Domain Buying Advice For Bloggers And Other Small Business Owners
Domain Buying Advice For Bloggers And Other Small Business Owners
As a blogger or small business owner, having a website is crucial for establishing your online presence and attracting potential customers.
However, you need to register a domain name before creating a website. It's the address that people will use to find your site.
This is important in building your brand and increasing your online visibility.
But with so many options available, it can be overwhelming to know where to start.
In this blog post, we'll dive into everything you need to know about buying a domain name.
We will discuss the basics of domain names, including what they are and why it's essential to choose one carefully.
We'll also explore how to find a domain name that fits your business and register it.
Let’s get started!
What is a Domain?
A domain name is a website address (such as www.strikingly.com) that you can type into your browser to reach a website.
Domain names are often confused with trademarks or company names, but they're not quite the same thing.
A trademark identifies a company's brand, while a domain name identifies an internet address.
Domains are also sometimes referred to as URLs (uniform resource locators).
When you type a domain name into your browser, the Domain Name System (DNS) translates that name into an IP address. The DNS is basically an internet phone book that maps website names to their corresponding IP addresses.
Domain names are usually up to 64 characters long. They can contain letters, numbers and hyphens, but not spaces or other punctuation marks. They generally end with a dot followed by two or three more letters (for example: com).
Domain names can be purchased through third parties, known as registrars, who are authorized by ICANN to sell domain names on behalf of their owners.
To register a domain name, you must pay a fee and renew your registration yearly. The registration fee varies depending on the TLD but is generally between $10 and $15 per year. The renewal fee varies as well, but can be anywhere from $5-$50 per year.
Now that you understand a domain name let's look at each part in more detail.
Elements of a Domain Name
Domain names serve as a website's unique identifier. They are structured hierarchically, consisting of four parts: a top-level domain (TLD), a second-level domain (SLD), and a root domain and subdomain.
In this section, we'll discuss each of these elements in detail.
1. Top-Level Domain (TLD)
A Top Level Domain, also called an extension, is the highest level of a domain within a Domain Name System.
It appears after the dot at the end of a domain name and identifies what type of site it is.
There are thousands of top-level domains available today, each serving a specific purpose.
For example, .com, .net, .org are generic top-level domains that can be used by any type of website, while .edu is reserved for educational institutions.
The most common TLDs are:
- .com (commercial)
- .info (information)
- .org (organization)
- .net (network)
There are also country-code TLDs (ccTLDs), which are specific to a particular country or region. These include extensions such as .fr (France), .uk (United Kingdom), and .de (Germany).
2. Second Level Domain (SLD)
A second-level domain is the part of a website address that comes before the top-level domain (TLD).
For example, in the website address www.example.com, “example” is a second-level domain.
A second-level domain is a unique identifier for each website, like how people have names. A second-level domain can be made up of letters and numbers with or without hyphens (-).
A subdomain is a part of your website that’s located within your domain name.
For example, if you have a website at www.example.com and want to create a blog for the product team, you can use the subdomain blog.example.com to host your product team's blog.
Subdomains are used for many reasons:
- Creating a new website under an existing domain (for example, blog.example.com)
- Hosting multiple websites on one server (for example, news.example.com)
- Creating a custom URL that doesn't fit within your domain name (for example, support.example-website.com)
4. Root Domain
A root domain is the base, or “root” of your website’s URL. It is typically just one word, such as example.com or google.com.
To be more specific, root domains are at the top of the Domain Name System (DNS) hierarchy and cannot be changed by users or administrators.
Why Choosing the Perfect Domain Name is Crucial
Your domain name is one of the most critical aspects of your website. It's the front door to your online presence, which means it needs to reflect your business and help you stand out from the competition.
Unfortunately, many businesses don't realize the importance of choosing a good domain name until they've already made some mistakes - and it's often too late.
But why? Why is choosing a good domain name so important?
Here are 3 reasons:
1. Your Domain Name is a Reflection of Your Brand
Your domain name is the first thing people see when they visit your website.
It's a reflection of your brand, and it can help you stand out from the crowd.
The right domain name can be a powerful tool to help you build credibility, trust, and authority with your audience.
The wrong one can do just the opposite.
For example, if you own a shoe store called "Shoe Heaven," then "shoeheaven.com" would be a good choice for the domain name since it conveys your business.
