Register a Domain Name
A domain name is an important part of your website's online presence. It's how potential visitors will remember you, so choose wisely.
The internet is a network of computers that are connected and capable of communicating with each other using a network protocol called TCP/IP. In order for the machines to identify themselves, they are assigned a numeric value called an IP address (ex: 220.127.116.11). As it is not possible to remember all those numbers for all the different sites, the concept of domain names was introduced. A domain name is a human-readable and memorable representation of an IP address. When someone types in a domain name like Bluehost.com, the browser communicates with a root domain name server that acts as a dictionary and provides the appropriate IP.
A domain name consists of two parts: a top-level domain (TLD) and a second-level domain (SLD). In the domain name Bluehost.com, the TLD is ".com," and the SLD is "Bluehost." The "http" is not part of the domain name; rather, it is the protocol and a part of the entire web address, called a URL. So, when you choose your domain name, you are only concerned with the TLD and SLD.
The SLD is where your creativity and originality come in. You may choose any name you like, as long as it does not infringe upon someone else's trademark. You may only use alphanumeric characters and hyphens, though hyphens cannot be used adjacently. Symbols and blank spaces are also not permitted in domain names.
- Log in to your Bluehost control panel.
- Click the Domains menu and then the Register submenu.
- Enter your desired domain name and click Check.
- Scroll down the list and click the shopping cart icon for any domain you'd like to add to your cart.
- When you're ready, click Next under the shopping cart list on your right.
- Choose your renewal setting: auto-renew or manual renew.
- Check the box to add Domain Privacy (optional).
- Read and agree to the Terms of Service.
- Click Add to Cart.
- Log in to your Bluehost Control Panel.
- Click the Domains tab from the left-side navigation.
- Click the Purchase Domain option from the sub-navigation.
- Enter the domain name you would like to register, then click Check.
- Click the cart icon next to an available domain, then click Next.
- Review the Registration Settings and click add to cart.
- Apply payment details and checkout.
Try to find a domain name that only has one possible spelling. Choosing a simple domain name without confusing spelling will make it easier for visitors to reach your website.
Shorter is Better
The shorter your domain name is, the easier it is for your visitors to remember, type, and tell others about it. Try using 6-10 consecutive characters.
Hyphens can really get someone lost. Not to mention, it can be difficult to embed the hyphen into someone's memory. If mydomain.com is taken and you decide to order my-domain.com because it is available, there is a great chance you will end up getting people lost at mydomain.com.
Consider Other Extensions
If you find the perfect domain name ending in .com, then it usually is a great idea to pick up other extensions like .net, .org, .info, .us, etc. as you can park these domains to point to your actual account to pick up any visitors that just may happen to type in a different extension.
Keep it Singular
This follows the same reasoning applied for avoiding hyphens. If mydomain.com is taken and you pick mydomains.com, there is a good chance you will be sending your traffic to mydomain.com as most domains are singular rather than plural. This is not so much the case when it comes to picking keyword-rich domains.
If someone owns a domain you want, and you see it is not in use, run a WHOIS to find the owner and communicate your interest in obtaining the domain.
Make it Keyword Rich
While this does not significantly impact SEO, it can help. For instance, if people are searching for "Texas motor events," texasmotorevents.com could be a great domain to buy for the mere fact that it is exactly what people are searching for.
This is applicable when someone navigates directly to a website by simply typing in what they are looking for, followed by “.com” in their browser's URL bar. This goes hand-in-hand with the previous tip of choosing a keyword-rich domain.
Avoid Numeral Substitutions
Numeral substitutions just really do not work. Tell someone your site is "advanc3.com," and you are guaranteed confusion.
This is for the same reason as avoiding numeral substitutes. For instance, ursite.com is a bad substitute for yoursite.com.
Make it Brandable
In the early days of the internet, no one knew what Google, Yahoo!, or Facebook was going to be. But now they do, and those domains are highly brandable. It does not hurt to get creative with your domain name in anticipation of future branding.
Avoid Copyright Issues
The last thing you want is legal trouble over your domain name.
Use a Thesaurus
Look for alternative words if something you want is already taken. This is a great way to come up with a creative name; however, make sure your alternative word is something that can be remembered and spelled properly.
If you are selling products or offering services online, then it is a great idea to use a domain that is related to your industry. This is a secondary "fall-back" if you cannot find a domain to match your actual business name. In an instance like this, industry-related domains are better suited for online sources or communities.
Take your time and put some real thought into it. If you have a business partner or someone you closely trust, work together to brainstorm a name. In most cases, you will already have a name if your site is going to be business-related.
Additional Information for Registrants
Please note: Once you have registered a domain name, it cannot be canceled for a refund.