Have you been wanting a website but was too overwhelmed to get started? The first step to launching your first website is to register a domain name. Above, I’ve recorded a small introduction to this video training series and I show you the exact step by step process you’ll need to take in order to register your domain name with GoDaddy.
Important: I don’t actually recommend GoDaddy for web hosting because they do not offer cPanel. For the video demonstrations I do further along in the process, I show you how to use cPanel specifically to auto-install WordPress, a content management system that makes launching your first website a breeze. If you plan to follow along, be sure to skip buying web hosting with GoDaddy and just buy your domain name there.
Now that you know the process of registering, how do you go about choosing your first domain name? Here are some tips you’ll want to keep in mind when selecting that first domain name.
What is a Domain Name?
A domain name is webhostingchoose.com. It can be .com, .net, .org, .edu, and many others.
A URL is what you would use to access your domain in your browser. Example: http://www.webhostingchoose.com/.
Domain Name Registration Security Considerations
There are important things you should know when registering a domain:
- Unless you use WHOIS Privacy, your information is available to the public.
- Do not use fake information. Fake information can lead to loss of domain!
- Use an email address that you do not use for everyday emailing. The reason being if you access the Internet via a wifi connection that is unsecured, your email password could be “sniffed” and captured. Thieves can then use your email address to request a domain name transfer from your account!
- Occasionally (at least weekly) check your domain-registered email address for notices about your domain such as expiration, requests from the public, etc.
- Don’t rely on auto-renew. Your credit card may expire before auto-renew tries to renew and therefore, won’t go through. Instead, register many years in advance if possible and login occasionally to verify everything is OK with your domain(s).
- Protect your GoDaddy login credentials as you would banking passwords. Do not give out your password, do not use easy-to-guess passwords, and safeguard your information.
Choose a .com Domain Name
Most people know and identify with a .com domain name. In fact, more advanced users like myself tend to type Google in the address bar then press CTRL + ENTER which automatically adds the www and .com to the address. Although you can use other extensions, keep in mind people will likely go to the .com first when attempting to find your website.
Being Unique is the Key to Success
Try to come up with something brandable and unique. Do not use a misspelling, typo, or plural of another existing website because you’ll likely lose that word-of-mouth traffic.
Keep It Short
Imagine if eBay was called ebayinternetauctions.com, would you want to type all of that? The shorter you can make your domain, the better it is.
If You Find It, Buy It!
If you find a domain name that you are interested in, I highly recommend buying that domain immediately. The reason for this is, it is very possible if you wait, the domain will be purchased from under you. Depending on where you do your searches, your domain could be purchased for the purpose of domain tasting (see link for info) or for other mischievous reasons. Besides, you aren’t likely to be the only one with that brilliant idea.
Avoid Domains That Can Be Misinterpreted
Be careful with the domain you choose. Here’s some domains that can be horribly misinterpreted: whorepresents.com, expertsexchange.com, speedofart.com, and therapistfinder.com. ‘Nuff said!
Avoid Hyphens and Numbers
Hyphens and numbers both make it very hard to verbally tell someone where your website is. When you say 2, did you mean two? When you say – did you mean “dash?” See what I mean? Just avoid it.
Consider Including Your Market in Your Domain Name
If you have a website that sells boats, it is better to include the word boats in your domain name. This helps with branding, marketing, and helps people remember your website. Take any advantage you can get. Unless you come up with a brand (see below), the second best option is including your target market in the name.
Branding is Important
Try to come up with a good brand name for your website. An example of this is Amazon, eBay, Google, Adobe, and more.
Another option is personal branding by using your name in the domain. If you don’t have immediate plans to use the domain, I still recommend registering your name if it is available. I’ve actually registered the domains of each of my kids and, in fact, have received offers to buy my daughter’s domain.
If you engage in public speaking, selling services, or are a professional, you’ll likely want your name as a domain name in the future.
Remember The Law – Avoid Copyright Infringement
The worse thing you can do is register a domain name that has copyrighted / restricted terms in the domain name. Imagine spending years on a site only to have it taken from you down the road. It is best to completely avoid copyrighted terms.
I Can’t Find a Domain! I’m Frustrated!
This is quite normal. I’ve spent 2-3 days looking for domains before and I know exactly what you are going through. You should consider looking up your terms in the thesaurus to get ideas, consider asking a friend or relative for ideas, or consider a catchy phrase you say all the time. Mix it up or consider using a domain finding service (see below).
Help Picking a Domain – Free Internet Services
Although I don’t suggest using them, there are tools out there that will help you with selecting your domain name. The people at six revisions put together a nice list of these domain services if you are interested. Keep in mind though, if you find something you like, quickly come back to this page and order through the orange button for the discount to GoDaddy. The price will likely be far cheaper than using these services to actually register your domain.
Remember Social Media
This isn’t extremely important but try to see if your domain name is available on social media. If it isn’t, don’t panic though, you can likely find an alternative like I had to do with this site’s HostingChoose Twitter page. A great service that you can use to see if your domain or brand is available on social networking is KnowEm.