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Show off your hobby and share your story with a website! 

In this guide, we’ll show you why you need a website for your hobby, the benefits of .CA domains, plus everything you need to know about building a website. 

Contents

Chapter 1: Getting a website for your hobby

Why you need a website for your hobby 

If you have a hobby you are passionate about then you should have a website that is dedicated to it. A website allows you to share your passion with others and build a community. There are many website platforms out there that make building websites easy and you can find a plan that works for you. 

Building a website and establishing a digital presence early on is a great first step if you want to ever turn your hobby into a business. Creating a website now will save you precious time in the future and help you begin making connections.

Ways to use your website 

Blog 

Getting a blog is great for hobbyists who enjoy the written word. Your musings can be showcased all in one place so you can easily share your passionate words with your community. Blogs also allow your readers to share your amazing content through social media. Who knows, you could even go viral! 

Portfolio

If your hobby involves creative activities like photography or illustrating, an online portfolio is a great way to display your work. A portfolio can also be used for other activities like cooking and baking by sharing photos of your recipes. Having a portfolio of your work allows you to keep all your photos in one spot and beautifully showcase them to your adoring fans. 

Girl smiling while using her laptop

Share expertise

As you invest time in your hobby, you will gain experience, learn tricks and tackle challenges. Use your website to share what you have learned and help others with similar interests. Your website can be used to share your favourite recipes, lighting tricks for photography or where the best stores are for craft supplies - the opportunities are endless! To brainstorm content to share with your audience, think about the types of information you wished you knew about your hobby. 

Tip: Registering a domain name should be one of the first steps in setting up your website. 

Register your domain name before anything is publicly announced and before you make your website. This ensures you can claim the domain name you want, before someone beats you to it. 


Curious if your domain name idea is available?

 Use our search tool to see if your domain name is available as a .CA. 

Chapter 2: Registering a domain name

Why domain names matter to hobbyists 

You have decided to get a website for your hobby. The first step is to register your domain name before building a website. Why? So you can secure the best domain name for your hobby and let your visitors know that your website is safe, credible and trusted. Registering a domain name is quick, easy, and is a relatively small expense. 

Ultimately, registering your domain name early is a great way to protect your name in case you ever want to start a business. This prevents others from claiming the domain name you want and reselling it for a high price.  

Tip: Canadian hobbyist websites using a .CA domain see an increase in search results

Search engines such as Google give an advantage to .CA websites for searches taking place in Canada or about Canadian topics. Search engine optimization (SEO) can give a boost in visibility, traffic, and leads.

What is a domain name? 

A domain name is the address that helps users connect to the websites they are looking for. Instead of having to remember an Internet Protocol (IP) address (something like 11.11.11.111), a domain name translates that long string of numbers into a simple web address like cira.ca. 

When choosing a domain name, you must pick an appropriate extension which is the last section of your domain name. Some domain extensions are affiliated with countries like .CA for Canada or .fr for France. 


Why .CA domains are great for Canadians 

One way to attract Canadians to your website is to offer free samples of maple syrup. Problem is, that could get expensive (and messy) after a while. A much better approach is to choose a .CA domain for your website. Here’s a few reasons why:

Availability

Avoid thatlongdomainname.com. You may have a better chance of getting the domain name you really want as a .CA.

The Canadian connection

It’s the only domain name extension that identifies a website as 100% Canadian. There is a Canadian presence requirement for individuals, organizations and businesses to register a .CA domain. 

Trust

.CA is an established top-level domain and recognized as a safe, secure and trusted resource for Canadians. CIRA has been managing the registry since 2000. 

5 reasons why Canadians trust .CA domains

.CA gives back

Proceeds from every .CA sold are reinvested directly into the Canadian internet community through the Community investment Program.

How to choose a domain name for your website 

What makes a good domain name? Here are a few tips to help you pick the best domain name for your hobby website: 

  • Keep it short. The best domain names are easy to remember and to type when searching on the web. About half of currently registered .CA domain names are between five and 12 characters long. 

  • Think long-term. You may want to turn your hobby into a business in the future. Make sure you like the domain name you choose and it reflects who you are. 

