Registering Your Domain Name

Until you have created your site, you are looking at an undefined image.  Your site is an idea, like an abstract painting or a faded bit of graffiti, you lack definition to your idea.  

To create a site, you must define the pieces of the puzzle and pull them together into a meaningful whole.  

It all starts with a name

This article will walk you through the process of how to register your domain name.

The domain name also called the URL ( universal resource locator) is the name of your site.  You should try to make this memorable.

Exact Match or Brandable Name

There are two ways to think about your website name. Do you want to promote a specific type of product or are you trying to make a name for yourself that stands out in the crowd.

Exact Match Domain (EMD)

You can use an exact match URL. This would be something like nutritionsupplements.com if you are in the nutrition supplements field. If you look at the history of the web, you find that this has been a popular way to promote various sites.  

Google changed all that in September of 2013.  They released an update that has become known as the EMD update.  This devalued exact match domains and reordered the results on their searches. There is still some value in this type of naming, but the weight it carries is much lower.

Brandable Domain

Your other option is to go with something that is brandable.  An example of this would be Amazon.com.  Amazon sells many things, but it's not a river in South America.  These days when you mention Amazon are probably looking for the online store, and not the river. Think about how you want to present yourself online.  

Where do you Register Your Domain Name

Choosing where you register your domain name can be a bit of a challenge.  There are so many choices. All work with the ICANN system, this is the Internet Corporation for assigned names and numbers, so all of them provide the same service.  All that changes are the services that are added on to the purchase and how much you are charged for this.  

I purchase all my domains at Namecheap.  Other registrars that are quite reliable are BlueHost and Go Daddy.  If I were to recommend one of these I would probably go with Namecheap.  You can purchase a domain name around $10 and they provide privacy protection free for the first year.

What if Someone Already Has My Name

One problem you may run into when you're trying to identify your website name is that someone has already taken it.  When I'm researching a website name or URL,  I usually pop into a keyword tool called Jaaxy.  One of the features of this tool is that it shows you if the.com,.org and.net are available.  This can simplify locating a usable URL quite quickly. 

If you don't have this tool available, you can use the hit and miss technique, in other words, enter what you want, and if it's available the registrar will show you.  If it's not available you can try another similar URL, and continue until you find one that is available.
Let me show you how this works.

Finding a Domain Name

Let's assume I'm looking for something the in nutritional supplements field.  I open up Jaaxy and search around for a bit.  I find that nutritional supplements and many of the others are taken.  I get creative and start adding terms to the beginning of the search. I come up with herbal nutrition supplement,  the .org and .net are available also available are the .org and .net extensions for natural herbal supplements.  Either of these might be a good option.

Jaaxy Nutritional result page

File Extensions

File extensions are what follows your name. You should only focus on 3 of these as they are the most frequently used and carry the most weight in the search results.  These are .com, .org and .net.  If you have the option a .com is the best extension to purchase.  If  a .com is not available your next choice should be a .org and if neither of those are available a.net should be chosen.  There are many other file extensions available that you can try, should you choose; however, these are not recommended.

If I move over to Namecheap and enter herbal nutrition supplement into the search bar.  I am presented with a list of the available URL versions.  I noticed that one of the options I can get is the .uk.  That would work if I were in the UK(you must reside in the UK to purchase this file type) but again, the only ones I really want to look at are the.net and.org as I know that the .com is taken.

herbal nutrition supplement. org

It does appear that the .com could be purchased, probably for a premium price.  Some companies buy attractive URLs and will resell them to people, typically at a much higher price.  In this case, herbal nutrition supplement.com has been purchased by Hostmaster and may be available for the right price. I never do this, there are plenty of alternatives available with a bit of creative thinking.

I were so inclined then go ahead and select shopping cart next to herbalnutritionsupplement.org, pay my $11.48 for the year, and I would be the proud owner of a new URL.

Most of the work you will do when purchasing new website name is to find a relevant URL that you like and that is available.

In my next installment, I'll discuss purchasing hosting.

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