Domain Names: A Primer For Beginners

Learn more about domain names in this primer for beginners.

Domain Names: A Primer For Beginners

This tutorial is part of our WordPress installation tutorials, where we show you how to install a WordPress site or blog with no coding skills required.

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Your domain name is your unique web address.

Because your domain name is how most people will find your business online and identify with your brand, it’s important to have as much control of your domain name as you can.

Important Info

You can register a unique domain name for around US$10-$15 per year or less, depending on the domain name registrar you choose.

help For a step-by-step tutorial on how to register a domain name, go here:

redarrow How To Register A Domain Name

Technically speaking, you don’t own a domain name, you lease it.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is the organization responsible for managing and administering domain names worldwide.

ICANN.org

(ICANN.org)

help You can learn more about ICANN by visiting its website here:

redarrow ICANN

Here are some important things about domain names that you need to know:

Domain Name Registrant Details

Make sure that the domain name is registered in either your name or your business name. This is especially important if someone else has registered your domain name on your behalf (e.g. a web developer or web services agency).

Most developers will do the right thing when it comes to registering domain names on behalf of their clients, but occasionally, an unscrupulous developer will register domain names under their own name and then lease the domain back to their clients. This is sometimes done to ensure that clients won’t leave them …

Make sure that your domain name registration details are correct

(Make sure that your domain name registration details are correct!)

You can check your domain name registration details by visiting the website below, and entering the domain name into the search field:

http://whois.icann.org

Note: It’s typical for web developers or agencies who register domain names on behalf of their clients to enter their contact details in the ‘Technical Contact’ or ‘Admin Contact’ fields. The ‘Registrant Contact’ details, however, should be in your name or your business name.

Secure Your Domain Name Family And Business Brand

The other important aspect of controlling your domain name is to try and secure the entire domain name ‘family’ if possible, as well as social media usernames that represent your brand or business name.

This prevents your competitors from controlling online assets that could be identified with or mistaken for your business.

An example of a domain name ‘family’ is shown below:

  • yourdomain.com
  • yourdomain.net
  • yourdomain.org
  • yourdomain.info
  • yourdomain.co.uk
  • yourdomain.com.au
  • yourdomain.us
  • etc …

Having a web presence has become so important to how we do business today that anyone contemplating starting a new business seriously needs to consider whether to use a name if the domain name version is already taken by someone else.

Put yourself in your competitors’ shoes for a moment …

Would you go through all the bother and expense of promoting a new business if every domain name related to your business belonged to someone else?

Probably not. What would be the point of spending money and working hard to promote and advertise your business only to send more and more potential customers to someone else’s website?

By focusing too narrowly on your local market, you could fail to see the wider global implications of the importance of safeguarding your brand online.

For example, many small businesses in Australia will register a .com.au domain for their business, but not necessarily the .com version of the same domain. This is the same for business owners all over the world – businesses in the UK will register a .co.uk domain, South African businesses will register a .za domain, Canadians a .ca domain, etc., but not the entire domain family.

If someone else owns another version of your domain, they could benefit from the traffic being generated by your efforts.

This may not seem like a big deal, but it’s something that can be prevented and that can help you avoid headaches later on, especially if you start growing your presence online internationally.

Not owning all of the domains associated with your business can weaken your brand.

With this in mind, here are a couple of really simple and inexpensive strategies that will help you safeguard your brand online and help add a layer of protection against your competitors:

Strategy #1: Secure All Domain Names Related To Your Brand

As mentioned earlier, one way to safeguard your business brand online is to register all of the variants of your domain name.

Some of the most common strategies for doing this include:

  • Registering the .com, .net and .org versions of your domain (e.g. mystore.com, mystore.net, mystore.org)
  • Registering your domain internationally (e.g. mystore.com.au, mystore.co.uk)
  • Registering both the hyphenated and non-hyphenated versions of your domain (e.g. mystore.com, my-store.com)
  • Registering a number of keyword-rich domains related to your business – you can then use these to build separate sites focused on niches in your industry and drive targeted traffic to your main web site, or develop these domains into separate divisions of your business.

Registering multiple domains is a relatively inexpensive investment and offers many benefits and advantages, such as:

  • It gives you a local / global monopoly over the brand.
  • It prevents competitors from securing those domains and diverting traffic to their sites.
  • It stops people registering business names offline that are similar or related to your domain.
  • It can significantly increase the resale value of your business.

