Learn How to Buy a Domain to Set Your Site Apart

Lorna Hordos / December 27, 2018

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If you’re wondering how to buy a domain name for your blog or business website, you’re not alone. Picking and purchasing your own domain is one of the most important parts of setting up a website. Fortunately, it’s a straightforward process.

Purchasing the rights to a domain name is a matter of paying a registration fee to your provider. Once you register, you can use a domain for one year before paying again to renew it.

A domain name is similar to a phone number: you can’t own your phone number outright (no matter which phone provider you choose), but as long as you keep paying the bill, it’s yours to use.

Although the registration process is straightforward, there are still some things every site owner needs to know to ensure they get the best name. Read on for tips on how to find a provider and how to nail down the perfect domain name.

Choosing a domain provider or registrar

There are a few ways to buy a domain name. One common method is going to an online domain registrar to buy one. This method requires the most effort on your part, as you have to manually map the new domain name to your site.

Many people find it quicker to use their web hosts or platforms to register their domains. If you’re paying for a site’s hosting, sometimes you can register for a domain through your hosting provider. Meanwhile, if you’re using a site-building platform — a platform that takes care of things like hosting and maintenance for you — you can register your domain there.

Registering a domain through a site-building platform is often the best method for those who lack advanced technical skill, and it’s generally affordable as well. For example, WordPress.com provides a subdomain (a domain name with “WordPress” within, like http://www.mysite.wordpress.com) for free, and a custom domain (www.mysite.com) as part of its paid plans. You also have the option on WordPress.com to set up a G Suite email address with the same domain name as your website (yourname@mysite.com).

How to name your domain

Now that you know how to purchase a domain name, it’s time to think about what to name it.

A savvy domain name is one that is short, easy to remember, and relevant to your brand. Consider the terms that will best represent who you are and what your online presence is about. Prior to registering, compile a list of your favorite domain names so that you have a backup if your first choice is taken.

It’s also a good idea to include brief and pithy words or phrases in your domain. The name that you choose doesn’t have to be incredibly short, but it should be short enough that it’s easy to remember and write.

Finally, consider what the end of your web address (known as your extension) should be. The “.com” extension is the most popular on the web, so this one will be easy for your visitors to remember. Alternatively, a different extension will make your domain stand out. Extensions such as “.blog,” “.info,” or “.deals” are examples of other top level domains, or TLDs.

Getting the name you want

To keep your domain name active and your website up and running, make sure to renew it every year. This is important because you could lose your work, and because domain squatters wait in the wings to snatch up names that become available.

If the name you want isn’t available, there’s a chance that a squatter owns it; however, it’s also possible that someone else is using it genuinely. A quick search on the site Whois.com will provide information about who owns a domain and, occasionally, the contact information you can use to reach out and ask for it.

Trying to hunt down a specific name can be a hassle, and it’s easier to consider alternatives. Online generators like LeanDomainSearch can help you find names similar to the one you initially wanted.

Buying a domain name is a critical part of building your website. It’s your address and brand rolled into one, and having a good domain can make a big difference in site traffic and how your audience perceives you. Now that you know how to buy a domain name, you’re one step closer to building a successful online business.

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