What Is A Domain Name A Quick Overview
Kelly is a former Google Tech Entrepreneur and Apple Developer who has counseled businesses of all sizes and growth stages. You can find her expertise across Fit Small Business in , business website, and business trend content.
You know you need a domain for your website or business email, but exactly what is a domain name and how does it work? In short, domain names are the web address used to locate your site online . Think of a domain name like a mailing address for websites. When someone types in your domain, theyre brought to your site.
However, a domain needs to be first linked to your website to work. If you are planning to use WordPress for your website, you can save yourself time and money by getting a domain through a web hosting provider. The best web hosts, such as Bluehost, cost as little as $3 per month and include a free domain name for free. Whats more, it also eliminates the headache of this connection process by doing it for you.
The Best Domain Names For A Personal Blog
If you want to create a blog with your own domain name, you may be thinking what should my personal blog domain be? The first option to consider is of course your name, for example, isobelweston.com, or just your initial and surname, like iweston.com.
Ideally, youll land a yourname.com domain name, but if your name is common then unsurprisingly, a personalized URL based on your name can be tricky to get hold of. If this is the case, it might be worth taking a look at alternative top-level domains.
Top domain extensions for a personal blog
When it comes to coming up with top-level domain ideas, take a look at our name checker and see what comes up when you search your name. Some great domain extensions for a personal blog are .me, .site, .website, and .work.
Ultimately the choice is yours, a TLD thats perfect for one person, may not suit another. You might find the .net TLD is available and that you work on computer networks, or the .icu TLD is free and you run a portrait photography business.
Play With Domain Extensions
As you search for a domain name, chances are you noticed there is more than one extension available. These are known as TLDs . Shoot for .com where possible. If you dont find a .com extension to go with your chosen domain, dont despair. There are many extensions suitable for personalized domains. Extensions like .name and .me have risen in popularity and have come to be associated with personal domains. To create short and memorable domain names with alternative TLDs, go for whatever else is available, and makes sense.
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How Do I Buy A Domain
Youve got a couple options. Domain registrars like GoDaddy and Register.com let you choose a domain name and register it for a fee . That gives you the right to the domain name for a year. If you want it for another 12 months, you pay a renewal fee thats often a little higher than the registration one. Youll also have the option to pay extra to get an email associated with your domain, and to add privacy protection that keeps things like your address, phone number, and email from being listed in a public database.
The challenge with this approach? You still need to connect your domain name to a website, which requires choosing a host and then transferring your domain name. It can be a little trickyespecially if you dont have much of a technical background .
Many website-building platforms let you avoid the hassle by purchasing your website and domain name at the same time. Thats actually how I got my domain name: When I signed up for Squarespace, a custom domain was part of the package. In fact, Squarespace makes your custom domain free for the first year if you sign up for an annual plan, after which its an easy flat fee that includes that privacy protection.
Now that youve got a name, why not consider building a website? It doesnt have to be a huge endeavor in fact, well show you how to create your personal site in just seven days!
Why Every Small Business Should Own A Domain Name
Starting a business? You should buy a domain name.
A domain name is the address for a websiteyou’re reading this article on zapier.com, for example. Registering a domain name isn’t expensive, typically costing around $15 a year.
Some businesses use the free subdomains offered by web hosts like Wix or WordPress.com. If Zapier went this route, for example, you could be reading this article on zapier.wordpress.com, and we’d have an extra $15 a year to spend on snacks.
Obviously, it would be silly for a tech company like Zapier not to have a dedicated domain name. We’d look amateurish. Here’s the thing, though: this is true for every business. You should buy a domain, even if you don’t plan on having much of a websiteor any website at all. Here’s why.
Speaking of WordPress: here’s the , just in case you’re thinking about choosing one or the other. And here are .
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How To Buy A Domain Name: Domain Registration Guide
What you need to know about domain names, how to choose the right one, and the steps to take to check if a domain name is available and to register your domain.
If you want to start a blog or a new online business, youll need to register a domain name, the name for your website. Getting the right domain for your needs might sound technical at first, but the process is pretty simple.
This domain registration guide will tell you what you need to know about domain name extensions, how to choose the right one for your needs, and the steps youll need to take to check if a domain name is available and to register your domain.
Sign Up For A Bluehost Hosting Plan
To get your hosting plan, head over to Bluehost here, and select the Get Started button.
From there, select the hosting plan that works best for you. Bluehost offers four plans, but each plan provides a free domain name for the first year.
I recommend the Choice Plus plan, because the price includes Domain Privacy, which protects private information like your name, address, and phone number from the public.
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A Domain Name For Personal Branding
Everyone has a story to tell, whether it’s your business, your day-to-day life or your passion. Take a domain thats as unique as you are, to tell your story. A unique URL with personal branding shows interested parties that youre running a professional outfit.
Trailblazers like Laura Roeder branded their entire business and web strategy around their persona. With her signature domain, shes created a page that reflects her love of videos, and the branding that goes into her products.
Keep your digital profile up to date with your latest work, so your older clients and people that may have heard of you in the past can be impressed with what you’re doing now. They may keep you in mind for future projects.
