How To Register A Domain Name

Your domain name is your address on the internet (example: wpsetupsteps.com). When you purchase a domain name, you become the owner of the rights to that domain name for as long as you continue to renew your ownership of the name. Registering a domain name is inexpensive and easy. This article explains some of the things to consider before making your domain name choice. 

Finding Your New Domain Name

The name you choose for your new website or blog is important. Your domain is not only your address on the internet, but also your “brand”. You may be using your domain for your email, for promotions, for directory listings, etc. So take some time and think up a good one. Many of the potential visitors to your website or blog will decide whether or not they will visit your site based on your domain name.

One of the keys to a good domain name is making it easy to remember. The first rule to follow is to try to keep the name as short as possible. You don’t want a name that is too long or wordy, you want to find something short and catchy. In fact, the name doesn’t have to describe the content of the website at all. Think of Google, Yahoo, Amazon, or Twitter. None of these names describe the content of the website. But all of them are short, one word, and easy to remember.

Avoid hyphens and underscores in your domain name. Think about telling someone your website address over the phone or in person. Do you want to separate each word by saying “hyphen” or “underscore”? Also, avoid using words that are either easily misspelled or have more than one spelling. And don’t string together a word that ends in the same letter as the first letter of the next word (thisstring).

Many of the possible word combinations for .com domain names have already been registered (especially 3 and 4 letter combinations). You will be surprised at how many different words and phrases you come up with that are already taken. Don’t get discouraged if this happens. You will eventually find the right combination, but it may take a few attempts. If the name that you just have to have is already taken, check the site that currently owns the name. Often, the name is for sale and you can purchase it from the current owner for a premium.

Choosing A Top Level Domain (TLD): Get The .com

Top level domains, often referred to as TLDs, are simply the extension at the end of a domain name such as .com, .net, .org. We always recommend purchasing the .com TLD for your new website. The .com address is still king of the internet and most online users trying to remember your web address will automatically use the .com as a matter of habit. That is why we do not recommend settling for the .net, .info, .us or other domain extension for a name you want if the .com is already taken. Instead, keep trying different variations or different names until you can find a .com that is available.

One exception to this rule is if you are starting a site or blog for a non-profit organization, the .org domain is a good choice. Just remember to check the .com version of your .org domain name to see what comes up before you register. Many online users will incorrectly remember your .org domain name as a .com, so you will want to know what site resides at the .com. Also, consider purchasing the .com version of your .org and redirect it to your site.

The other exception to the rule for websites based outside of the U.S. is to use a country-specific domain extension (example: .uk for United Kingdom, .in for India, .ca for Canada, etc.).  Just remember that having a country-specific domain will tend to give the impression to your readers that your site’s content is also specific to that country. If you are looking for a worldwide audience, you are always better off with a .com domain.

As your site grows in popularity, you may want to buy your domain name with other TLDs to make sure that visitors wind up at your site no matter what extension they put after the name. You can buy the .net, .org, and .us and redirect those URLs to your main .com site. Just remember that you will have to pay the annual fee for each one you register.

Domain Name Privacy

When you register a domain name, your contact information is listed in the internet’s WHOIS directory. As the name suggests, the WHOIS directory tells “who is” behind any website. If you are registering your domain name using your personal information (name, address, phone number) that is what will be listed in the directory.

That is why we recommend that you always purchase the domain name privacy for your domain names. It costs about $8 – $12 per year, but it is worth it if you want to avoid having to share your personal information with the world. When you have domain name privacy, your domain name listing in the WHOIS directory shows a third party agent as the contact, usually your domain registrar. If someone wants to contact you, they must do so through the third party agent. Any email directed to you is forwarded through an anonymous email address giving you the option to respond or not.

Performing A Domain Name Search

Once you have decided on some possible domain names, performing the search is easy. Just enter your first domain name choice into the box below to see if it is available. Once you find an available domain name, you can click the link to register it with Bluehost

 — Search For Domain Names —

 

Price

There are thousands of domain name registrars out there today and prices range from $10 – $50 per year. We are not sure what magical powers you get when you pay $50 per year just for a single domain name, but apparently some people are paying that much. Bluehost will give you one domain name for free for the first year with your web hosting signup. After the first year, they renew at a low $14 – $15 per year rate. No matter who you register your domain name with, you should not pay more than that.

As long as your registration is not expired, you are free to move your domain name between registrars at any time and retain your ownership of the name. You can always move your domain name to another registrar, while keeping the files for your website at the current web host. Domain name registration and web hosting are two separate entities, even if purchased from the same company.

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