What is a Domain?
A domain is your unique identification or name (domain name) that allows people to access your website on the internet. It is your URL (unique resource locator), what you type in the top of the browser which will take you to your website. Some examples include http://www.beautycosmetics.com or http://www.helpthechild.co.uk. This is the home for your website.
How do you get a Domain?
There are really three steps in choosing and getting a domain: first you need to come up with a name, find out if it is available then register the name. Let’s look at each step.
1. First come up with a name
Should you use your bricks and mortar company name as your domain name?
Using your company name as your domain name is a great idea! This is because it tends to minimize confusion as well as other numerous challenges. You can continue to build your same brand online. The only problem is if it is not available as a domain name then you will need to find an alternative name.
Your own name can also be used as your domain name, if it is available. Using your own name gives credibility to your site and can be used as part of your personal branding.
You need to come up with a name that is unique and appealing for both your business and your customers. Some things to consider when choosing a domain name include:
a. To choose a shorter than longer name and if possible a name that stands out.
A short domain name is ideal. You want to make it easy for anyone visiting your site to remember your name. Also, if you can come up with a name that it catchy or that stands out, it makes it easier for a visitor and potential client or customer to remember your name and to come back to your site.
b. Ensure it is easy to type.
There is a probability that a huge number of people already have online websites that are offering similar products or services like yours. This means that if a buyer finds your domain name hard to type, they will end up opting for other site or make a mistake typing it.
Don’t use words that have multiple and confusing spellings. In most cases, domain names that have numbers or a hyphen tend to be very challenging. For example, a website with a domain name such as “number1beautyproducts.com” A visitor to your site will be confused whether the one is in roman numerals, a number or a word. Ensure that your domain name is plain and clear.
c. Try to use keywords if possible.
Keywords are the most fundamental element in Search Engine Optimization. Keywords usually come from the content you are writing about or the types of products or services you are offering. If, for example, you are selling video games, you can simply call your website videogamegalore.com. This will not only make your domain name easy to remember, but it will also improve your rankings on the search engines.
2. Find out if your name is available.
Firstly you need to search your name to make sure it is available. You can start by making a search for a domain name registrar. There is a wealth of companies that do this.
You can also search for a domain name generator to search for alternatives if you are still not sure of a name or if your name is taken.
It is better to use a TLD (top-level domain) extension although the site may give you many other extension options. The extension “.com” is the one most commonly used although other TLDs include: “.net, .org and .ca” for example.
3. Register your name
Once, you have a name deciding who to register your domain name with is your next task. This can be a thought producing task as there are so many companies to go with. Which do you choose?
One thing to keep in mind – After registering your domain you will need to sign up with a hosting company to host your website. Many sites which offer domain registration also do hosting. In the case in which you are sure about the hosting company you want to go with, then it makes sense to use them also to register your domain.
For more information about hosting: Check Step #3 Choosing a host
If, you are not sure who you want to use for hosting. Some common registrars include: HostPaPa, GoDaddy, Domain.com, Bluehost and NameCheap for example. Any of these would be fine to register your domain name with. You can easily transfer your domain name to the host of your choice after you purchase your domain name.
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Nowadays you seem to be bombarded with add-ons when purchasing a domain. You may want to purchase the add-on, Privacy Profile. This protects your name from being given when the domain is searched in WHOIS. This reduces your risks for junk mail and identify theft.
There are really three steps to securing a domain name. The first, maybe the most challenging which is deciding on a name, secondly, do a domain name search to see if the domain name is available and lastly registering the domain name.
You may want to check out the different hosting companies before registering your domain name. If, you know who you want to host with then you can also get your domain name with them. But your domain name and host are two different things and do not need to take place with the same company. You can always transfer your domain to your host of choice later.
Next step, choosing a hosting company.