service is not recommended for authors trying to establish a professional presence online.

Whether you chose to buy a domain or even where you choose to host your site depends upon the type of site you are running, your budget and your needs. Generally if you are working with a web designer or service they can help you determine the best route for you. If you’re going at it alone, be sure to do your research and find good, reputable companies to work with.

© 2002 by Novella Studios

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