Think about it … what other strategy can you think of that for a few dollars per year, will safeguard your business brand online and prevent potential competitors both locally and internationally from promoting their business using a similar name as yours?

Now … you may be wondering what to do with all of those domains after you have registered them. The simplest thing to do is to redirect all of these similar domains that you now own to just one domain (e.g. the main domain that you will be promoting).

Here are a couple of simple ways to do this:

  • Domain Parking: You can park your domain on top of another domain
  • Domain Redirect: You can set up the domain with a simple redirect code which then sends visitors from that domain to your main domain.

Use domain parking and domain redirection to point visitors to your main domain or any other domains

(Use domain parking and domain redirection to point visitors to your main domain or any other domains)

Parking and Redirecting domains is a fairly simple process. You can do this in your webhosting control panel.

Once you have your domain portfolio secured, you don’t have to build a website for each domain. Just park or redirect your domain and you’re all done!

help To register a domain name, see this step-by-step tutorial:

redarrow How To Register A Domain Name

Strategy #2: Secure Web 2.0 Usernames

The web has undergone many significant changes. One of these is the increasing relevance and dominance of social media sites like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and dozens of other social networks and bookmarking sites.

Establishing an online presence in all major social networks is important not only in terms of creating a growing awareness for your business online, but it also helps to generate new sources of traffic and customers for your products and services.

The FIRST thing to do, then, is to secure your brand name with as many social sites as you can before someone else takes your name.

Vanity URLs

Many social sites allow you to specify a username when creating an account that will then become part of your account’s web address for that site. These web addresses are typically called a vanity URL. By using your business name as the username on these sites, you can create vanity URLs that will help to strengthen your brand online.

Here are some examples of vanity URLs:

  • Facebook.com/yourbusiness
  • Twitter.com/yourbusiness
  • LinkedIn.com/yourbusiness
  • etc…

You can check to see if your desired username is still available at dozens of popular Social Networking and Social Bookmarking websites by visiting the site below:

http://namechk.com

Namechk

(Namechk)

Type in your desired username or vanity url and click the button to check its availability at dozens of the most popular social networking and social bookmarking sites. A list of all sites where the username is still available will be instantly returned, allowing you to visit those sites and create an account using your chosen username …

Find out which usernames are available

(Find out which usernames are available)

Tips For Unique Or Trademarked Business Names

What if your business name is a unique or trademarked name?

The same advice given earlier applies here … register all domain names related to your business and create as many accounts as you can with social networking and social bookmarking sites using your unique username.

Register Keyword-Related Domains

There is one more strategy you can use to protect your brand online … register keyword-rich domains related to your products and services.

This works well for businesses that have an unusual brand name (e.g., think of ‘Hammacher Schlemmer’, the giant American Catalog company), but would also like to have control of the main keywords related to their products or services.

Using a completely made up example, let’s say that you want to build a global online brand with a funky name like HowDooYooDoo.

Using the strategies discussed earlier, you would register the domain name HowDooYooDoo.com and its domain family (i.e. the .net, .org, .biz, .us, etc ).

Now … what if one of the products you plan to sell through HowDooYooDoo is a line of funky greeting cards? The name ‘HowDooYooDoo.com‘ may be unique sounding and even have a fun, catchy ring to it, but it is meaningless to search engines (and probably also to most people searching online for ‘greeting cards‘).

What you would do in this case, is perform some basic keyword research first to see what kind of search volume there is for keywords related to ‘greeting cards’ and the keywords you are interested in (e.g. ‘funky greeting cards’, etc.)

Next, you would do a ‘bulk’ domain search to see what keyword-related domains are available.

You would then go through the list, select the domains that appeal to you and register these.

Once you have registered these keyword-based domains, you could then either redirect the domain to your main website or a subfolder of your site (e.g. ‘HowDooYooDoo.com‘ or ‘HowDooYooDoo.com/funky-greeting-cards‘), or build an entire network of sites (one for each domain you have registered), and make the content specific to the topic of your domain name (e.g. sell oversized greeting cards at ‘GiantGreetingCards.net‘, and sell funny birthday greeting cards at ‘FunnyBirthdayGreetingCards.com‘).

