How Do I Register A Domain Name?

Step 3 is registering a domain name for your website and of course you need to choose this domain name carefully as it is the address for your website. Registering a website domain name is fairly simple and is no different for a wordpress CMS website.  First think very carefully about what you will choose.In general the main things to consider are….

Tips on choosing good domain names

  • Keep your domain name as short as possible
  • Make your domain name easy to remember
  • Choose a domain name you don’t have to spell out
  • Don’t use dashes in your domain name
  • Do use a topic, location, or a personal/business name keyword
  • Use the .com extension if you can get it

If this is your first domain name and you are uncertain as to it’s topic or keywords as yet, then go for your own personal name as a domain name. Grab it if it’s available, even if you later get a different domain name when you settle on a niche topic, this domain name will remain relevant and useful to you. The same goes for an off line brand or business name.

Good domain names are in short supply and you may need to try several different combinations of words until you find a phrase that suits you. According to a VeriSign report, the total number of domain names registered worldwide was recently estimated as 210 million, getting a short unique domain name is getting harder and harder. If you cannot get your personal name with just the .com extension, maybe you can get it with the added country extension.

Country Extensions

Market share of domain name registrars
Image via Wikipedia

With regard to country extensions such as .com.au for an Australian domain name, read the registrars rules and regulations for purchase, as registering a domain name is almost equivalent to registering a business name. You may need a registered business number to purchase a .com domain name with a country extension, as this link to Crazy Domains Rules and Regulations explains for Australia. An alternative if it is for a personal site is to look for the .id extension.

Using No Keywords

What about using made up words for domain names like Yahoo & Google?

Topic keywords do help if you want to rank quickly for a keyword. A domain name is considered to be 10% of keyword optimization and gives search engines a fast recognition term for indexing. But you can certainly make up a word and use it.  Or make a name that has a unique significance to just you with a keyword.

There is nothing wrong with this approach at all, as long as you understand that you will need to promote this no keyword name – in the same way you need to vigorously promote any new brand name – to get it widely known.

In some cases not even trying to stuff a keyword in there works better! If you have a short website domain name with a unique easy to remember word, people can distinguish your website from every other website on a list who are all trying to rank for the same keyword.

Short Domain Names

How can you find a shortish domain name and still use a personal name and a keyword? You could use only one of your names. Something like bobthebuilder.com or smithsjoinery.com.

You can also use the Woroid site to generate great ideas for short domain names. I love this site and have found some great domain names here. You enter one word that you really want in the name and set your character limit and then generate some options. The site makes a list of available domain names using prefixes and suffixes and saves a lot of time trying to imagine options only to discover they are already taken.

http://wordoid.com/

How do I find out if a domain name is taken?

When you have a few ideas for domain names you just need to do a search at a domain name registrar to find out if it is available. If your domain name is not taken, you can proceed to purchase a domain name by just adding it to a shopping cart and following the next buttons to complete a purchase. If your choice of domain name is taken, you could add a prefix or suffix to your phrase to get a similar name, or start again with a different option.

How do I purchase a domain name?

The following video gives you great tips about registering a domain name and explains what you will encounter and how to make the decisions you need to make as you go through the process.

The second video explains about domain name privacy and domain name servers. Keep reading below it as I have a few tips of my own about this.

The difference between Transferring and Pointing domain names

Transferring ownership of a domain name can be difficult with some domain name registrars and it can take time to make it happen. Transferring should not be confused with what is called pointing a domain name or setting a name server. Transferring is when you move your domain name from one registrar to another. To set a name server or point the domain name to a host, the domain name remains with the registrar and is “pointed” to your host account.

In the second video, the tutorial suggests that the free domain name that comes with a host account is fine, but I’d just like to add a proviso to this. It is fine with most reputable hosts, but even so, it is better to keep the host and domain name registrar separate.

When you have a host account, you are in control and can backup and download your website at any time and move it to another host within a day. If your domain name is with a domain registrar you are in control and can point the domain name to the new host, usually within a day.

If both the domain name and the host account are with the same company, you are not in control of the domain name, they are, and you may not be able to point or redirect your domain name quickly. You are dependent on the old host to make the transfer, which they may sometimes take their time about doing.

I prefer to keep my really important domain names separate from my hosting account. You can always use their free domain name, for another website name. One that won’t inconvenience you if the website at this address is offline for a few weeks. We don’t expect problems and disputes but they do sometimes occur. Stay in control, don’t let your website host, designer or any other service be in control of your domain names.

Domain Name Privacy and Who Is

Domain Registrations starting at $9.98* Regarding the “Whois” option.As the video above suggests, it is good to have domain name privacy. Not essential, but it does provide some protection from spam emails. The Namecheap registrar (at this time) offers this free with domain name purchases. Click on the picture if you want to register your domain name with Namecheap. At the lifehacker blog, in a recent survey, around 30% of participants chose Namecheap as their preferred domain name registrar.

You may need to decide, before signing up, whether or not to register a domain name with your business name or use your personal name. If you use a business name, you may need to supply a business number. Again it’s a matter of control, if you want total control, keep it in your personal name. If you are buying a domain name for a business, then during registration you may want to choose several different employees and register their names and positions, so that they may have control over it.

Registering a domain name is an important step that is similar to building the foundations of your house. It may seem like a simple enough job but it can have a big impact on what comes after. So make wise decisions now and you’ll have fewer problems later.

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