Looking to start a blog or an online business this year? One of the most important stages in building a website is finding a domain name and registering it.
A domain name is basically the web address where everyone will find you (for example websitebuilderexpert.com). Since this can have a big impact on your online presence, what you choose is a vital first step in building your brand. Buying the domain name is easy, but finding a unique name that hasn’t been used can be tricky.
While it’s true that there are millions of domain names available, many of the popular memorable ones are taken. But fortunately, via our simple step-by-step guide and a dose of creativity, you can still get what you need. Here, we’ll talk you through everything you need to know about domain names, as well as guide you on how to choose the right one – from purchasing your domain name, to verifying ownership of it. All in just five simple steps, too!
So, where to start? The good news is that anyone can buy a domain name. The best place to begin is by using a domain registrar; a company that will help you find, purchase and manage your domain name. However, there are a lot of registrars to choose from.
When choosing, we’d advise weighing up affordability, security, and support. What’s the best value for money? And what is going to keep your domain name safe?
It’s also worth exploring the registrars that are accredited with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which is the nonprofit organization responsible for coordinating all of the numerical spaces on the internet.
Here are some of the best domain registrars to try out:
- Domain.com – currently, this registrar powers over 1.2 million websites around the world, and offers various features that give customers full control over their domain names. It also has free transfer lock security, which prevents your domain from getting stolen or deleted.
- NameCheap – offering free privacy protection, this is a solid registrar when it comes to security. It currently manages millions of domain names for over 500,000 customers, and aims to make buying and transferring domain names as easy as possible.
- Bluehost – arguably the best registrar for all-in-one convenience, Bluehost comes free for one year when you sign up, and includes free SSL certificates, as well as Domain Lock Security.
Now you’ve selected your registrar, it’s time to search for a domain name. This is a long-term investment, so it’s worth getting it right first time.
Whilst searching for domain names, you’ll find that a lot of options are already taken. Don’t worry! Although this can be frustrating, take it instead as a chance to think outside the box, which can lead to a more unique result. If the name you want is taken, registrars also have search engines that’ll provide a list of available alternatives.
For now, here are some general tips when searching for and selecting a domain name:
- Keep it snappy! Make sure that your domain name is easy to remember.
- Use keywords and/or your brand name in the domain name search – keep things relevant!
- Avoid using punctuation – such as hyphens – in your site’s domain name.
On the whole, people prefer Top Level Domains (TLDs), which refer to the suffix attached to Internet domain names. We think “.com” is often the best choice, as people always recognise and remember it. Even those who aren’t tech-savvy use “.com” and type it without thinking! Smartphones also have a pre-built key for .com, making mobile searching easy.
However, if “.com” isn’t available, “.net” “.edu” or “.org” extensions are not uncommon. In fact, “.edu” and “.org” are often used by educational and charity websites. So in some instances, they may make more sense for
Now you have your domain’s name and suffix sorted, it’s time to buy your domain name.
Domain names generally cost between $10 and $20 a year, depending on which registrar you buy from. Different registrars offer different packages, so it’s worth shopping around to find the best deal. Most registrars also offer a discount for a domain name for the first year, after which they’ll bill you annually.
If you’re using website builders such as WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace, you can get free domain names known as ‘sub-domains,” for example “websitebuilderexpert.wordpress.com.” The downside of this is you don’t own the sub-domain, and it’s also a less memorable URL. So we’d recommend taking the plunge and buying a domain name – then, at least, it’s all yours!
Once you’ve found your domain name, you’ll be directed to a sign-up page to enter your account information; your name, address, and email address. You’ll be offered hosting extras at this point, but we’d recommend leaving this for now – you can always add them in later.
Finally, enter your payment details and you’re almost there. You’ll just need to…
Lastly, you’ll need to make sure your domain name is assigned to you, which is a pretty easy process. Simply sign in to your domain registrar (where you bought your domain name from), and you’ll be asked for some final details about yourself. Submit these, and you’re all set. The domain name is all yours!
Creating your first website can seem like a daunting and technical process, but once you’ve chosen your domain name, you’re on the right track. Now, you can start to build your brand – and get creative!
Here’s a quick look at those 5 key steps on how to start a lifestyle blog:
- Visit a Domain Name Registrar
- Search for a Domain Name
- Choose a Domain Name
- Purchase the Domain Name
- Verify Ownership of Your Domain Name
Happy website building!