You could then add links on all of your sites pointing to your main website and catalog of greeting cards at ‘HowDooYooDoo.com‘ …

Point visitors from your satellite sites to your main site

(Point visitors from your satellite sites to your main site)

Once you have a few strategies in place to capture your visitors details (e.g. a newsletter), you can then direct visitors to all of the sites that you own and start building segmented customer lists.

help To learn more about registering keyword-related domains or bulk registering domain names, see the tutorial below:

redarrow How To Bulk Register Domain Names

Final Tip – Find Expired Domains

You can search for keyword-rich domain names that have expired and add these to your domain portfolio. Expired domains are domain names that the previous owner has chosen not to renew. Once a domain name expires, it becomes available for anyone to purchase.

Every day, thousands of domain names expire. Expired domains can be quite valuable depending on a number of factors, such as domain age, domain name length, number of active links pointing to the domain, etc.

Be aware, though, that this is a highly competitive market – many expired domain buyers use sophisticated tools and software to identify and bid on keywords that are about to expire.

help Search for expired domain names by visiting the site below:

redarrow How To Find Expired Domain Names

Domain Management Panel

ICANN, the body responsible for managing domain names globally, assigns the actual task of processing domain name registrations and domain name renewals to accredited agencies called Domain Registrars.

For a list of worldwide ICANN-accredited registrars go here:

http://www.internic.net

Most leading Domain Registrars provide users with access to domain management services like a control panel that lets domain owners perform various administrative tasks such as managing contact and registration details, monitoring domain expiry/renewal dates, managing webhosting and security settings, etc…

Most Domain Registrars also require you to maintain a valid source of payment in its billing section (e.g. a current, valid credit card or PayPal account details).

If you plan to outsource your domain management, this can present a security issue, as whoever is managing your domain names may ask you to provide them with your full credit card details.

For this reason, I recommend that you consider either managing your domain names yourself, or entering the payment details yourself when setting up your Domain Registrar account so that only you have access to credit card numbers, security codes, etc.

Hopefully, the above information has helped you understand more about the importance of protecting your brand online and given you some new ideas and practical tips on ways to gain a massive competitive business advantage.

Domain Management  – Taking Control

The information below will help you gain more control over your domain name(s).

Outsourcing Domain Management

Use the checklist below if you plan to outsource your domain management:

  • Make sure that whoever registers your domain name creates a separate Domain Registrar account for your business and provides you with the account login details. See the point made earlier about keeping your payment details secure.
  • Confirm that all domain names will be registered using your name or business name and your contact details as the Domain Name Registrant.
  • Ask for copies of all domain name registration confirmation emails to be forwarded to you. Enter these details in your master document (e.g. your master spreadsheet).
  • Log into your domain management area and check that your domains have been set to ‘lock’ and ‘auto-renew’ in your Domain Registrar’s administration panel.

DIY Domain Management

If you plan to manage your own domain names, see these detailed step-by-step tutorials:

Also, search online or see your web hosting provider’s tutorials for the following:

  • How To Park A Domain Name
  • How To Redirect A Domain Name
  • How To Transfer And Manage Domain Names

Key Points To Take Away – Domain Names

  • It only costs around $10 – $15 or less per year to register a domain name for most extensions. Beware of anyone offering domain name registration services at a significantly higher cost, especially “official-looking” domain name transfer and renewal forms sent via mail from competing domain registrars.
  • Ensure that all domain names are registered under your name / business name and that the domain has been set to ‘lock’ and ‘auto-renew’ to prevent accidental loss through unauthorized transfers or domain expiration.
  • Register as many domain names in your ‘domain family’ (and keyword-related domains) as possible. This is the cheapest way to prevent competitors from stealing your traffic and protect your business brand.

Domain Names – Useful Resources

  • ICANN – Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers official website.
  • WHOIS – Look up domain name registrant details (i.e. who owns the domain name.)
  • GoDaddy – Domain registrar services, domain auctions, expired domain backorders, etc.
  • Namecheap – Domain name registrar services

Domain Names: A Primer For Beginners

(Source: iStockPhoto)

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How To Set Up Nameservers For Your Domain Name

Learn how to set up nameservers to connect your domain name with your webhosting account during your WordPress installation.

Liquid Web Managed Word Press

How To Set Up A Nameserver For Your Domain NameThis tutorial is part of our WordPress installation step-by-step training series, where we show you how to install a WordPress site or blog with no coding skills required.

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After registering your domain name and setting up your webhosting account, the next step is to configure nameservers to connect your domain name with your web host.

What Is A Domain Name Server And What Does It Do?

