Are you starting a website? Whether it’s for a new business venture you’re starting or as a personal resume or portfolio, it seems that everyone has a website today. And luckily, it’s easier than ever to start one.
The first step to starting a website is registering your domain, which is the address for your website. This guide will break down all the steps you need to choose your domain, register it, and start building your website.
Are you ready to set up a website for yourself or your business? You can register your domain in just as little as a few minutes with these four simple steps.
Step 1: Choose a domain name
The first step — and perhaps the most difficult — of registering a domain is deciding on a domain name. Because of how many websites already exist today, it can be challenging to find good domains that are still available. And yet, there’s a lot riding on choosing the right one, especially if you run a business. It’s the part of your website your customers will see, and it affects your website’s SEO.
Here are a few things to consider when choosing the right domain:
- Is it memorable? Make your domain name easy to remember, especially if you’re setting up a domain for your business. You want to make sure that visitors can easily return again and again.
- Is it easy to spell? If your domain is too long or difficult to spell, then visitors might have a hard time finding it. Here’s a good litmus test to decide if your name is easy enough to spell: When you say it out loud, is it obvious how it should be spelled? Just to make sure, you can ask a friend, family member, or acquaintance for their feedback. Can they spell it just by hearing you say it out loud? If not, you might want to find a simpler name.
- Does it identify your brand? Look for a domain name that identifies the brand you’re trying to build. If you’re building a personal website to use as a resume or portfolio, then it makes sense to register a domain that is your first and last name. On the other hand, if you’re registering a domain for your business, the best choice would be your business name. If you’re starting a new website or business and don’t have a name yet, consider choosing a name that identifies the niche or topic of your website.
- Is it legal to use? When you’re choosing a domain for your website, consider checking to see if someone has a trademark on that name. Even if they haven’t purchased the website, a trademark owner still has a legal claim to the name. The last thing you want is to purchase a domain, set up your website, and then find out that someone else owns the name you’ve chosen. Not only is it frustrating to change later, but it can also be expensive if it results in a lawsuit.
Step 2: Make sure your chosen domain is available
Once you’ve chosen your domain name, make sure it’s available. It can be disheartening to find the perfect name, only to find out when you go to purchase it that it’s not available. You can use any online domain registrar to check the availability of a domain.
If your domain isn’t available, consider looking at different suffixes. Most people automatically look for websites that end in .com. But that’s not the only option, and given the massive number of websites available today, more are becoming popular and common. Suffixes you can look for other than .com include:
After confirming that the domain you want is available, you may also want to confirm that the matching social media handles are available too. For businesses, it’s important that all of your online branding matches. An online tool like namecheckr.com can help you identify which social media handles are available matching your domain.
Step 3: Choose a domain registrar
Once you know what domain you plan to purchase, it’s time to decide which domain registrar to purchase it through. The domain registrar is the company that registers and manages the domain. There are many registrars to choose from, but they aren’t all created equally. Some factors to consider include the price of your domain, the registrar’s policy for transferring the domain, add-on services, and more.
Some of the most popular domain registrars are:
If you’ve already purchased a hosting plan, or plan to do so, you may consider purchasing your domain from your hosting provider. In many cases, you can get your domain for a free or discounted price with the purchase of a hosting plan.
Step 4: Purchase your domain
The only step left is to actually purchase your domain from your chosen domain registrar. This part is fairly self-explanatory, and your domain registrar will provide all the instructions you need along the way. Once your purchase is finalized, the domain is yours to do whatever you want with.
How much does it cost to register a domain?
The cost to register a domain depends on the registrar where you purchase it and the domain you’re purchasing. Many cost between just a few dollars to $20 per year, but some domain names can be considerably more expensive.
Can you register a domain name for free?
In general, you must pay to register a domain name. But some website hosts allow you to get a free domain name when you sign up for one year of hosting services.
Where is the best place to get a domain?
There are many registrars to choose from when registering a domain. Popular sites like Google Domains and GoDaddy make the process easy and affordable. But if you’re going to be purchasing web hosting as well, it might make the most sense to purchase your domain through your hosting provider.
What should you do after you register your website domain?
After you register your domain, you can sync your domain with your hosting plan. Then you can set up other channels using your chosen name, including a domain email address and social media handles. Finally, once your domain and hosting are synced, you can begin setting up your website.