You need control of all facets of your floral business—your domain name included!
In 2018, e-commerce sales are projected to reach over $400 billion. Now is the time to understand and pay close attention to your floral business website and know if you truly have the upper hand.
A brick-and-mortar flower shop would never allow another company to partially own their storefront, and the same goes for your website domain name. Your floral website domain holds valuable history—if you are just starting out in the flower business you may feel overwhelmed by your hosting options, and with nothing but a web hosting company’s advice, you may find yourself allowing a host to register your domain.
Getting Started With a Floral Website
It’s important to note that you can have a domain name and a web host separately. Some web hosts will offer to register you with a domain, but you will be better off doing this independently and keeping your web hosting company from having any ties to your floral business domain name.
So what is a domain name? A domain is the common part of the internet address called a URL, but let’s not make this any more confusing than it has be: flowershop.com is a domain name, while https://www.flowershop.com is the URL. Domain names are your floral business name, or any other verbiage you choose.
Web hosting is like renting space, in this case, you are renting space on your web host’s server to house your website content.
Your website domain name is the address visitors will use to gain access to your website.
Any web host can point your domain name to their servers, so there is no need for them to purchase the domain for you.
Why Allowing Your Web Host to Register Your Domain is a Bad Idea
We all understand the feeling of being forced into a business decision, and we know that the best business practice is to allow yourself some flexibility wherever possible.
While setting up a floral website, having the web host also give you your dream domain seems convenient but in the long run, you may run into issues if you feel like switching web hosting providers. Remember, if they have access to that awesome domain name, so will you—there is no black market for web domains.
There are some web hosting companies that will actually own your domain outright, so even if requested back they hold the upper hand and can charge you exorbitant fees just to release it back to you.
So what’s the big deal—if they do not release it back then you can just find a new domain name, right? Unfortunately, once you have established your online branding through your domain name, walking away from your domain can be detrimental to your business.
Essentially, what you are doing is allowing a third party to have a stake in your website domain branding on SEO. You can request it back if and when you decide to leave your web host, but this can sometimes lead to more frustration and weeks or months of waiting. If you give up or choose not to request your domain back, the host may sell it to a competitor or order gatherer, now that the domain is listing ideally on search engines thanks to your hard work, while you’re left to start all over again with a new domain.
Another benefit to owning and registering your own domain name is that you can keep all your domains in one place. You may now only have one website and one domain, however you may choose to purchase more domains to forward to your current website, or perhaps you want to open another website for a second location. Regardless of the reasons or whether this is an option you expect to use, you’ll still want to hold the option.
How Do You Know if You or Your Web Host Owns Your Domain?
If you are unsure who owns and controls your domain name, check https://www.whois.com/ and type in your domain to see who indeed is the owner. If it is not you, contact your web host immediately to start the release process. Remember, you can own your domain and keep your current web host. Just let them know you just want to have control of your domain name and they won’t ask questions.
Are There Any Cons to Owning Your Domain Name?
“Cons” may be too strong of a word, the only con is that you’ll need to pay your domain registrant.
If you miss your payments (try setting up auto-pay to renew annually!) your site may be taken down until your balance is paid. The cost is generally very affordable, ranging anywhere from $12.00 to $30.00 USD a year, depending on which domain registered provider you choose. You may choose to pay annually, biannually, or even on a schedule of five years or more. If you set up auto-pay, you will be charged annually and your domain will never expire.
Where Do I Purchase My Domain Name?
If you are looking to purchase your domain name, congratulations! This just like purchasing a storefront, but on a smaller, more manageable scale.
There are so many providers, but we will provide a list of our top five. I genuinely like GoDaddy and find their customer service excellent. Their yearly domain fees are also super affordable.
Florists, do you have any important advice or feedback regarding walking away from a web host, or getting a web host to release your domain name? Please share your feedback, tips or any domain name related questions in the comment section below.
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