Thinking of starting a website? Getting a domain name and decent hosting is an unavoidable necessity. But while choosing a host is relatively simple, choosing a domain name may not be.
First of all, what kind of domain should you get? With only so many names available, what name best suits the purpose of your website? Depending on your approach, picking the right kind of name can go many different ways.
SO… .com? .net? Something else?
If you want your website to look professional, a .com name would usually be the top pick, but the name you’re after may not be available.
Search engines like Google rank .com names higher than others, with .net and .org also working relatively well. So if you intend on using SEO to bring in a lot of search engine traffic, a .com would be best solution – providing you can get the name you are after.
If you plan on using other methods to get people onto your website – such as linking from other websites, social media or a form of advertising outside of the internet the extension may not be as important as you are more manually directing people to your website. But in most cases the .com name will look more professional.
Should I use country specific domain like .co.uk or .com.au?
In certain countries you need a registered business name to acquire a country specific domain. But this may not be the best solution either – once again it depends on the purpose of your website.
I would avoid a country specific domain if you plan on going international. If you plan on running a website catering for anyone in the world, setting up a website like www.fitnessforus.com.au will have people thinking that you only cater for Australians. Make that a ‘.com’ name and you’ve become a bit more flexible, and people can more easily ignore the country the website is run from.
On the opposite side if you are catering for people in a particular country, a domain that ends in a country code could be perfect. People will know they’re dealing with people from their own country, and it may be easier to acquire the name you’re after. You may be favored in search results for search engine users from that country also!
What should my domain name be?
That’s the million dollar question!
A lot of people out there suggest using a name aimed at certain keywords for good SEO – but once again that all depends.
For example, if you are relying on Google and other search engines to deliver traffic to your dog training website, than a domain name like www.expertdogtraining.com would suit you pretty well – and rank you higher in search results for the words ‘dog training’ or ‘expert dog training’. But this also becomes a long name that can be annoying to type and hard to remember.
If you want to market an easy to remember domain name, you can instead choose a shorter domain (eg www.dogman.com) or simply add a shorter domain that redirects to the original, longer and more ‘keyword’ oriented domain name.
Having both names can be useful as you can still link to your website using the longer name and receive more search engine traffic, while use any other methods (printing, banner advertising, etc) to promote the shorter, more memorable domain name.
Or you can forget about Keywords altogether!
If you have a business name, I’d suggest trying to get a name that matches. McDonalds obviously have McDonalds.com, and it’s their marketing efforts that help them to spread the word about their business name – the website address just comes naturally.
Having a family name or random name which doesn’t describe the business you’re in means that you’ll have to use other methods to let your audience know what you do – through forms of marketing and word of mouth.
But if your name gets out there then it can be a powerful way for people to remember your business and website above your competitors. Remember – the name ‘Google’ doesn’t really describe a search engine, but with good marketing and word of mouth people are now ‘googling’ things all the time – that’s the power of a good name!
Short, simple words are very easy to remember and extremely easy to promote and market. So tossing up between a short name, or a longer descriptive name really depends on how you want to get your website in front of it’s audience.
How do You Register a Domain Name?
It’s simple – through a quality domain or webhosting company!
If you intend on running a website you will need hosting (server space to store your website), so choosing a host can lead to a simple choice of registering your domain name through the same company. This makes linking your domain name to your hosting pretty much automatic. Finding the right host is easy, and I’ve written a post on it here if you need more information.
If you’re concerned mainly with getting the domain registered and are not too fussed about hosting at this point in the time, then I recommend Go Daddy – they’re most trusted domain registrar on the internet with some of the best deals.
If you really want to save some money, Crazy Domains sell .com names quite cheap. Transferring the name to any web host is also quite simple and easy.
You can use the above services to check if a domain name is available – if it is they’ll make it easy for you to register to it, that’s their business! So make sure you’re diligent and get something you want. Try to avoid using dashes or different spelling that can confuse the person trying to remember the name. It comes down to figuring out which name best suits your website.
Wait and Then Get Busy!
It will take a day or two to register your domain name. Once registered, you can set up your web hosting, email or anything you need linked to it to get your website up and running. It’s a simple and cheap process that gives you a world of opportunity. Have fun with it!