You want to start a blog and you are told to buy a domain name. Huh? Don’t fret. In this tutorial I am going to tell you what is domain name and explain how to register a domain name.
It is a long article as we have a lot of ground to cover. The topics include:
- what is domain name
- why do you have to register a domain name
- what is a good domain name
- how to register a domain name
- my Domain Registrar recommendation
What Is Domain Name
In really simple terms a domain name is a unique address or a name that can be used online. Domain names are used in URL (Uniform Resource Locator) which is a string of specific characters that references (leads to) a specific online resource. Your website or a blog is a specific online resource.
The only way to access the website or a blog is to input the URL in your browser’s address bar and the website will pop up (or upload) on your computer screen.
For example, the URL of Blogging Spree Blog is http://bloggingspree.com. The domain name part of the URL is bloggingspree.com. If you look at the address on your browser, you’ll see the URL and my domain there.
Another way to look at what is domain name is that it is a unique name. Unlike our names, there cannot be more than one of these names. Suppose, your first name is Donna and your last name is Johnson. You will find thousands of your namesakes online.
However, if Donna Johnson will buy a domain name as her name, donnajohnson.com, no other person in the world will be able to buy the same domain (unless the original Donna Johnson relinquishes its ownership). There can only be one donajohnson.com .
The only options other Donna Johnsons have, is to buy the same domain name but with a different extension (or sufix).
So there can be one domain name of
- and so on…
The extension .com is the most desirable extension and if you can, try to get a unique domain name with this extension. If you are unable to find one, try .net, .biz or .org.
Why Do You Have To Register A Domain Name
Registering a domain name allows you to make sure that you are registered as the owner of this name and that you are its administrator and technical contact if need be.
- You have to get a domain name to secure that no one else can own that name for as long you pay the annual dues (about $10-12 per year).
- For a self-hosted, blog (or a website) that you own, you have to have a unique domain name otherwise you would not be able to set up your blog.
- Ensure the uniqueness of the name of your website or a business online
- Claim ownership of your domain name
- Build credibility
- Gain visibility online
- Give your blog, website or an internet business a professional look
- Ensure portability of your online business – should you change your web host, your domain goes with you because it belongs to you. Your regular visitors would never know because the URL and the domain name stays the same.
What Is A Good Domain Name
Because there are millions of websites online, each with its own unique domain name sometime it is difficult to find one you like. To look for available domain names go to the tutorial about finding domain names . There you will find a great free online tool to search for available .com domain names.
A good domain name has certain desirable characteristics. I’ll list them below. Use the suggestions when you are trying to find available domain names.
- Make it as short as possible – long and very keyword rich domains look spammy and unprofessional. Search engines, especially Google dislike them.
- Make it easy to spell – to you the spelling may look obvious but not everyone is a good speller
- Make it memorable – something that stands out
- Make it brandable – your blog will become a brand, make sure that your domain name reflects that
- Make sure it is trustworthy – use a top level domain name. Use .com as your first choice, .net as your second choice
- Unless you come up with a really cool brand name (for example Apple as in Apple Computers), you may want to include a keyword related to your blog topic or your business in your domain name. It can also be somewhat descriptive of your business (but keep it short!)
- Always think long term – are you going to love your domain name a few years from now?
How To Register A Domain Name
Registering a domain name means buying the name and then registering it with ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). ICANN is a nonprofit organization that is responsible for the coordination of maintenance and methodology of several databases of unique identifiers related to the namespaces of the Internet, and ensuring the network’s stable and secure operation (Source).
Although it sounds terribly geeky, luckily you don’t need to worry much because all the registering is done by the registrar, the company where you buy the domain name. All you have to do is purchase it.
Most website owners prefer to buy a domain name from a registrar that is different from a web host. This practice originally started as a prevention of fraud (where web hosts never registered the domain name in the owners name, but their own), and exorbitant price increases upon renewal of ownership. Such practices are mostly weeded out, but you do not want to take any chances.
There are many registrars available online. Some offer very low purchase prices. But I suggest that you stay away from them because upon renewal of your domain name, you will find that the cost goes up dramatically.
As well, you need to find a registrar with an easy access to your domain through some user friendly control panel as, at times, you will have to access your domain and perform technical tasks (for example, pointing your domain to your web host).
My Domain Registrar Recommendation
I can only make a recommendation through my own experience. I have used 3 registrars to date. The one I stuck with and use continuously, is Netfirms (affiliate link). They charge from $7.95 to $9.95 for a .com domain for a year. Upon renewal, they charge around $12.50 per year.
Netfirms offers easy domain access and a simple navigational interface. Over the years, I have interacted with their technical support staff on several occasions. Every time I dealt with anyone at this company, they were courteous and knowledgeable.
In this tutorial we covered a lot of ground. You have learned what is domain, how to register a domain name, why you need to register a domain name, and what makes a good name for a domain. Lastly, I made a recommendation based on my own experience. Take some time to think about and choosing a domain name. It is going to stay with you for a long time. Above all, it is going to affect how your website or blog visitors perceive your business.
Next Tutorial: How To Find Available Domain Names