You've been thinking about starting your own website, and have finally decided to get the ball rolling. However, before you can get started on the design of your site, you need to pick a domain name. Choosing a simple and unique domain name for your website is important since it's the first point of contact your customers will have with your online brand. But what makes a good domain name? How can you see whether the domain you want is available? Which domain extension should you choose? How can you register your domain name? This article will answer all of these questions, and walk you step-by-step through the process of selecting and registering your domain name.
What's in a name? Well, there might be more to it than you think - at least when it comes to domains. At a basic level, a domain name is just a unique line of text mapped to the location of your website on the world wide web. All domains on the internet are managed by ICANN, an organization which contains a registry of every domain and the servers they point to. In turn, ICANN provides accreditation to registrars, which are companies that allow you to easily look up and register domains through ICANN. Once you register a domain, it belongs to you - no company or individual can take it out from under you. There is even a grace period for you to re-register if you forget to renew your domain right away.
In order to build a website, it is not enough to simply order a domain. You will also have to host your website on a server, which is essentially a computer connected to the internet that serves up you website's code to the rest of the world wide web. Many hosting providers also provide domain name registration, so you can often get a great deal by bundling these services together. If you simply wish to park a domain to reserve it for later use, you can always transfer it to another provider later or point it to your hosting service.
Choosing a good domain name is very important. If the name is too long, your customers won't remember which URL to visit. However, many of the unique domains ending in .com have already been registered. You must make the tradeoff between the length of your domain and a memorable extension. While many new extensions are added every year, some of the most memorable .com alternatives are .net, .inc, and .io.
In short, you need to register a domain name in order for customers to have access to your website. If you use a popular website builder such as Wix or Weebly, you can host your site with their name, which will look something like www.theirsite.com/youruniqueurl. However, this is widely considered as unprofessional, and will hard for your customers to remember if they want to visit your site. Registering a domain generally costs less than $12 a year, so it's a small investment to make in the big picture.
Choose a domain provider.Check whether your desired domain is available.Make a payment.
That's it! You are now the proud owner of a domain name. Now, you can point it to your website, or park it for use down the road.