Do you have interest in getting a domain name? Does the process seem confusing after doing your research? That’s understandable. There are so many websites offering to help you get a name for your website, be it for free or for a nominal fee, but should you trust them? I wrote this article to help all the beginners out there. Here’s how to buy a domain name for beginners.

What Is A Domain Name?

Before starting to explain how to buy a domain name I need to explain what it first. According to Wikipedia:

…a domain name identifies a network domain, or it represents an Internet Protocol (IP) resource, such as a personal computer used to access the Internet, a server computer hosting a web site, or the web site itself or any other service communicated via the Internet.

Translating that for the non-tech savvy people. Computers identify locations on a network through Internet Protocol addresses (IP address). For example: 10.10.10.10. However, humans don’t identify locations with just numbers, as we like to use numbers and words. So domain names allow us to do just that. Thus, using example.com allows a person to reach a specific website on their network or the Internet without having to know the IP address.

Here are some popular examples of domain names:

How To Buy A Domain Name: Research Domain Registrars

The first step on how to buy a domain name is to research domain registrars. These are companies where you purchase a domain name and the company registers for you. Frankly, there’s too many of these companies to choose from. So who should you use?

I recommend using Namecheap. If you click on that link I don’t make any money from it. I’m not a affiliate of Namecheap. I’m just a big fan since I’ve used them for over a decade now. When I need Tech Support I always get great service. In addition to buying domain names I also purchase SSL certificates from them along with my web hosting. Finally, Namecheap has very good prices when it comes to domain names, even outside of sales. You can usually buy a .com TLD for under $10 a year.

How To Buy A Domain Name: Determine Which Top-Level Domain To Use

I know: You’re ready to go out there and buy a domain name. Hold up there for a second. Because you must decide which generic top-level domain (TLD) you will use first. What is a TLD? It’s one of the following in this list that’s commonly available:

Should You Consider Using A New TLD?

You may have seen some new TLDs available for purchase that aren’t “traditional,” like .academy or .me. Should you consider using those? Yes. These aren’t going to affect the ranking of your website in a search engine. And some actually tell visitors the purpose of your website before they visit it. If you are building a training course it’s appropriate to use a .academy TLD. Or if you’re building a membership website then using a .club TLD is reasonable.

Should You Buy Multiple Or All TLDs For Your Domain Name?

This is a good question. Let’s say you’re looking to buy example.com. Upon searching you find that domain name available but also example.net, example.org, example.me, and more. Should you also purchases those TLDs? It’s not a bad idea. Especially if you want to protect your brand. If you want until later to buy those TLDs they may not be available because someone else bought them.

Use An Original Name

A problem that some individuals or companies run into when choosing their domain name is picking one that similar to another company.

Let’s say you decide to use the name goog.com. However, that’s similar to google.com. Even if that name is available to purchase, I highly suggest you don’t. Why? Because Google will come after you for infringing on their trademark and/or brand. They sued the owner(s) behind oogle.com in 2012. Nolo discusses how domain names can quality for a trademark. If you would like to learn more about this, Donut has a fine FAQ section dealing with this topic. Also, ICANN has a page devoted to this too.

A great way to find an original domain name is to use a business name generator. You get a list of names by entering words suited to your business. Using BusinessNameGenerator (BNG), I entered the following: “crazy tshirts” and here are a few of my results:

Some of these names had a .com TLD available while others were for sale. Your results will be different, but this is a good option to try.

How To Buy A Domain Name: Consider A Premium Name

Here’s how to buy a domain name for your particular brand: Consider purchasing a premium domain name. According to Namecheap, premium domain names “are short domains, often made up of just one word or 3-5 letters. They are also known as ‘aftermarket’ or ‘pre-registered’ domains.” Here are some examples:

These names are catchy, which is gold when it comes to marketing. So when buying a domain name it’s good to consider if it’s worth the money to buy a premium one. Namecheap wrote a blog post about several companies spending $10,000+ for their premium domain names. While this price tag is expensive for many individuals and small companies, you can look at the investment as part of building your brand.

How To Buy A Domain Name: Determine How Long To Buy Your Domain Name

When it comes to the length of how long you own your domain name, the default is 1 year. However, many domain registrars allow you to add years for an additional cost.

The benefit of this is to save money and being less likely to forget to renew your name. Yep, once you buy a domain name you have to renew it every year. It’s like car registration.

I personally use 1 year terms for my domain names because the cost savings weren’t that great for me (but could be for you). Also, I have my domain names set to auto-renew and keep a valid credit card on file. I still get an email from my domain registrar stating it’s time to renew my name.


This article originally appeared on my personal website: bcgates.com

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