If you are thinking of starting a website or blog, then one of the first things you need to do is go and register a domain name for your site. Now, before you go and jump in with both feet, here are some domain name registration tips that will help you along the way.
What Is A Domain Name?
For anyone that doesn’t know, a domain name is the address of your site. So our domain name is ‘onlineincometeacher.com’, but yours could be www.example.com, yoursite.biz, www.examplesite.org, etc.
There are a lot of different extensions that you can have for your domain name. These can include;
Or you can have a country/region based extension, such as;
- .co.uk (United Kingdom)
- .us (United States of America)
- .co.jp (Japan)
- .au (Australia)
- .in (India)
There are a lot of different domain extensions available for you to choose from, but by far the best one to go for is ‘.com’. 99% of people will likely enter in ‘.com’ when searching for a site before trying anything else, as that is the most widely used extension.
Country/Region specific domain extensions can be useful when your site is only aimed at the local population (e.g. you run a local business), but even then you could get even more traffic/visitors if you go for a ‘.com’ domain.
Choosing Your Domain Name
Choosing a domain name is no easy task. This simple web address will have a big impact on whether your site will be successful or not. Your domain name will be what people come to recognize you as and remember you by, so it’s best not to rush into buying one until you are 100% sure.
Here are some pointers to help you choose your domain name.
1. Domains That Include Keywords
Not too long ago, you could quite easily get a site ranking highly (getting lots of traffic) by including some targeted keywords within your domain name. Thankfully, this isn’t the case any more since Google and other search engines have countered this. This is good as there were far too many poor quality and spammy sites that were getting traffic by using this tactic, which was harming the internet as a whole.
Nowadays, search engines don’t tend to take the keywords that you use within your domain name into account when ranking sites. This doesn’t mean you should use them though!
Instead of thinking about search engines, think about your visitors, the actual people that you want to visit your site. By including some keywords, you can actually give them a better idea of what your site is about.
For example, let’s say that you want to start a movie review website. Adding the words ‘movie’ (or ‘film’) and ‘review’ would instantly give visitors an idea of what your site was about. So something like ‘TheMovieReviewer.com’ or ‘SuperFilmReviews.com’ would be good examples of domains that include relevant keywords. (Note – I don’t know if these are real sites or not, just using them as examples).
Keyword rich domains can be a good option to go for, just don’t be under the impression that they will help you rank higher in the search engines.
2. Branded Domains
Due to the fact that most of the good domain names have already been taken, it means that you have to be a bit more creative. This isn’t a bad thing; in fact it can be quite good if you can think up something that you can build a brand around.
Staying with the movie review example from before, we could plump for something like ‘moovie.com’ or ‘moovy.com’. On their own, they don’t really mean anything, but for this example you can see how you could begin to build a brand around them. (Note – Again, I don’t know if these are real sites, just examples to help show you what I mean)
Also think about how your branded name affects other areas, such as social media. If you can get the same branded domain name for Twitter, Facebook, G+, etc. then people will find it MUCH easier to find you online.
Should you or shouldn’t you include dashes in your URL?
This is a question that pops up time and again when people are looking to pick a domain name. My vote would be NOT to use them! Dashes may allow you more freedom to find the domain name that you want; however you must consider what people will type in when looking for your site.
For example, if your site was ‘the-best-movies.com’ (Yes, I’m sticking with the movie theme), people may instead end up going to ‘thebestmovies.com’, which could be a totally different site.
You also must consider how you would go about telling people about your site. If you met someone in the street and they wanted to know what your site was called, which do you think they would remember – ‘thebestmovies.com’ or ‘the (dash) best (dash) movies.com’???
The easier your domain name is to remember, the more people will end up coming back to your site. So try to avoid including different characters like; ‘-/_&$@’ in your domain names.
Protect Your Privacy
During the process of purchasing your domain name, you will be given the option of keeping your domain name private. Though an additional cost, this feature allows you to keep your personal details (name, email, etc.) out of the global internet database.
If you choose not to go privately, you may be at risk of being spammed or contacted by people looking to buy your domain name/website from you. Ultimately, it’s up to you as it is an optional extra, but I always make sure that I protect my personal details when purchasing a new domain name.
What Are You Waiting For, Go Register Your Domain Name
When you have finally picked your domain name (which is hopefully available), you will be able to go and register it. There are plenty of places that you can register a domain name, but I’d always recommend that you go with GoDaddy. I use them to get all of my domain names and have never had a problem with them.
Just remember the key points that we have talked about when picking your domain name and you will be fine.
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