Purchasing a domain name can be a novel experience for those who’ve never owned a website. As a business owner or blogger, you’ll want a name that’s ideal for search engines and your target audience. Most importantly, you need to identify the best registrar to buy your new name from.
Fortunately, all that’s required to secure the right domain name is some solid research. For example, you’ll want to take into account your site’s focus, and the services or features you’ll need. With this information in hand, you can spend some time comparing registrars online before buying your name.
In this post, we’ll offer clear guidelines on researching and buying your new domain name. At the end, you’ll know how to purchase a concise, memorable, and representative website address. Let’s get to work!
The Important Role of Your Website’s Domain
A domain name, or simply a ‘domain’, is the web address where visitors can access your website. People can type it into their browsers’ URL bars to visit your site. What’s more, your domain is a unique name that identifies your site and represents your business online (for example: a2hosting.com).
Of course, domains do more than that. They also play a crucial role in Search Engine Optimization (SEO). A domain that’s relevant to your niche or business can appeal to search engines and help them share it with the right audience.
However, a solid online presence is not all about having a strong name. Your choice of domain registrar also matters. A reliable registrar should guarantee security and provide plenty of account management tools. Plus, the company you choose will affect the prices you’ll pay – both upfront and over time.
How to Buy Your First Domain Name (In 4 Steps)
In this section, we’ll take you through the essential steps for buying your domain. There’s a lot to consider, so let’s get right to it.
Step 1: Choose a Domain Name
The first step in buying your domain is choosing the right name. In many cases, your website name will be part or all of your domain. For example, A2 Hosting is our website and business name, and a2hosting.com is our domain name:
In some cases, however, your website’s name might be too long. For instance, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers uses an abbreviation as its domain name: icann.org. No matter what you opt for, the critical factors to consider are memorability and search engine friendliness.
In other words, you’ll want a domain name that’s both relevant and concise. By relevance, we mean that it should tell visitors what your website is all about. For example, a2hosting.com lets you know what our site’s niche is: website hosting. As for concision, a shorter name is easier for people to remember.
If the first domain you want is unavailable, you can use domain name generators to find alternatives. Simply enter the word or term you want, and the tool will give you lots of suggestions. Alternatively, you can use a thesaurus to find name ideas and synonyms for any keywords you’re looking to target.
Step 2: Pick a Top-Level Domain (TLD)
To many people, a website address is anything that ends with .com. As such, it’s advisable to pick that extension for your name if it’s available. Otherwise, you can explore other Top-Level Domain (TLD) options, such as .net, .info, .org, etc.
If you’re feeling brave, you can also explore generic TLDs (or gTLDs). These newer, more modern extensions often include a word that’s associated with your profession or business. For example, you could use .photography for your stock image site, or .attorney if you’re a lawyer:
Whatever your pick, however, be sure that it’s easy to remember. While unusual TLDs can be fun, people may just use .com anyway (and end up on the wrong site). Ultimately, when choosing a TLD you’ll want to consider both its branding potential and its likely effect on your audience.
Step 3: Find the Right Domain Registrar
Once you’ve settled on the perfect name, you’ll need to find the right domain registrar to make the purchase from. Most importantly, be sure to only consider ICANN accredited registrars. Then, you can narrow down your options by considering the specific features and services each registrar offers.
To start with, check out each registrar’s customer support team to determine their availability and responsiveness. The last thing you want is to have trouble getting in touch when you experience an issue. Be sure to confirm that the registrar offers several support channels, including tickets, phone lines, chat, and email.
Then, look at the registrar’s pricing model to ensure that it’s consistent with the average market rates. In general, a domain should cost you somewhere between $10 and $20:
However, high-value domains can be rather costly. Also, keep in mind that some services offer discounted prices if you register for a longer period of time.
Finally, you’ll want to take a look at the registrar’s user interface if possible. It should be user-friendly and easy to navigate. This is particularly important when you’re managing several domains, but is always a nice feature.
Step 4: Consider the Terms of the Deal
When buying a domain name, one of the most common mistakes people make is not getting familiar with the terms of the purchase. For instance, your registrar should tell you how it intends to handle and use your data. It should guarantee that it won’t sell your data to external services, and will protect that information from public records.
Especially if you’re buying your domain name at a reduced rate or using a coupon code, remember to check the cost of renewal. Make sure the ongoing fees are well within your budget, and look for any pricing add-ons. Sometimes a domain will be advertised for a very low price, but when checking out you’re hit with other fees, such as WHOIS registration and privacy protection.
It’s also a good idea to learn about how the company handles domain transfers. Some will offer this service at no cost, while others will charge you. Be sure to confirm the transfer fees to avoid any hidden costs. Your registrar should also be clear about how it handles expired domains, and any other issues that might arise.
The right domain name can grow your online traffic and improve your web presence. This is particularly important for ecommerce and business websites, which can benefit hugely from ‘brandable’ names. So you’ll want to take the time to do your research and prepare beforehand.
When you’re ready to buy your domain, you can follow these steps to ensure that you’re getting the best deal for the right name:
- Choose a domain name: Research online to find a memorable, short, and brandable name.
- Pick a Top-Level Domain (TLD): The .com TLD is usually recommended, but there are a lot of options to consider.
- Find the right domain registrar: Pick a company that offers reasonable pricing, reliable support, and excellent features.
- Consider the terms of the deal: Before buying the domain, take the time to go through the registrar’s terms and conditions.
Do you have any questions about how to buy a domain name? Let us know in the comments section below!
Image credit: TheDigitalWay.