We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Wednesday, July 5. 2017
This will be a two-part post. I'm going to cover two Internet-related topics. If you have a bunch of siblings, kids and in-laws, definitely read the second part.
Avoiding The Domain Havesters
Pic: artist's conception of average domain harvester
If you ever, ever, think you might want to start up a blog or web site one day using your name (or future business name) as the domain, you need to do it ASAP, then hold onto it with both hands. The problem is that once a domain expires, the domain harvesters will grab it up, and then they'll charge you a pretty penny if you want to buy it back. I've seen them ask for upwards of $3,000.
And you can see why they do it. If you want to open Mary Brown's Boutique, and desperately want the 'marybrownsboutique.com" name, well, you'll probably be willing to shell out some bucks for it. And that'll be especially true since you'll then be able to write it off on your income tax as a business expense. In your mind's eye, that might be enough to justify it.
So, the answer is to get the rascal registered now, then desperately hold onto it until the day you want to use it. I'd suggest you use BlueHost, the web hosting company I've been using for 15 years. The domain will only cost you $3.95/mo, which beats the heck out of paying some domain harvester their blood money down the road. And BlueHost will help you keep the domain, either by billing you automatically every year, or notifying you by email when it's due.
Some tips on grabbing a unique domain:
— If you're looking to register "jimcrawford.com", but it's already been taken, try using your middle initial, your full middle name, or perhaps "james" instead of "jim".
— You can use hyphens, so if all the above are taken, try "jim-crawford.com".
— If you're opening a fun blog site and "coolestblogintown.com" is taken, try adding "the" to the beginning, or "a", "another", "yet another", "my", "your", etc.
As for using domain suffixes other than ".com", I tend to recommend against it. If someone's trying to remember your domain name from memory, and it finally comes to them, they're going to use ".com" just by default. And if someone else already has your domain but with a ".com" (which is likely, or you would have used it), that's where they'll end up.
BTW, there's no web site involved. All you're buying is the domain. Come the day you want to use it, that'll be when you either hire a webmaster or do it yourself using the remarkable WordPress software and my easy step-by-step guide.
Here's the link to BlueHost. The sign-up process is pretty simple. At one point you'll make up a BlueHost password. Scribble it and the domain into a Notepad file and keep that rascal safe. You might also print out a copy and stick it in some file folder.
Below the fold, the wonderful adventure of opening a family blog. If you've got a bunch of siblings, kids and in-laws, it's a great experience for everyone involved.
Nan in the comments mentioned this the other day (which prompted this post), so I'll let her give the overview:
The process is fairly easy. Whoever in the family is the most tech-savvy builds the site using the easy step-by-step instructions on my how-to WordPress site. This person is the 'Administrator'. He or she then sends out the link of the WordPress editor to the other families. Whoever blogs for them is an 'Author', which means they have the ability to post a blog, but not touch anyone else's blog or get into the site settings.
So, they scribble out some words, and if they want to post a picture, that's three mouse clicks. Hit the 'Publish' button and it's online.
Posting videos is a tad more difficult, but the step-by-step instructions & tools are available on my how-to site. Basically, you first have to convert the video to an online streaming format like FLV, then upload the vid, then put the address and video size (height and width) into the simple page code. For the preview pic (the pic that displays before the video starts), you simply play the video in a player like Media Player Classic, stop on the frame you want, 'Save Image', and there's your preview pic.
Also, you'll probably want to keep the site private, and that's easy to do. Click one button in the settings, save the page, and Google and such won't be able to scan the site.
As for the domain name, unlike grabbing a 'personal' domain, like in the first half of this post, something like "jonesfamilyblog.com" is much more likely to be available. Use the above link to connect with BlueHost. Their $3.95/mo deal is hard to beat. And, if you run into a snag, their tech support people are very friendly and helpful.
Any questions, give a holler in the comments.
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Even though I haven't really been active in my business for a long time I still pay the upkeep to keep my domain name just in case I wish to start up my business again. Plus, I don't want some slug buying and using my business name and ruining my reputation even though I am not active.
Good point, JC. If your unused domain was available, some competitor could come along, put up a fake site on it, complete with astronomical prices, and then tell his customers, "Look at what a rip-off THESE guys are!" Not pretty!
I recently read an article about making sure domain names for family businesses are owned by all the owners and not just the tech savvy admin partner. Important in event of illnesses, deaths, transferring ownership,etc. If I can find the link I'll post it.
It gets messy even if you own it.
There's a guy named Nissan who has been fighting expensive legal battles for years to keep his domain name.
One software developer named Mike Rowe, registered Mikerowesoft. Eventually he had to settle for selling it because it would be very expensive and possibly futile to keep it.
Whoever has the most lawyers usually wins.
The classic was the guy who registered "augusta.com". I don't remember the details, but the Masters Golf Tournament people took him to court -- and got it. Apparently, "masters.com", "mastersgolf.com", "masterstournament.com" and "mastersgolftournament.com" were all taken. Uh-huh.
I have been on Bluehost for many years. Probably since you recommended here. I also recommended it to friends and clients. No longer.
1) The procedure to install Wordpress is now a single click. Much easier than before.
2) You MUST add "Wordfence' or some other Wordpress plugin to prevent hacking. There is a free version.
3) Bluehost will pull the plug and block your account (and all websites) if they find that anything has been hacked. They make it YOUR responsibility. See 2)
4) Bluehost has very cheap initial signup prices. Take it for as long as possible because the renewal rates are MUCH higher.
In summary, I am no longer a happy Bluehost client. They were bought by EIG and the service has suffered.
They try to cross sell as much of their other products as possible (eg. Mojo Marketplace).
If you are going to install Wordpress, then I would recommend one of the companies that specialize in Wordpress.
When one of my sites was hacked and the entire account was locked, they refused to help and told me to buy a scanning program for $300+. They just had to tell me what account/folder/program and I would have deleted it immediately. Instead it was a wasted day of research to find and remove the problem.
"Instead it was a wasted day of research to find and remove the problem."
Since only the MySQL file holds any fresh info (and that part can't be hacked), why didn't you just delete all the visible files and reinstall WordPress yourself? On my how-to site, I have the users keep a 'mirror image' of all their uploads, plugins, etc, on their own computer, so between that and the WordPress files, it'd just be one mouse click in the FTP program and everything's back to normal.
As for BlueHost trying to cross-sell other products, that's pretty standard fare for web hosting companies these days. And all you have to do is just ignore the offers when they're presented.
"The procedure to install Wordpress is now a single click."
On my how-to site, I have a customized WordPress package, which includes a bunch of necessary plugins and beautiful themes. Un-zip the file, highlight everything, and up it goes using the FTP program. So, three clicks, rather than one. Still pretty easy.
Sorry your BlueHost experience didn't work out for you. Myself, I haven't had a single problem in 15 years, so they're still at the top of my list.