A Domain Name Server (DNS) is an internet service that translates domain names into Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. This is required, because while we use domain names that are easier to remember, computers on the internet access websites using numbers (IP addresses). Every time you type a domain name into your browser, a DNS service has to translate the domain name into its corresponding IP address to help you find the correct website.

All domain names have an IP address

Source: http://www.hcidata.info

Every domain name has an IP address. A nameserver is typically the address for the DNS (short for Domain Name Server) that hosts your domain name records.

Nameservers work behind the scenes 24/7 to tell web browsers where to look on the internet for your domain name. When you register a new domain name or update the DNS servers for your domain name, domain name servers around the world need to be updated to access the information. This usually takes about 12-36 hours and is referred to as propagation.

It usually takes 12-36 hours for DNS to propagate worldwide

(Nameservers usually require 12-36 hours to propagate. Source: whatsmydns.net)

While all this may sound complicated, it’s not! You don’t need technical skills to configure nameservers for your domain name. We’ll show you exactly what to do in this tutorial.

Tip

You should already be familiar with the following tutorials:

In addition to the written tutorials in the WordPress installation training module, we also recommend watching the video tutorials listed in our WordPress Installation Video Tutorials section.

How To Set Up A Nameserver For Your Domain Name

You make your domain name visible to online users by “pointing” your domain name to your web host servers.

To set your domain’s nameservers, you will need the details provided by your web hosting company (see screenshot below) …

Your host will provide your nameserver details

(Your host will provide your nameserver details)

Important

If you need reliable web hosting for your WordPress site, check out these web hosting companies:

redarrow HostGator – HostGator is one of the world’s most popular web hosting companies providing unmetered, reliable bandwidth and disk space for unlimited domains.

redarrow LiquidWeb – Liquid Web is a premier web hosting provider specializing in managed dedicated servers, dedicated server hosting, VPS, shared web hosting and heroic support.

redarrow WPEngine – WPEngine offers robust and world-class infrastructure options for a variety of customer sizes and traffic needs.

redarrow BlueHost – Bluehost provides fast and reliable website hosting with everything you need to get your website online quickly.

redarrow WPWebhost – WPWebHost is a WordPress hosting company specializing in hosting and supporting WordPress powered blogs.

To help you understand the importance of getting this step right, here’s a screenshot of what happens when nameservers have not been set up (or set up incorrectly) and someone types your URL into their browser …

This site can't be reached

(Don’t let visitors see this instead of your website!)

If your nameservers have been set up incorrectly, online users will see an error message like the above when they type the domain name into their browser, instead of visiting your site.

How To Point Your Domain Name To Your Web Host – Step-By-Step Tutorial

After you have registered your domain name and set up your webhosting account, the next step is to connect these together. This is required so that when people type your domain name into their browsers, they will actually end up going to your website.

Info

For this tutorial, we’ll connect a domain purchased through GoDaddy with hosting from HostGator. Other domain registrars should have similar management features to set up your domain nameservers.

Note:

  • If you have purchased your domain name and webhosting through HostGator, your domain will be automatically configured to work on their nameservers (you can skip this tutorial).
  • If you have registered a domain name with GoDaddy (or another domain registrar), then you will need to instruct the registrar to point your domain to your webhosting server (we’ll show you this in the tutorial below).

To set up your domain nameservers, visit GoDaddy and enter your username and password to log into your account …

Log into your domain registrar account

(Log into your domain registrar account)

Inside your account area, locate ‘Domains’ and click on ‘Manage’ to open up your domain management console …

Manage Domains

(Domain Management Console)

Typically, most users will only have one or a few domains. If you have registered many domains, use one of the administration find / search features to locate the domain name you will be configuring …

Domain Search feature

(Domain Search feature)

Tick the checkbox next to the domain to activate the domain name management options in the menu above the domain list and locate the Nameservers feature …

Selecting the domain to configure

(Select the domain to configure)

Select ‘Set Nameservers’ from the Nameservers menu …

Set Nameservers

(Set Nameservers)

The Nameserver Settings window will pop up on your screen. Typically, the nameservers will point to the host’s own servers, so you will need to enter custom settings.

