If you’re looking to start a website, the first step is registering a domain name. But it can be confusing and hard to sift through all the different options. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take you through finding the right domain name, registering it with an appropriate registrar and getting ready for launch day.
Understand the difference between a domain and hosting
You should understand the difference between a domain and hosting. A domain is a name you register, like yourname.com. Hosting is where your website lives, like GoDaddy or DreamHost. Domain registration and hosting go hand in hand. As per the experts at 1 Grid, “You should register your domain and host with the same company because if you use different companies for each service, it can be problematic to manage all of this information on multiple sites (especially if you need to update something).”
Decide on a domain name
Now that you have the basics of what a domain name is and how to register one, it’s time to choose a great one for your website. As with choosing any other part of your site (the URL, colour scheme, etc.), this step is incredibly important and can make or break your online business.
Here are some tips on how to choose an easy-to-remember domain name:
- Make sure it’s short — ideally 8 characters or less.
- Make sure it’s not too similar to other popular domains. For example, don’t use “yournamehereco,” because someone else could already own it! Instead, try something like “yourwebsite” or “yourdomain”.
Make sure that the name doesn’t include numbers or symbols that aren’t easily recognizable by the average user (such as @).
Choose a domain registrar
The first step to registering a domain name, once you’ve decided on the name and type of your site, is choosing a registrar. A domain name registrar is a company that sells domain names and registers them in its system. They will then provide the URL information to you so that you can use it on your website or blog.
See what the competition is using
If you are competing in a specific industry or market, there are several ways to learn about domain names that your competitors use. One of the easiest ways is to look at their websites and see which domain extensions they have registered. For example, if you operate an ecommerce business that sells fish tanks and filters for them, it would make sense to buy a .com domain name ending with “fish tank” or “aquarium” instead of something like .org or .net.
Make sure it’s not trademarked
Before you register a domain name, make sure it isn’t trademarked. Some companies have registered the names of websites that are similar to their own. If you use one of these domains and your site contains content that may be considered infringing on the company’s trademark, then you could be subject to legal action.
Avoid hyphens and numbers
Avoid hyphens and numbers whenever possible. If a domain name contains a hyphen, it may be hard for users to remember. Numbers don’t look as good in domain names as letters, so try not to use them unless absolutely necessary (such as “www”). Additionally, it’s important to note that some suffixes are very difficult or impossible to type without using a hyphen (e.g., “.tv”, “.co”).
Keep your domain as short as possible
While you want to make sure it’s easy to remember and type, having a long domain name can take up valuable space on people’s screens, which means they’ll have to scroll down more to see all of your content.
Don’t use hyphens or underscores in your domain name (though hyphens are okay for subdomains). Hyphens and underscores can cause confusion in search engines and make it difficult for users who don’t know what they mean.
As you can see, there are a lot of things to keep in mind when registering a domain name. We hope this guide has helped you get started with your search.