Website 101 Tips: How to purchase a domain name


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Lately we’ve been working with quite a few businesses who are interested in creating their first website. This can be a rather intimidating and confusing process if you’re not used to some of the terms and lingo being thrown around.

Don’t know what a dreamhost promo code for a website hosting means? How does everything work exactly so your beautiful new website shows up online? Don’t worry! In this two part series we’re going to talk about the initial steps you should look into, or be aware of, before seeking out a web designer.

Domain Names – Your online address

One of the first things you will need to decide on is your domain name. In simplest terms, a domain name is similar to a home or business’ physical address – it’s your online address that displays your webpage. An important thing to remember is your domain name is not website hosting. Just because you’ve secured your name, it doesn’t mean your website will now show up live. More information on website hosting will be discussed in detail in part two.

How do we get started figuring out what that domain name will be and how to we secure it? A few questions to consider would be:

  • Do you want your website domain to reference your company name?
  • Do you want your domain to be search engine friendly (SEO)?
  • Would you like your domain to be a .com, .biz, or .org?

Most businesses secure a domain name that’s similar to the name they do business by. For instance, our website address iswww.gdbddesign.com , which is short for Good Dog/Bad Dog Creative Design. We could have also looked into gdbd.com, gooddog-baddog.com, etc. The general rule of thumb is to make your name something easy to remember, related to your website content, and keyword rich (if search engine optimization is a part of your online marketing strategy).

Before purchasing your domain name, write it down to make sure there are no spelling mistakes, or odd or unintentional meanings. If you think people might misspell your domain name, you might want to purchase those domain names as well. For example with www.google.com, they might want to purchase www.gogle.com or www.gooogle.com.

 .com, .biz, .org – what do I choose?

When picking a domain name, most people look for ones that end in .com. This has been the most popular choice since the Internet’s inception and some argue that it’s the best choice for SEO purposes because of it’s popularity. However, by limiting yourself to a .com domain name, there’s a higher chance your domain is already taken. So as a result, gaining in popularity are .net and .org extensions. .net was originally intended for network providers and .org for non-profit agencies but currently both .net and .org domains is available to anyone regardless of it’s business type. Ultimately your choice for a domain name depends on what the main objective is for your website. So see what’s available and make a choice after weighing all your options.

Where do I go to purchase a domain name?

Purchasing a domain name is easy these days. There are numerous companies that provide domain name purchases. Some of the most common are:

Go Daddy

Register.com

Network Solutions

Shop around and see who might have the best price. Some company’s offer specials. Where ever you purchase your domain, make sure to write down your customer number, username and password. Whoever sets up your website hosting will need this to make sure your domain points to the correct website host.

Additional Tips:

  1. Purchasing your domain for longer periods of time (i.e. 5 years vs 1 year increments) might help your website SEO. Google looks at this as you’re planning on being in business for a while, so there’s a chance your rankings will improve the longer your domain is purchased.
  2. Private vs regular registration -  When you purchase a domain name ICANN requires your registrar to enter your contact information (name, physical address, email and phone number) into it’s Whois database. This means your personal information may be available to anyone who decides to check domain names within the Whois database. If this is a concern to you, consider registering your domain as private. This is an add-on service that will cost anywhere in between $7-9/year, depending on where your domain is purchased.
  3. If you’re looking for a specific domain name and it’s already registered, you may have the option to purchase the domain from the existing buyer. I would caution this is usually an expensive process. So unless it’s imperative that your business have this domain under your control, it’s probably a more economical option to look into something similar. If you’d like some tips on how to buy a domain like a pro, here’s a great article written by the founder of PhoneTag.com.

Purchasing a domain isn’t difficult but we wanted to address questions we’ve been asked in the past. As mentioned above, if you make sure your name is something easy to remember, related to your website content, and keyword rich (if search engine optimization is a part of your online marketing strategy), the first step in creating your website is complete!

If you have any questions or need help purchasing your domain, please feel free to throw us a bone!

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