Do You Have To Buy The Same Domain Name As Your Registered Business Name
In short, no. However, there are a few things to consider. Ideally, your domain name should be similar to your business name. So, if your registered business name is High Street Plumbing Ltd., you wouldn’t want to pick the domain name tomsplumbing.com.
Keep your business brand or personal brand, if you’re self-employed consistent across all of your content, platforms and marketing items when choosing a domain name. Make sure your domain name is consistent with the branding you use for your business on social media as well.
In the case of High Street Plumbing, these would be a couple of domain names to consider:
Even if the domain name isn’t exactly the same as your registered business name, it still gives your customers something similar to search for online.
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Tips For Choosing A Domain Name
In addition to the above points, keep the following tips in mind when choosing a domain name:
- Make your domain name easy to type.
- Include keywords related to your business.
- Target a local audience if possible and applicable.
- Choose something catchy and memorable that stays on brand.
- Avoid trademarks or similar domain names.
- Buy your domain name as soon as you decide on it.
If you still struggle to come up with a domain name after reading these tips, you can use a domain-name generator. However, even the best domain-name generators can’t make up for the most important considerations in distinguishing your business on the internet: remaining authentic to your brand, products and services while making it easy for your customers to find your website.
What Free Domain Name Option Works Best For You
After reading through this guide, which option do you think is best for your blogging strategy?
Do you think youd like to try to get a free domain name through a hosting company, or would you prefer to run ads on your blog in exchange for a free domain name?
Maybe youd like to pay the regular price for a domain name and find other ways to save money on your blog.
My top choice for domain name registrar is Namecheap. Theyre inexpensive, reliable and very easy to work with.
What about you? Do you know of any other ways to get a free domain name that isnt on my list?
Do you have other ways to save money as a blogger?
Im looking forward to hearing your ideas in the comment section below.
Want to Start Your Blog the Right Way?
Head over to read my comprehensive guide: How to Start a Blog
Recommended Reading: What Is The Io Domain Used For
Check For Trademark Infringement
Both major and minor brands alike take issue with others using their trademarked names. Even if youve just made an innocent mistake, the legal hassle involved in a lawsuit and having to rearrange your web presence could be costly.
You can avoid these situations by using a trademark lookup tool before you finalize your choice.
Do I Need A Domain For A Website
The answer is yes. A domain gives your website a unique and searchable address, making it accessible to internet users. Without a domain, your visitors would have to look for the IP address at which your website is hosted. Since an IP address consists of a string of numbers and characters, this can make it hard for your visitors to remember.Remember that choosing a simple yet memorable domain name can help create a professional first impression.
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How Do You Get A Business Domain Name
To get a business domain name, you must first decide the right domain name for your business and then purchase it from a domain name registrar. You can often purchase a domain from your web hosting company, as oftentimes, a website builder technology doubles as a domain name registrar. In fact, the initial domain-registration process and website hosting steps often take place simultaneously when you start your business website. In other words, many companies through which you can register your domain double as web hosting companies.
What Should My Domain Name Be
Ideally, youre going to be holding on to this domain name for a long time, so choosing the right one is important.
When youre considering a domain name, ask yourself these questions:
- Is it relatively short? Super long domain names are hard to remember and type. Aim for 15 characters or less.
- Does it read well? If people mentally stumble over saying your URL, itll lose some of its impact.
- Is it specific to me? Youre trying to enhance your personal brand, so pick a domain name that helps with that.
To see whether a domain name is available, try Squarespaces domain search engine.
Id start by looking up your first and last name followed by .com. This format is memorable, relevant, and uniqueand as I talked about earlier, owning your name gives you more control over your online identity.
If your name isnt available with the .com extension, consider using a different extension. For example, you could use .bio or .expert if you want to keep it professional, .design or .finance if you want to tie it to your profession, or .cool or .fyi if you want to add a little humor and personality. The options are pretty endless.
You can also experiment with different variations on your name. Here are some ideas:
- first name + middle initial + last name
- first name + middle name + last name
- first initial + middle initial + last name
Alternatively, you can incorporate your profession or interests. Here are some more ideas:
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For Use At A Later Date
As long as your desired domain is available, someone else can snatch it. You dont have to use it now, as long as you renew it. Just secure the name now in case you want it for bigger things later. At a minimum, you should at least use it to redirect people to your current website, blog, or primary social media presence.
Make It Easy To Remember
Making it easy to remember how to get to a website is what GOOD domain names are all about.
If you make your domain name easy to remember, youll get more people coming back to your website again and again. And its easier for those people to tell their friends about you!
To help make your domain name easy to remember, try to come up with a catchy name that describes what you do.
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Which Domain Extension Is The Best
You can never go wrong with a .com domain extension. Try to get a domain name that keeps your business brand consistent and also has a .com extension.
Depending on where you live, other extensions also might be good options. For example, if your business is based out of the United Kingdom, it never hurts to have your localized domain extension in this case, .co.uk in addition to a .com.
So, using the above example, here are two great options:
If you can’t find a .com available for the domain name you want, your next best option is to choose a .net. If your business is a nonprofit, try for an .org. These are the three most prominent TLD choices. If it fits your business, you could also try out some of the newer domain extensions. You can find the full list of currently available domain extensions here.