Here are a few naming formats to consider for your domain:

Naming strategy Domain name
Your personal name  FirstnameLastname.ca 
Your name + hobby  Tanyaknitting.ca 
Your hobby  Landscapepaintings.ca 
Creative name  Olivephotography.ca 
Name + service location  Johnbakesnl.ca 

 

Curious if your domain name idea is available?

 Use our search tool to see if your domain name is available as a .CA. 

Is your domain name already taken?

Here are your options

Want to register your domain name?

 Learn more

Chapter 3: How to build a website

Process of getting a website

The second step to getting a website for your hobby is deciding if you will build it yourself or hire someone to do it. If you decide to build it yourself, the good news is that building a website yourself has never been easier

Learn more about how you can build a website on these popular platforms: 

woman with her back to the camera using her laptop

Tip: Don't rely on the free domain extensions web building platforms provide you. 

We know free things are nice, but they don't always benefit you. Using a free domain extension like yourwebsite.wordpress.com will make it hard for your website to be found online. Best practice is to register your own domain name.


Best practices when designing a website

We aren’t all website designing pros, and that's okay! Whether you’re building it yourself or hiring somebody to do it for you, you can create an amazing and effective website for your hobby.

Follow the checklist below to ensure you optimize your website and provide a great user experience for your visitors. 

Website designing checklist 

1. Stick to a colour palette. Make sure to stick to a few colours when designing your website. Ensure that these colours are easy on the eye and complement each other. 

2. No clutter. Leave room for content to breath on the page and include white space. This makes it easier for users to focus, process information, and understand what is important. 

3. Break up text. No one wants to read an essay, so make sure to break up your written content into short paragraphs, accompanied with headers. This helps users skim the content to find what they need quickly.  

4. Proofread, proofread, proofread. When writing content for your site, read it over several times. Have a friend that's a great writer or editor? See if they can be a second set of eyes.  Misspelled words give the impression to your users that you don't pay attention to your content. 

5. Keep your navigation simple. A maximum of six to seven categories should be used in your navigation. Common practice is to put the most important items at the beginning, the least important items in the middle and the “Contact” page last as this is the standard location. 

6. Include a "Contact" section. One of the main benefits of having a website for your hobby is connecting with others who share your passion. Create a contact page and list your contact details or add a form that is connected to your email address. 

7. Don't make users scroll for years. Users want a fast and enjoyable user experience so ensure you keep short pages and make your navigation elements clear. 

8. Link social media accounts. Provide accessible links to your social media accounts to generate traffic and help build your credibility. Social media accounts are a great way to showcase your work and connect with your audience. 

9. Test site functionality often. It is critical that users have a good user experience with your site. Make sure all items on your website work properly and test items like links, pages, buttons and forms. 

10. Optimize for mobile. Seventy-two percent of Canadians are most likely to connect to the internet using a smartphone or mobile device. This is why you need to ensure your website is mobile-friendly. This may mean altering or removing some elements so users have a seamless experience. 

While you're thinking of getting a website, publish a “coming soon” page 

If you're not ready to build a complete website, consider launching a "coming soon" page with some information to tease your audience. This helps with: 

Hiding the construction process

No one wants to use a website that's half finished. A "coming soon" page provides credibility and maintains a professional appearance while the rest of your website is under construction.

Building SEO early

It can take a while after you launch your website before it begins to rank well on search engines. A "coming soon" page helps search engines index and rank your website before you officially launch it.


Want to turn your hobby into a business? 

Check out our guide for aspiring entrepreneurs on how to start a business. 

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Chapter 4: About CIRA

Hello from Ottawa! We’re the Canadian Internet Registration Authority — but you can call us CIRA. We’re the folks who manage the .CA domain name registry on behalf of all Canadians. 

We’re a not-for-profit, member-based organization that that is helping build a better online Canada.

Four CIRA employees sitting in a row working on laptops while smiling

185 projects funded through our grants

Read about the projects

More than 3 million .CA domains registered

Get your .CA today

More than 15,000 CIRA members

Become a member

100,000 new cybersecurity threats blocked daily by CIRA DNS Firewall

Find out how Firewall can help you

More than 1 million internet performance tests conducted 

Test your connection now

10 Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) nation-wide

View the locations


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