Select ‘Custom’ and click on ‘Enter custom nameservers’ or the ‘Add Nameserver’ button  …

Enter custom nameservers

(Enter custom nameservers)

Most web hosts require at least two nameserver addresses. Enter the first address listed in the email from your web host and click ‘Add Another’ …

Enter your first nameserver

(Enter your first nameserver)

Add additional nameserver addresses and click Finish

Add additional nameservers

(Add additional nameservers)

Verify that you have entered everything correctly and click Save when done to update your settings …

Save your new nameserver settings

(Save your new nameserver settings)

A confirmation message will let you know that your changes have been submitted …

Allow a few hours for changes to take effect

(Your nameservers have been changed)

It can take anywhere from a few moments to a day or two for changes to nameservers to start taking effect. DNS servers world-wide will be notified of the address changes and begin pointing online users to the correct domain URL on your web hosting server. If you experience any problems, contact your web host for assistance.

Check Your Nameservers

Here are some free online tools you can use to check that your nameservers have been properly configured and are working correctly:

What’s My DNS

What's My DNS

(What’s My DNS)

What’s My DNS provides an online DNS Propagation Checker that lets you instantly perform a DNS lookup to check a domain name’s current IP address and DNS record information against multiple name servers located in different parts of the world. This allows you to check the current state of DNS propagation after having made changes to your domain’s records.

PINGDOM

Pingdom

(Pingdom)

Pingdom provides a DNS Check that will check your DNS health and help you find errors, and verify that you domain name has been set up correctly. The DNS check will automatically find out which DNS servers are used by your domain name, then perform a number of tests on them to make sure that the domain name is properly set up and that the DNS servers are working correctly.

Congratulations! Now you know how to set up a nameserver for your domain name.

How To Set Up A Nameserver For Your Domain Name

(Source: Pixabay)

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How To Register A Domain Name

Learn how to register a domain name for your website or blog.

Register A Domain Name

This tutorial is part of our WordPress installation step-by-step training series, where we show you how to install a WordPress site or blog on your own domain name with no coding skills required.

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Before installing or setting up a WordPress site or blog, you will need to register a domain name.

Although WordPress provides users with a “hosted” and a “self-hosted” option, we recommend that you consider choosing the self-hosted option when setting up a new WordPress site or blog. This gives you complete control of your own presence and requires having your own domain name.

We explain the main differences between the “hosted” vs the “self-hosted” WordPress options in more detail in this tutorial: Decide Where To Install Your WordPress Site

Important

If you’re not building a digital presence on your own domain name, then you are growing someone else’s asset!

For this reason, if you’re planning to build your own business online, we recommend installing your website and blog on a domain that you own or control.

So … the first step BEFORE you install WordPress is to register a domain name.

Register A Domain Name

This section of the WordPress installation training module covers the following areas:

Registering A Domain Name – Domain Name Providers

There are a number of domain name providers (called registrars) that you can choose to register your domain name with (e.g. GoDaddy, Namecheap, etc.), or you can search online for terms like:

  • domain name registrar
  • domain name registration
  • domain name provider
  • domain name registration your country
  • etc.

In this step-by-step tutorial, we will use GoDaddy to show you how to register a domain for your site. GoDaddy’s domain registration prices are reasonable and they provide excellent domain name management and administration services and an easy-to-use domain name control panel.

You can use whatever registrar you like, as the registration process shown in our tutorial is similar for all domain service providers.

Useful Tips For Registering A Great Domain Name

Choosing a great domain name is not always a simple or straightforward process. You can spend a lot of time thinking up a good name, only to find out that the domain name you really want is already taken.

Here are some useful tips on how to choose and register a great domain name:

Register your domain with an ICANN accredited registrar.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is the non-profit corporation responsible for assigning and managing domain names. Specifically, ICANN coordinates the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions, which are key technical services critical to the continued operations of the Internet’s underlying address book, the Domain Name System (DNS), which ensures that computers know where to find each other and that the world has one global Internet.

Registering your domain name with an ICANN accredited registrar ensures that your domain name is managed by a regulated service that complies with all standards and protocols.

Domain must be available.

There are no special requirements to register a .com, .net, or .org domain (other than they must not be already registered to someone else!) If the domain name you want is already registered to someone else, the next tip can help you.

Domains can expire.

If the domain name you would like to register is already taken, you may still be able to acquire it in the future if the domain name owner allows it to expire, or if the owner decides to sell it. Expired domains, domain name auctions and domain flipping (i.e. buying a domain and immediately putting it up for sale at a premium price) are typical methods used to acquire existing domains.

Domain cost.

You can typically purchase a .com, .net, or .org domain for around $10-15 per year or less and choose the renewal period from one to ten years (the longer the registration period, the more you save on domain registration and renewal fees).

