How To Choose A Domain name
The most important part of your website is it's Domain name, choose wisely.
What is a Domain name?
Your website needs an address called a URL (Universal Resource Locator) people will type it to visit your website so it's the first thing they see. It consists of the prefix www. followed by the name of your choice then followed by a suffix such as .com / .org / .net etc...
Our web address (URL) is www.mekatrig.com Our Domain name is mekatrig.com
A domain ending with one group of letters after the dot is called a top-level domain (TLD).
Some of these can be used by anyone Eg:- .com / .net /.biz / .info.
Some are limited to specific groups or organisations Eg:- .gov / . edu.
There are TLDs which indicate your country Eg:- .uk (UK) .us (USA) .au (Australia). Some country domain extensions can only be used if your can prove you are resident in that country.
There are TLDs which are relevant to your business or area of expertise Eg:- .dance / .expert. / graphics. / .lawyer
There are over 1000 TLDs, however the one which still carries the most kudos is the original .com.
There are also thousands of second level domains such as .co.uk which have a mid-level domain (.co) followed by the top-level domain (.uk)
You can find a full explanation of second level domains here
A Domain name is not a website, it is an address to where your website is. Once you have a name you will need somewhere to store it so people can access it. See our Hosting a Website article
How To Choose a Domain Name
Millions of Domain names have already been registered and finding an unregistered one relevant to what you do may be difficult and if available may be extremely expensive, ie; the domain name Software.co sold for $3,200,000. whereas a speciality name such as www.sample.lawyer would cost about £200.
If your website is a personal extension of you and / or your craft and then a tailored extension (.me, .art) is fine otherwise it is always preferable to try to get a .com extension for your website.
If you are in the UK then we recommend getting the .co.uk domain as well, this stops competitors getting it and poaching your business or 'cybersquatting', you can redirect it to your .com domain.
The Golden rules are:-
- Get a .com if possible
- Make it relevent to what your site does
- Make it as short as you can
- Make it memorable
- Make it easy to spell
- Never use hyphens and avoid double letters in the middle
How To Get A Domain Name
You cannot buy a Domain name outright, they have to be periodically renewed, fail to renew and your domain name can be sold.
Have a good think about what name you would like and make a list as the first few will either be already taken or held by someone for resale at a high (premium) price, you're looking for something under £20 a year, unless there is a 'must have' name your willing to spend big money on.
Go to GoDaddy! They sell domain names, web hosting and other services. On the home page there is a search bar, start typing your chosen names in.
If your name is taken GoDaddy will show you a list of suggested names similar to what you've selected. In this case we are looking for a name for a Cafe / Bar in Edinburgh owned by Mike.
Mikes business is being promoted as somewhere where friends can meet up for a drink, food, in a relaxed atmosphere and live music is often provided.
He was looking for mikesbar.com, that was taken, his next choice was mikesplace.com, also taken. Then a bit of lateral thinking and he came up with mikesgaff.com (Gaff is slang in Scotland for a house) so anyone seeing mikesgaff automatically thinks of it as a gathering place which is the message he wants to convey.
He named his Cafe / Bar Mikesgaff also giving it and the website the same name. He could have got mikesbar.co.uk for 1p but realises that .com carries far more prestige.
This is the kind of process you may have to go through to get a .com domain relevant to your business at a decent price.
Click shopping cart, you will be offered other products, ignore them. You given the choice of listing privately, we recommend doing this but if you don't want to then click no.
If any other services you don't want appear at the check out stage delete them until just your domain name is left.
GoDaddy will now ask you to open an account, you need this as you will have to renew your domain name & may want other GoDaddy services later on, just follow the procedure and complete the purchase, making sure you write down your user number.
Congratulations you are now the proud owner of your own domain.
Now you need to get your Domain hosted so you can start building your website, see our article on Hosting Your Website.