Domain name and web hosting go hand in hand together. What decided you to register a domain name? Did you make a domain name search? Did you check domain name availability?
I will answer all these questions in this article.
What is a domain name?
A domain name is your website address. For example www.buzzandtips.com. It reflects your company, brand, or niche.
Technically speaking, a website or blog has a fixed IP address (e.g., 18.104.22.168). And because it’s easier for humans to remember a name than numbers, we got the domain names. The resolution of a domain name to an IP address is accomplished via DNS (Domain Name System). So, every time you type a domain name in your browser URL address bar (e.g., https://www.buzzandtips.com), a session is established to your website IP address.
OK, enough of that tekkie stuff.
How to select your domain name?
First, you must determine your niche. It could be dog training, photography, gardening, etc.
To help you define your niche, please refer to my article “3 Easy Steps to Pick a Profitable Niche”
Some tips to bear in mind when picking a domain name:
- Select a domain that represents your brand or niche.
- Use .com TLD (top level domain). A .com is better for SEO purposes. You can choose other TLDs like .biz. But they may be associated with spam.
- The use of dashes or hyphens is not an excellent idea.
- Don’t use exact match domain for SEO ranking purposes, e.g., containing your keyword phrase
- Avoid using numbers
- Use something memorable and easy to pronounce.
- Combine two or three words together.
- The shorter, the better, keep it simple
Can you use your name as a domain name?
Of course, you can. It also depends on of what you intend to do with your website in the future. Do you want to resell it? If so, don’t use your name. Use a brand name instead.
Brainstorming for domain names
I suggest you start brainstorming about your domain name. It can be on a pad of paper. You can also use your mind mapping software of choice. Examples are Scapple, Xmind, SimpleMind (works on smartphone, tablets and laptop). I use all three tools; it just depends on my mood.
Give it some time. Once you come up with ideas, proceed with the next step: check for domain name availability.
Make sure your domain name is available
Here is a list of tools that will inspire you with domain names. Sometimes they are called domain name generators. They will also reveal domain name availability.
Bust A Name
Bust A Name is one of my favorite tools to lookup domain names.
Word combiner: On the left, you can brainstorm for your domain name by combining several words.
From the options, you can select the proper domain extensions, prefixes, suffixes, two or three-word combine.
Quick Domain Check: Determine your domain name availability by typing it in that field. In that example, I typed poodledogtraining, and it is available in the three top TLDs (.com, .net and .org).
Again, this is just an example. You don’t need to use your keyword phrase in the domain name. It won’t help search rankings anymore.
Another of my favorite tools is LeanDomainSearch. In the example below, I only typed “food”.
From the legend on the right, green results represent available domains. All domains are .com.
On the left sidebar, you can sort results by popularity, length, alphabetical order.
You can filter results as follows: starts with the search term or ends with the search term.
As you can see, you will not run short of ideas with this domain research tool.
Panabee is another excellent domain research tool.
Below I typed “mobile app”. It displayed both the free (blue heart) and unavailable names (broken heart).
By default, it searches the .com extension. You can click on the .com at the top and select another TLD or extension if you wish.
At the bottom, you can click on the show more link to display more entries.
You will also find a box that lists related terms, see below:
How about Social Media?
Besides your blog, you will have several social media channels in place.
When choosing a brand name, it’s nice to reuse the same name for all social channels (but not a must).
Namecheckr is a tool that checks whether a name is available on several social channels.
In the next example, I typed “poodledogtraining”.
Namecheckr confirms that the following is available:
- The .com extension
- A bunch of others for which I don’t care
However, the Twitter handle is already taken by somebody else.
Registering a New Domain
Now that you have selected your domain name and verified its availability, it’s time for domain name registration.
During registration, you will need to provide your name, address, phone number and a payment form. Usually, a domain registration renews every year at minimum. If you subscribe for a longer term, you will save money.
Once finished with registration, you can start building your website and use that domain name.
Domain Registration Privacy
One word about your privacy. Whenever you register a domain name, it is stored in the WHOIS system. WhoIS is the database of contact information for domain-name owners. It is possible to look up the registrant (a person like you registering a domain name) information for any domain name. Free web tools like whois.net will provide your personal information to any spammer, marketer, etc.
To avoid spamming, then subscribe to the privacy option during domain registration. It only costs a few dollars, and you get peace of mind.
Wrapping It Up
You can now choose a domain name that fits your brand. We covered several tools that provide inspiration for the best domain name for your website. Your next step is to build a website around your brand. And for that, you need a good web hosting solution. The ones that I used and recommend are SiteGround and WPX Hosting. At Siteground, you will find plans for all budgets and they come with a free domain name (they will handle the registration for you). Both hosting providers offer top notch support and uptime.
Until next time!