Congratulations! This is one of best steps in the online process! Whether you’re an individual trying to get started or a business trying to create an online presence, the first thing that helps create your brand in the dot com world is your domain name.
Please make sure you read this first step carefully. On this page is VERY important advice on the importance of selecting a good domain name. Plus, in order to get your site online you will need to purchase hosting as well. So read through this page before moving on.
Note: If you already know about domain names, you can fast forward and go here to register a domain. If not, continue reading and find out why domain name selection is so important.
Why Do I Need a Domain Name?
There are three basic steps to getting a website online and registering a domain name is the first step. the domain name makes up the address where visitors will find your site.
The second step is purchase hosting, which will be discussed later.
On the internet, a domain is a network address. This is similar to your home’s address used by the postal system. The mailman can deliver our mail because we have a unique address such as 3018 Beverly Lane – Clearwater FL 33764. On the Web, each site has its own unique address also, so that Web servers can find it. These domains are also referred to as “Dot.Coms”. Our domain here is www.brandbuildsell.com. A Web site address, including a suffix such as .com, .biz, .org, .gov, or .edu. The suffix indicates what type of organization is hosting the site.
Since your domain name can potentially be the name of your new business (if you don’t already have one) the best way to kick start your online adventure is to get a short yet descriptive, easy to pronounce and easier to spell domain name. You may be offering a quality service and have your website designed by a top designer, but if you want to make your presence felt on the internet a good domain name is a must.
How to Select a Good Domain Name
Good domain names are easy and super easy to spell. If you want to be found in the major search engines (Google, Yahoo, and if people even use Bing) is important to you, I strongly suggest you register a domain name that contains your major keywords along with your business name.
So even though BarbsUniqueBoutique.com may sound cool, it would be much better to have domain name like BarbsDiscountShoes.com. This will ensure that if a person searches Google for “discount shoes” Barbs website will be found. Adding these “search engine friendly” keywords (see more on Keyword Research) will help you receive traffic from everywhere.
Should I buy a dot com (.com)? Or something else? Well I’m glad you asked. I prefer .com hands down, no comparison. Dot com’s are the most popular domain names to purchase and the easiest to remember, in my opinion. Coming in second in dot net. But feel free to explore your options. Just because you choose something out of the ordinary doesn’t mean you won’t be a success, just take a look at bit.ly and Google.com.
Are there exceptions? What about your domain name? BrandBuildSell.com?
Of course there are exceptions to the rule. What I mentioned above are only suggestions. If by chance you don’t think keyword rick domain names are cool, you can still register a more cool sounding domain name. Having keywords in the domain name just gives your website more of a push, when trying to get it ranked in the search engines.
But all hope isn’t lost if you don’t decide to go that route. There are tons of search engine optimizations tricks to get around this. (Note: Keep in mind that the domain name is not the only factor used by search engines when deciding your rank, see Search Engine Optimization and Intro to Link Building)
What? You have already searched for a domain name? All the good names are taken? Don’t believe the hype! You just need to be a bit more create that’s all. So even though flagfootball.com might be taken, have you checked kingcountyflag.com taken as well?
Tips for Choosing the Best Domain Name
The following is the checklist I follow when evaluating and purchasing a good domain name. As a beginner, I recommend you keep these tips in mind as you begin the process of selecting a domain name for your blog or online business.
- Keywords – As mentioned above, your domain name doesn’t have to include your keywords to be successful, but it sure does help. Primarily, your keywords will help search engines rank your website for relevance to a particular topic, but it’s not mandatory. Don’t worry too much about the keywords if you can’t seem to find the right one or all of the good domain names are taken. There are millions of examples of successful websites that do not have the keyword in the home url. Remember, when you write a blog post or create a new page, you can incorporate the keywords into the url then as well.
- No Numbers – I would do my best to avoid using any numbers in your domain name. Why? Because when you say a number, you don’t know if it’s supposed to be written numerically (2), or spelled out (two). Yes, you can always just clarify it each time you say it, but let me tell you from my experience (since my personal email has a number in it) – it gets really annoying.
- No Confusing or Easily Misspelled Words - Along with no numbers, you should also try to avoid domain names that can be easily misspelled. For instance, their vs. there vs. they’re. In addition, don’t try to be cute and use (for the younger generation) instant messaging or texting slang as a domain name.For example, they’ll write “qt” instead of “cutie”.
