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In Step 2 of the How to start a blog series, we are looking at your Domain Name.
We are going to look at:
- What is a Domain Name?
- How to choose one that fits you
- Searching for available Domain names
- Picking a Domain Extension
- How to register it
By the end of this post, you will have your name ready to go, registered and waiting for a website, but one thing at a time.
What is a Domain Name?
Your Domain Name is essentially your web address, think Amazon.com or Facebook.com.
It will be your online identity.
Your online “name” is what people are going to remember you by and therefore, is not something to be taken lightly.
It is the first thing people will see when searching the web, so we want to make sure it stands out.
How to choose a relevant name
This depends on you and what you want to get out of it.
If you have read Post #1 in the How to start a blog series where we covered “Finding your Niche“, then you have a really good start.
If you have not yet read that post, I strongly advise you read that first.
Once you have your Niche tied down, have a think about what you want to do with your site.
Do you want it to be a personal Blog where you are talking about your life?
Do you want it to be a professional site where you either sell a product or service?
These questions can make a huge difference to which type of Domain Name is suitable.
If you are looking to create a personal blog, then just use your name, if you are happy doing that.
If you are trying to create a brand, then what is your brand name, that would be your ideal domain name.
Have a think and move on to the next step once you’ve decided.
Searching for a Domain Name
So you’ve decided on a name that you would love.
“Can’t I just go and register it?” I hear you say.
Not yet. It may surprise you but even if you are looking to use your own name, it may well already be registered.
What you need to do now is to perform a Domain Name search to see if that domain is available.
Here is a Domain name search tool from Bluehost, one of the Web Hosting Platforms available.
We’re not there yet so don’t go buying anything, just use the tool to see if your domain name is available.
If you don’t fancy this one, try any of the following:
Choosing a domain extension
I am not going to get into the nitty-gritty and the tech talk of domain names, however, your domain extension is important.
Your extension is the bit you will see at the end of your site name.
Look at mine, www.earngrowrepeat.com.
My extension is .com and to this day it is still the most popular and searched for extension out there.
A large part of this is due to it being the best-known, it is also location-neutral which helps if you are targetting a worldwide audience.
If you are looking for maximum traffic to your site, a .com extension is a great place to start.
You will have noticed when you did your search for your domain name that you got a lot of different results, these are all of the different extensions that are available now.
You have plenty of choices here, which one you choose is up to you.
A few examples are as follows:
As of today (20 Aug 2019), GoDaddy currently state that there are 481 different domain extension available.
You can find one to pretty much cover anything you can think of.
Be aware though that they do not all perform the same when it comes to searches and ranking on google, mainly due to popularity.
What is your best option
If you really want a .com extension and your search has found that it is already taken, you will need to look for an alternative.
I say that. It does depend on how much you are willing to spend.
As an example,
I would have loved EGR.com, however, when I searched for it I found that it was already registered.
I could buy it, but it was listed for £41,044.16, and that was the minimum offer.
If, like me (which I would highly advise for your first site at least) you do not want to spend that much, see if you can try a variation of the name or a different extension.
Ideally, you should be able to register your domain for the first year for only £10-£20.
For an idea, let’s say you want to create a site covering technology and you thought of the name Toptech.
Toptech.com is taken, not for sale, unfortunately, but what else is there?
- toptech.club – £15.70 for the first year
- toptech.guru – £6.67 for the first year
- toptech.zone – £5.02 for the first year
If you want to use any of them, please go ahead.
The main thing is that you can see you have options.
If you really want a .com extension though, you are going to have to rethink your name slightly.
www.toptechshop.com was available for £820.88, still a little steep for me.
Look at the suggestions on the page and there we have it:
thetoptechshop.com for £4.10. A little long but a good find I would say.
No matter what you settle on, write down the name or remember it.
Register your Domain Name
Before you go ahead and register your domain name, have a shop around.
You already know that whatever you have settled on is available, so why not try and get the best price.
If you didn’t try them earlier, give these domain name registrars a go.
Once you’ve found the best price, go through the process and register your domain.
At this point, you will own it, nicely done.
You won’t have a site yet, that comes in a later post in the series but you’re on your way, congratulations.
If you are not in a rush to create your site then take a look at your registrar, many of them offer a service to park your domain for you until you need it.
Essentially, they will create a temporary site and place ads on there until you require it.
To be honest, I tried this and didn’t earn a penny but hey, you may have more luck.
Ensuring you get your Domain name and your extension right is an important step in getting a successful site up and running.
It is often overlooked as people are in too much of a rush to get going but take your time, ensure you get something suitable and you will reap the benefits later.
Now you have your domain, look forward to Post #3 in the series in which we will cover the best way to select a Web Hosting provider.
To check out the other articles in the How to start a blog series, click the link below.