What is a domain? It is your address on the internet. But don’t just grab any old address. You want a good address, in a good part of town…right? Today, let’s figure out
How to buy a web name aka your domaiN
Before you buy your domain, which is actually the easy part, you will want to spend a bit of time on the name of your domain. Do not take the first step lightly! Oh no no.
Picking a name
Changing your domain later because it no longer suits the theme of your website can be a bit of a pain, so it is wise to really think on your reasons for choosing the name that you choose. Do some research, just like you did to choose a niche.
In fact, one step that you can take is to search out the competition and see what they named their websites. You will likely see tons of domains named after the niche, a bunch named after the owner of the website, and some with cute and clever names. Such variety is common. A big example of this is Amazon. Or Nike. Or Pepsi. What the heck is a pepsi right?
You can choose a name related to your niche topic, such as trainingpoodles.com if your site is about training poodles. Say the name out loud a few times to see if it sounds normal or easy to pronounce.
Be sure not to choose a name that sounds too much like a recognizable brand.
Test the name out
Save yourself some headaches in the future by choosing a shorter domain rather than a long domain name. You will be typing your domain a lot in the future, so before you hit that “buy” button, open up a new document on your computer and type the domain address about 10 times really fast. Do this on your phone as well.
And remember, other people have to type that name as well. Make everyone’s lives easier by choosing something that relates to your niche or brand. And please, please do not sub in numbers for letters unless it is part of the brand, like 3 brothers plumbing. Using a 3 instead of the letter E may be truly confusing for potential visitors, and you really want to make it easy for people to visit your site.
And do not use slang or other words that will confuse casual visitors or that could potentially equal an insulting word from another country! Google the name before you buy it.
dot com, dot org, or dot net?
Pick a couple of alternates in case your name is not available, and try to go with the .com extension, since it is the most popular and many people type .com automatically as an extension, because many people just assume it is a .com website.
Do not lose your traffic to that guy with the same domain name but the .com extension!
Choosing .org or .net are the next two most reasonable choices.
If you have a local business you might want to consider using your countries extension – like .ca for Canada, as well as your local city in the name making you much easier to find for locals.
Try to avoid the new and strange extensions that are cropping up. A vast majority of websites go with the .com, so try your best to grab a .com
Pro tip: Check your name choice on social media and see what comes up. If you are going to use Pinterest for traffic, you might want a profile with the same name as your website. Ditto for Facebook, Twitter etc.
You can check your potential domain name at www.whois.net, to see if it has any history or legal issues. This is a great place to find expired domains that are available, as well as checking the past history of the domain, in case it had any problems with Googles terms and services agreements and got kicked to the bottom of Google search.
You will want to know this up front, as well as if your domain choice conflicts with any trademarks. You can check US trademarks here.
Ready to buy?
If you are happy with what you have chosen, and the name is available then Booyah!
Links to accredited registrar websites where you can purchase your domain. Note: you may not be able to transfer your domain for 60 days after registering, so get your ducks in a row first and then register.
Google Domains – this is a beta site. And not much of a surprise that Google is into domains now.
GoDaddy – A popular choice with lots of extensions
NameCheap – Available with SSL encryption and free DNS service.
Hover – Straight up domain registering. No frills.
As well, you can purchase a domain at the same time as you get your hosting. Siteground (recommended website hosting) has domains for $15.95 a year.
Prices vary wherever you shop and depending on the extension, with .com usually a bit more expensive than .net or .org or others.
Compare apples to apples by checking the different items that come with your domain, like security (SSL). Many sites charge extra for things like SSL Certificate, Privacy Protection, and Premium DNS, which drives up the price of a budget-friendly looking domain.
You can pay for your domain on a yearly basis, but if you are feeling confident about your site and what you are offering, feel free to register for 3 years or more (look for pricing deals!). This gives your site stability, and you can count on having that domain to be safely yours for this duration.
If you have the cash and are feeling it, you can also buy up the .org and .net version so that you have the monopoly on that name (cue evil laughter!)
Pro Tip: Make sure that you are the registered owner of the website. This might seem obvious, but it depends on who registers you. This can be an expensive mistake if you want to sell your website later only to find out that you are not the registered owner.
And be sure to create a reminder to renew the domain if you are going year by year. Many hosting sites that offer domains will also send you reminders that your domain is about to expire, which is a handy feature. Please check whether this option is available for you, or you will have to remember on your own.
Just a bit about website hosting…
Webhosting refers to a host company that lets you store your website on their servers, so that other computers can access your website. A popular host site is Siteground, and sometimes you will get a deal if you use the host that your website builder recommends.
Related Post: What about free WordPress Website Hosting?
There are different types of hosting, such as shared, dedicated, Virtual Private Server (VPS), and Cloud hosting. For the purposes of most new website owners, shared hosting is affordable and fine for entry level users.
Many website building sites, such as WordPress.com and Wix.com come with domains and hosting, however you will not own your domain if it is a sub-domain such as email@example.com. You can create a website with them and later transfer it to your own domain.
If you purchase a domain name but have it hosted somewhere else, you may need to modify your DNS (Domain Name System). If you change hosts, you will have to set up new email addresses, so check with your hosting provider and follow their instructions when moving hosts.
The biggest challenge that people face when they want to get into blogging seems to be (1) choosing a niche and (2) choosing a domain name. There is no hurry and it is not a race, so take your time.
Pick names, look at synonyms of the words and see what you can figure out that is only a few words long and makes sense when spoken aloud.
I hope that this post has been helpful. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org (<< see? that is the kind of thing you will be typing over and over again!).
Happy Blogging and follow me on Pinterest!