- No Trademarks – If you use a trademark within your domain name, you are putting yourself and your website at risk. So if you are thinking of selling cellphones and you buy the domain CheapVerizonCellPhones.com, Verizon has the right to send you a Cease and Desist Letter. Which basically means “Stop or Else”, since you are trying to gain notoriety, search engine traffic and sales based on an established brand. Save yourself the headache and the trouble.
How to Conduct Domain Name Search
Here are a few tip and tricks to get your creative juices flowing or give a little help if the most perfect domain name is already taken:
- Then search Google for your particular niche or blog topic. See what domain names are already being used. Do you see any you like?
- Now make a list of all the names you think might be available, then visit Thesaurus.com and fins synonyms for all the names you wrote domain. This step should almost double your initial list.
- Visit my secret weapon, www.NameBoy.com. NameBoy is one of the best free domain name generator services on the net. You can enter a primary word to search or an optional secondary word and the results will show available combinations that are UNREGISTERED!
- My next stop in www.MakeWords.com. MakeWords is similar to NameBoy since its a free service which enables you to create available domain names that are short, pronounceable and brandable, by generating random phonetic names, finding synonyms and mixing keywords.
I rarely purchase a domain name without utilizing at least 2 of these steps.
Need more suggestions? Try Google Adwords Keyword Tool. Google has organized the most popular and searched terms on the internet. Simply enter one keyword or phrase to find what related words that are often searched for online.
Will I Actually Own this Domain?
Well technically no. A domain name is considered a lease. If you fail to renew your lease at the end of the year it will be taken away and placed back on the bidding block. But don’t get too freaked out. If you forget to renew it, there is typically a 15-30 (varies per host) day holding period in which they will give you a chance to renew for an additional fee.
How to Register a Domain Name
Registering your domain name is easy and painless. Some of the big name companies like Register.com and NetworkSolutions.com will try to charge you outrageous prices such as $30-35 per year for just ONE domain name. Plus, if you aren’t careful they try to make you signup for a 3 year registration period, which can total more than $80!
At Hostgator you can get the same services for much much less.
Honestly it doesn’t matter where you register your domain name. Every domain registration company or registrar provides the same service. You can save a bundle at Hostgator, and you get a bunch of freebies such as a blog, domain forwarding and a free starter page.
Why Do I Like Love Hostgator?
Well it’s simple. They offer a very comprehensive solution built especially for beginners.
- Free Setup - many hosting providers will charge you a fee to just create your account and Hostgator doesn’t!
- 24/7 Customer Service – all of Hostgator‘s hosting plans includes state-of-the-art hosting plans come complete with FREE 24/7 technical support (Premium Support via Phone, Live Chat, and Ticket System via Email).
- 4,500 Free Website Templates – a quick and easy online website builder which helps you build a personal or professional looking site. All you do is select a design template and then add your text and pictures. No software or programming experience necessary.
- $100 Google AdWords Credit - With Google AdWords, a web site can be advertised across the Google network to get real targeted traffic today. Hostgator clients can get a $100 coupon for Google AdWords® for free.
- 1-Click Installs with Fantastico – Over 50 already installed web applications like WordPress, Joomla, e-commerce, photo galleries, message boards/forums, project management, social networking, portals counters and much more!
- Still not convinced? Well read more about why I love Hostgator’s hosting service.
Remember to Protect Your Privacy
As you are registering your domain name, you will be given the option to make your domain name private – a premium option you might want to take advantage of.
A private domain name registration will keep your personal information (name, email address, etc.) off the internet, since this information is publicly shared on the internet for anyone to see. It will also help prevent spam from reaching your inbox.
It’s not mandatory to keep your information private and it certainly won’t block all spam, but I do recommend it.
By registering your own domain name you will have complete and ultimate control over your website! Especially, if in the future you need to move servers or hosting providers, it won’t matter. All you need to do is configure your domain to point to the new server and your blog will continue to run as if nothing ever happened!
Are You Ready to Register Your Domain?
So you found a name and want to to buy it, well you can register it at Hostgator. But slow down sailor. Write it down and move on to the next section called Purchase Hosting (recommended). You cannot build your pages until you have a web host. So it’s best to register your domain name and hosting at the same time. This will save you time from having to return back here to learn about web hosting.
Nervous? Most people here are new to website building and their number one fear is that they’ll sign up for a service, pay their money and then stuck with no one to help them if they should have a question. Well, don’t worry about that here!
This website was built specifically for beginners, so it’s understood that extra assistance maybe needing during the registration process and if you ever have a question you can call or email Hostgator at anytime. Phone support is available 24/7 and Hostgator customer support department will make every effort to answer emails quickly, but in my opinion the FREE chat live option is the quickest option.