.COM is still the preferred TLD (Top Level Domain) option.

The domain name market has recently opened up to include all kinds of extensions (e.g. yourdomain.space, yourdomain.courses, yourdomain.healthcare, etc.)

If you can get your domain name with the .COM domain extension, you should register it. .COMs are still the most recognizable top level domains (TLD) and most people will generally type the .COM version first when searching for a website.

Preferably, you should include the .COM version of the domain name you want, even if you plan to do business in a country that has its own domain extension (e.g. .com.au, .co.uk, etc …). Additionally, consider also registering the .NET and .ORG versions of the domain. You can easily set up domain names with different extensions to send all traffic to your main domain name. We cover this in a separate tutorial.

Shorter is better.

The shorter your domain name is, the better. A shorter domain name is easier to remember and print on stationery, signage, etc.

Having said this, keep in mind that it’s getting harder to find great domain names that are also shorter in length. They are still out there, you just have to look a little harder.

Make it easy to spell.

Avoid domain names that are very difficult or tricky to spell. It’s best to avoid “clever” variations that can end up confusing online users (and even send visitors to your competition). Sometimes – and especially when a good domain name is already taken – it can be tempting to try and be clever. For example, doma1n.com (substituting the letter “i” with the number “1”), or domayn.com.

Additionally, try to avoid using numbers like “4” as a substitute of “for” (e.g. Work4Yourself.com) and “2” as a substitute of “to”, as you will then find yourself continually having to tell people that it’s “4” not “for”. Similarly, avoid things like “u” for “you”, etc.

if possible, also try to avoid domain names with adjoining or truncated letters – e.g. gooddatingguide.com / goodatinguide.com, as this can be confusing and easily lead to misspelling by visitors.

Using Hyphenated Words.

If your preferred domain name is already taken, you may be tempted to register the same domain with hyphenated words. While many SEO experts disagree about the pros and cons of using hyphenated domains vs using domains with no hyphens for search optimization purposes, the downsides of using a hyphenated domain is that it makes the domain name longer and more prone to errors, and if the non-hyphenated version is already in use by someone else, users may end up visiting a different website.

If you choose to register a domain name with hyphens, then we suggest adding a hyphen between every word in your domain, e.g. my-business-website.com, instead of mybusiness-website.com or my-businesswebsite.com.

Use your main keyword in your domain.

Choosing a keyword-rich domain name that specifically targets your business, niche or main website topic can be beneficial for search engine optimization purposes, contextual advertising, etc …

Avoid using too many keywords in your domain or limiting your domain name to a very narrow niche. You want to avoid using a domain name that is very long or that looks spammy.

Ideally, aim for a domain name with 2-3 keywords. Anything longer than this is called a long-tailed keyword and can significantly narrow your appeal from a larger audience to a “niche” market audience.

Tip: If you’re going to register a long-tailed keyword domain, then make sure there are enough people searching for your keywords. See this tutorial for additional information: How To Find Keyword-Rich Domain Names Quickly

Localized Domain Names.

If you run a local business, consider including your city, state or region in your domain name. For example, OakridgeApplianceCleaning.com, SunnyFieldsHomeMaintenance.com, etc …

Business Branding Domains.

In today’s global digital economy, it’s not smart to register a business name if all the domain names associated with that business name are already taken. If you have a brandable business name or business idea, therefore, we recommend trying to secure the entire domain ‘family’ if possible to protect your brand.

Singular vs. Plural Domains.

If it makes sense, try to register both singular and plural versions of your domain name. e.g. AJCleaningService.com and AJCleaningServices.com.

Avoid using trademarked terms.

It’s a bad idea to build your business online using domains that contain trademarked terms (e.g. GoogleMarketingExperts.com). Using trademarked terms in your domain name can land you in legal hot water and potential lawsuits.

If your business is built around another company’s products or services, try to find a generic term that will not infringe on the trademark or cause issues with copyright and intellectual property.

For example, we provide WordPress tutorials on this site. The term “WordPress” itself is trademarked and businesses that provide WordPress-related services are advised not to use it in their domain names.  Hence, this site is called “wpcompendium.org” (allowed), and not “wordpresscompendium.org” (not allowed).

Change your business name if the domain is taken.

