Before you can build your website you’ll need to buy a domain name unless you’re a member of a platform like Wealthy Affiliate which allows you two free two domain names.
The domain name will give you an online identity or brand and it needs to stand the test of time, so it’s important to choose it carefully.
How to Choose a Domain Name?
Brainstorm all your ideas for a domain name. Lets say your choice of niche is organic gardening for example. The most obvious names such as organicgardening will most probably already be taken, so you’ll need to think outside the box a bit.
I prefer to have a dot-com name unless your site is very location specific.
You can choose your domain name to reflect your:
- Brand name: myname.com
Or you can choose the domain name for SEO keywords:
- Keyword name: growvegetableswithoutchemicals.com
If you want a website to showcase your photography, artwork or your restaurant, then you’ll most likely go with the name which ultimately will become your brand. In that case, you just choose your name, check its availability and buy it. And Hey Presto!
BUT, if you’re starting a new website that isn’t based on a brand or name, then you should check out a few name possibilities first and really be sure you choose the best one.
Make a list of all the possibilities you can think of . . .
How to Check a Domain Name for Availability
To research your domain name for availability you need to use a domain checker.
One of the biggest is GoDaddy and it’s handy for checking availability. Personally though, because I host all my sites at Wealthy Affiliate for the one membership fee I can’t recommend you a hosting site.
Some things you should watch out for include paying a price one year only to find that they put it up in the second and consecutive years. So make sure you check that before you choose a host.
Also, leaving a host can have its share of complications so do your research thoroughly before you decide on one. I’ve heard that namecheap offers a reliable domain service.
When you’ve got a short list of available names, you’ll want to check them for keywords with a keyword tool before making your final choice.
You may find that one of your possible domain names gets loads of traffic and the other one gets none.
If, after everything you can’t decide which name is best, sleep on it and in the morning one of the names will seem more ‘you’ than the other names.
How to Purchase a Domain Name
My number one recommendation would be to join Wealthy Affiliate as everything can easily be done there, but otherwise you can use a site such as Namecheap, where you can buy your domain name at a fair price.
Tips on how to get your domain name.
- Don’t choose a random domain seller believing them all to be the same.
- Some sites will ‘sell’ you a domain but actually keep ultimate ownership for themselves. So check that you will own it before you buy it.
- Watch out for sites that increase their prices once they have you hooked. Avoid that problem by doing the research.
- Domains are not expensive! If you see a price that’s high, it’s probably because it is being re-sold privately. So go back to the drawing board and find one at a cheap price.
- As long as you’re with a reputable company you shouldn’t have any trouble buying your domain name. Just read the reviews and don’t pay too much for it!
Free Website Hosting?
You’ve bought your domain name, now you need to find a host. A host, or hosting service, makes your website visible to the world wide web. You website will be housed on a server within the host.
If you join a platform like Wealthy Affiliate with a free membership you’ll get two free websites, including domain names and hosting.
If you upgrade to the premium membership at Wealthy Affiliate you get 25 websites with hosting included in the price.
Hosting isn’t normally free and is usually paid for yearly at vastly varying prices. When deciding which company to go with, it’s worth researching your hosting company really well first by checking out the reviews on Google, especially the negative reviews, before signing up to anything.
Another thing to bear in mind when setting up your new website is that some hosting options and domain providers will only allow you to keep your website if you stay with them.
It would be terrible if you’d spent weeks or months building up a website only to find that when you want to move it to a new host (because you aren’t happy with the service for example) – you can’t because your current host won’t allow it.
You’d have to start all over again and rebuild your site in the new location. So be sure to check all the conditions for hosting.
Click on the link below to read my article about Wealthy Affiliate and see how you can start your new website for free.
Do you have any questions about domain names and hosting? Leave them in the comments below.