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You’ll need to register a domain name, or the name of your website, if you want to start a blog or a new online business. Choosing the correct domain for your purposes may appear complicated at first, but the procedure is actually rather straightforward.
This domain registration tutorial will teach you all you need to know about domain name extensions, including how to pick the best one for your needs and how to verify if a domain name is available and register it.
What is a Domain Name?
An IP address is assigned to every website on the internet. Consider these addresses to be GPS coordinates for a website’s location. The IP address, which is usually just a series of numbers, looks somewhat like this:
Unfortunately, remembering all of those numbers in order to access a website might be difficult. This is where domain names come in to help.
The Domain Name System (DNS) is a system that converts IP addresses into names that are (ideally) easy to remember. Domain names are the names given to websites.
The domain of your website is the address that people type into their browser’s address bar to navigate to it. If an IP address represents your website’s GPS coordinates, the domain represents its street address. Mailchimp.com and Google.com are two examples.
A DNS server is used to route a domain when it is typed into a browser. The name is translated by that server to determine the IP address it refers to. The data for that website is then grabbed and delivered to the browser. This process takes only a few seconds, allowing you to quickly locate and see a website.
Domains and their Types
In 2019, nearly 360 million domains were registered, according to Verisign. You can choose from a wide range of options. To make the best decision, you must first comprehend the architecture of a domain, which is comprised of two major components: a second-level domain (SLD) and a top-level domain (TLD).
Second-Level Domains (SLDs)
When most people think of a website’s name, they think of a second-level domain. Because it’s the portion that people will remember the most, it’s the unique name you choose to symbolize your brand.
An SLD appears to the left of the extension, or top-level domain, in a web address. You can use as many letters, numbers, and special characters as you want, but keep it short and simple.
Top-Level Domains (TLDs)
TLDs (top-level domains) are also known as domain extensions. They’re the letters that appear after the dot on the right side of your SLD. Among the most popular are:
- .com: Short for “commercial,” this was the first top-level domain (TLD) to be released, and it was designed specifically for business and commercial use. It is still the most often used.
- .net: This is short for “network,” and it was designed for technological companies, but it has since become a popular option for company website owners of all kinds.
- .edu: This TLD was designed for universities, colleges, and other educational institutions and is short for “education.” It’s now largely linked with American schools.
- .org: Short for “organization,” this domain was created for non-profits but quickly gained popularity among schools, communities, and for-profit businesses.
- .gov: Short for “government,” this domain was developed exclusively for use by government agencies in the United States.
- .mil: Short for “military,” this TLD was created exclusively for use by US military branches.
There are also country-specific TLDs (such as .ca for Canada, .ng for Nigeria) as well as specialized domains such as .coffee, .cheap, and .ninja. There are over 1,500 different TLDs to pick from, and the list is ever-growing. However, the cost of various TLDs varies. Some have more “weight” than others, which should influence your domain purchase decision.
How Much Does a Domain Name Cost?
When you purchase a domain name from a domain registrar, you can register it for one year or for multiple years. When the first period of your domain name registration expires, you will be able to renew it, and the registrar will normally notify you. Domain names are sometimes included in your web hosting plan, and if they aren’t, your hosting company will normally offer them to you.
The price of a domain acquired through a domain registrar like Namecheap is determined by the TLD you select, such as .com or .net.
A domain name with a common top-level domain, such as .com, can be purchased for as little as $5.98 per year, with discounts offered frequently. Internet domains purchased via Namecheap include free WHOIS privacy protection as well as a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate for free verification and encryption of your website.
To put your website online, you’ll need a web hosting service, but you don’t require hosting to get a domain. If you already have a business or blog name in mind, you can secure it for the future by acquiring and registering your domain name right now. After then, you’ll have plenty of time to think about how to construct your website.
How to Choose a Domain Name
Because your domain name has such a significant impact on your online presence, deciding on one is an important first step in developing your brand. Finding the ideal domain name, on the other hand, might be difficult.
While there are millions of domain names available, many of the popular and easy-to-remember domain names are already taken. Fortunately, if you follow a basic technique and utilize your imagination, you can still get what you need.
Make It Brandable, Not Generic
Generic domain names are always preferable to creative, memorable ones. After all, it’s through your domain name that people will locate, remember, and share information about your company on the internet. Instead of a domain name made up of a lot of generic keywords, it’s much better to have something that aligns with your brand.
Can you distinguish between cheapcarinsurance.com and affordableautoinsurance.com, for example? When it comes to purchasing insurance, who would you trust? Neither, most likely. Both have a spammy ring to them and are extremely generic.
On the other side, you’ll probably be able to guess where progressive.com or geico.com will lead you. Those businesses have made a significant investment in their brands, which they have incorporated into their domain names. You can rely on the legitimacy of these websites.
You can start by choosing a strong domain name that fits your business, even if you haven’t established trust and loyalty yet.
Select the Right Domain Extension
Unless you have a compelling cause to select a different extension or TLD for your domain name, “.com” is still the best option. The.com extension is found on roughly 43% of all domains, thus it’s what people expect to see the most.
While Google certifies that your TLD choice has no bearing on rankings, it does have an impact on consumer impression. Many people believe that other TLDs are less reliable.