This may sound absurd, but if you haven’t registered a business name yet and you find out that the domain name(s) you were planning to register for your business have already been taken by someone else, then it may be worthwhile to consider using a different business name. As stated earlier, you need to carefully rethink about registering a business name if all the domain names associated with that name have already been registered by other parties.

Registering A Domain Name – Step-by-Step Tutorial

The tutorial below shows you how to register a domain name with GoDaddy …

GoDaddy - Domain name registration services

(GoDaddy – Domain name registrar)

Enter your desired domain name in the search box and click Go

Search for domain name availability

(Search for an available domain name)

If the domain is already taken, a message will appear letting you know that the domain name is not available …

This domain name is not available

(This domain name is not available)

The results screen will show you if there are any extensions of a domain that are still available (e.g. .net, .org, etc.). GoDaddy.com also offers a backorder domain registration service, which allows you to register your interest in acquiring a domain name if it becomes available in the future.

If the domain name you want is available, you will see a message on the screen letting you know that the domain can be registered. GoDaddy will also list all the domain extensions that are available for registration and allow you to explore different naming variations of the domain …

GoDaddy Domain Registration Screen

(Check if your domain names are available)

Tip

Learn how to find available keyword rich domain names quickly.

To add the domain to your shopping cart, click the Select button …

Select your domain name for registration

(Select your domain name for registration)

Click ‘Continue to Cart’ to continue the domain name registration process …

Click Continue to Cart to register your domain name

(Domain name registration process – Continue to cart)

You may be greeted with a special offer to purchase additional extensions of your domain name at discounted prices. If you want to take advantage of the special pricing and secure the entire domain name ‘family’ (i.e. a portfolio of related domains), then go ahead and click on the Add button to add these to your shopping cart, or click No Thanks to dismiss the offer and continue with the registration process …

You can purchase related domain names if these are available!

(You can purchase related domain names if these are available!)

You will also be offered additional options such as making your domain name private, web hosting, a branded email address, etc. We recommend skipping all of the optional extras for now, as we will show you how to set up your own web hosting and branded email address in other tutorials.

To continue the registration process, click on the ‘Scroll down’ and ‘Continue to Cart’ buttons …

GoDaddy - domain name registration process

(GoDaddy – domain name registration process)

You can easily add new domains and remove domain names and other items from your shopping cart …

Easily add and remove items from your shopping cart

(Easily add and remove items from your shopping cart)

An important option to consider before completing your domain name registration purchase is the length of time you would like to register your domain name for. Leave the default setting as is, or choose a longer registration period to save time and money on domain name renewal fees.

Select the domain registration renewal period from the  drop down menu (e.g. 1 yr) and any additional options you may want to add on this screen …

Select your domain name options

(Select your domain name options)

When you are happy with all the options you have selected, click on Proceed to Checkout

Domain name registration process - proceed to checkout

(Domain name registration process – proceed to checkout)

If this is your first purchase, you will be asked to create an account with your domain registration information …

Create an account with your domain services registrar

(Create an account with your domain services registrar)

Complete all fields in order to proceed …

Domain name registration process - create an account

(Domain name registration process – create an account)

Once you have created your account and user profile, review your shopping cart details, then read and accept the terms and conditions of the registration agreement and click on the order button to complete your domain registration …

Agree to registrar terms of service and place your domain order

(Agree to registrar terms of service and place your domain order)

Once your order has been successfully processed, you will see a confirmation of your purchase on the screen …

Domain registration confirmation

(Successful registration confirmation)

You will also receive a couple of emails containing your purchase receipt, invoice, plus domain name information, technical support contact details, etc. We recommend printing these emails for your records …

Domain name registration confirmation email

(Domain name registration confirmation email)

Once your domain name registration is complete, hold onto your purchase and domain details, as you will need the following information for the next step of the WordPress installation process:

  • Your domain name details
  • Your domain registrar account login details

Domain Names – Useful Resources

  • ICANN – Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers official website.
  • WHOIS – Look up domain name registrant details (i.e. who owns the domain name.)
  • GoDaddy – Domain name registrar services, domain auctions, expired domain backorders, etc.
  • Namecheap – Domain name registrar services

Congratulations! If you have completed all of the above steps and registered your domain name, then you are ready for the next step.

Registering A Domain Name

(Source: Shutterstock)

Click one of the buttons below to continue …

Find Available Domains

Learn How To Set Up Web Hosting

Skip This Step (I Have Web Hosting)

Back To WordPress Installation Tutorials Index

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