However, because.net and.org extensions are fairly rare, they can be fantastic backup options if you find the perfect name but can’t get the coveted.com.
If you do decide to go with a non-.com extension, make sure to check out what types of websites are currently using the .com extension. Someone is certain to stumble over it while searching for your brand. You should avoid using that name if the site contains suspicious or offensive content.
Finally, unless you truly believe that specialist domain name extensions such as .space, .club, and .pizza would boost your brand, avoid them.
Keep an eye on the domain length.
Shorter is preferable when it comes to domain names. Easy-to-understand and straightforward domain names that deliver on their promises are preferred by search engines, particularly Google. Search engine rankings can be harmed by URLs that contain a lot of numbers and special characters.
Your domain name should be as short as feasible while still conveying your website’s concept. Short domains are easier to read, take up less space on marketing materials, and are more likely to stick in the minds of visitors.
Short domain names have the disadvantage that there are fewer of them available. However, if your business name is completely original or contains a creative element, you may be able to locate something that fits the bill.
So, what is the maximum length that is acceptable? Aim for 6 to 14 characters, with the shorter end of that range being the most important.
Make It Stick to Mind
It’s also important that the domain you choose be memorable. It should be straightforward to spell and type for everybody.
Are you unsure whether or not your domain name is memorable? Tell ten friends about it and see if they can spell it. If more than a few people are having trouble, you should try something else.
If your domain name passes the first criteria, make sure it’s also easy to say for word-of-mouth marketing purposes. As a guide, use the same “ten friends” test. Make a note of the domain name and ask your friends to pronounce it for you. You’ve got a winner if no one is struggling.
Consider several well-known websites such as Yahoo, Amazon, Reddit, and Twitter. Each one is short and simple to remember. If you make a terrible choice, a large portion of your visitors will likely end up on someone else’s website.
Numbers and hyphens should be avoided.
Imagine trying to spell or pronounce a domain name with numbers and dashes with ten buddies. It’s not going to work.
If you choose a domain name that includes these elements, you’ll likely lose traffic to people who can’t remember it or tell someone else how to find it. If you had to go to Face-Book.com to access the site, we probably wouldn’t have Facebook today.
Check for Infringement of Trademarks
Others exploiting their trademarked names irritates both major and little firms. Even if you’ve made an honest error, the legal costs of a lawsuit and having to reorganize your online presence could be prohibitive.
Before making a final decision, use a trademark lookup tool to avoid these scenarios.
Make Your Domain Name Future-Proof
The purchase of a domain name and a website is a long-term investment. That implies you shouldn’t pick a domain name that includes a year or a hot catchphrase.
Consider where your company or brand could be in five or ten years. If you’re currently providing basic SEO services, you might find that as your company expands, you’ll want to extend your offers. As a result, “marketing” or “digital marketing” may be more appropriate descriptions than “SEO services.”
Use a domain name generator to come up with a unique name.
If you’re not the creative kind, a domain name generator can help you come up with some suggestions. Simply type in some words or phrases that represent your brand or website, and these tools will provide you with a list of ideas to consider.
Domain Registration: Buying a Domain Name
Assume you’ve compiled a list of memorable, branded, and short domain names and are ready to purchase. The steps for purchasing and registering a domain name are outlined here.
Select a Trustworthy Domain Registrar
To obtain a domain name, you must first locate a registrar that is accredited by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the non-profit organization in charge of managing all of the internet’s number spaces. Mailchimp provides ICANN-managed domains.
Use Domain Availability Checker Tool
The next step in your trip is to conduct a domain name search, which should include the use of a domain availability checker. This will inform you whether or not the domain you desire, like tinysgarage.com, is available.
The domain availability checking tool on the Namecheap domains page can be accessed below.
Find a domain starting at $0.99
powered by Namecheap
Select the Most Appropriate Domain Name
When looking for available domain names, you’ll frequently discover that your first, second, and tenth selections have already been taken. When this occurs, you can adopt a variety of approaches, including:
- Continue your search. Allow your imagination to run wild, and keep looking until you find something you adore — or at the very least, enjoy.
- Select a different extension. If the .com isn’t accessible and you’re dead set on a specific name, see if .net or .org will suffice.
- Make contact with the owner. The domain may already be registered, but it isn’t being used much. You could make an offer to the owner.
Purchase your domain name and finish the registration process.
It’s time to get a domain name once you’ve decided on one. When you purchase a domain name with Namecheap, we’ll inform you of the annual cost as well as any possible savings.
To register the domain, you’ll need to enter your contact information, including an email address, during the checkout process.
Purchasing a Domain from Someone Else
It’s possible that the domain name you desire is already taken, but it’s still available. If you find a name you absolutely must have, follow these steps to complete your purchase:
Find out how to contact the owner.
By looking up the domain owner’s contact information in the WHOIS directory, you can find out who owns the domain. If it’s not listed, you might be able to contact them using the information on the domain’s website.
Agree on a reasonable price
Offer a reasonable fee for the domain once you’ve made contact. Do some research if you’re unsure about a price. If you really want the domain, you can even pay a broker to handle the transaction for you.
Use Escrow to complete the transaction.
Avoid sending money to someone you don’t know over the internet. It’s simply not a good idea. Use an escrow service instead to ensure that both parties are happy and that your deal is as risk-free as feasible.
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