2. It Makes You Look More Professional
When people see your website, they judge whether or not your business is reputable and professional within seconds.
This is often based on the domain name alone.
If it doesn't look good and professional, they may be hesitant to trust you with their information or to buy from you.
For example, if you sell toys for children, having the domain name "kidstoys.com" will make your website seem more credible than if it were just called "toys-4-kids.com."
3. A Domain Name can Make or Break Your Business
If you want to be successful online, you need a domain name that is meaningful, memorable, and easy to pronounce.
It should also reflect the nature of your business.
For example, if you're running an online store that sells shoes, a domain name like "shoeshoponline.com" is much better than something generic like "shop.com." It tells people what to expect from the site and makes them more likely to click through.
On the contrary, "shop.com" tells people that you're just a generic online store and not much more than that. It needs to communicate more about your products or how they can benefit customers.
How to Choose a Perfect Domain Name for Your Business
Choosing a domain name is one of the most critical steps in building your website. It's also one of the most difficult.
Many people make mistakes when choosing their domain name — and it's easy to understand why. After all, it's not always clear what makes a good domain name or what characteristics to look for when choosing one.
1. Choose Your Domain Extension Carefully
The first thing you need to do when choosing a domain name is decide which extension you'd like it to have.
The most popular extensions are .com, .net and .org, but others are available such as .co and .me.
Domain extensions usually tell you what type of business or brand the site represents.
For example, a business selling products could use a .com extension, while an networking site could opt for a .net extension..
If you're unsure of what extension to use for your domain name, it's best to select one that is commonly used - such as .com, .info, or .net.
These extensions are used by most websites and help ensure that your brand is easily recognizable.
2. Include At least One Target Keyword if Possible
The best way to choose a good domain name is to use keywords people are searching for.
The keywords you include in your domain name should be related to the products or services that you plan to sell.
For example, if your site is about fitness, then you can include the words “fitness” or “health” in your domain name.
This will help potential customers find your site and give Google an idea of what your site is about.
But how do you find these keywords?
One helpful tool is Google Keyword Planner. You can use it to search for keywords related to your business and see which ones have the most searches each month.
But remember that stuffing your domain name with keywords for search engine optimization isn’t likely to make any difference.
Search engines view this as spam and may penalize your site for it.
3. Make Sure Your Domain is Easy to Pronounce and Spell
When you're trying to get people to remember your domain, you want them to be able to say it quickly.
You also don't want to confuse people by having a lot of letters in your domain name that sound alike.
This can make it hard for people to remember your domain name, leading to fewer visitors and lost sales.
For example, the domain name www.google.com is easy to say and spell because it only has two syllables, and it's obvious how you pronounce each letter in the word "Google."
If a domain name has many syllables or consonants that sound alike, people will have trouble remembering it when trying to find your website again.
4. Avoid Hyphens and Doubled Letters
People must realize that hyphens are a big no-no for domain names. They're hard for people to type, and they can cause problems with search engines.
Double letters are also a red flag; if you're looking for a domain name like “my domain”, you should avoid something like “myydoomain.com”.
5. Keep Your Domain Name Short
When choosing a domain name, you must know that it’s not just about the words you use but also how many characters are in a domain.
The best thing to do is keep your domain name short and easy to remember.
The longer it is, the harder it is to remember.
A good rule of thumb is that your domain name should be no longer than 14 characters in length.
This can help avoid problems with search engines cutting off your domain when they display results in their search engine results pages (SERPs).
For example, if you're making a blog about the best places to eat in Chicago, you might want to go with "chicagofoodies" instead of "chicagocollectivefoodiesguide."
6. Keep it Unique and Brandable
When choosing a domain name, focus on picking something memorable and distinctive - not your competitor's trademarked brand name.
A unique, brandable domain name is not long or short but just right. It should be memorable enough to recall quickly when someone asks about it.
You also want to ensure that the domain name does not have any spelling errors or typos, as this can lead to confusion with customers or other users who may be trying to visit your site by mistake.
For example, if you want to start an eCommerce business selling shoes, don’t use “Nike” or “Adidas” as part of your domain name.
Instead, focus on making it unique and memorable. For example, you could use “ShoeHound” or “Shoes Galore.”
7. Use a Domain Name Generator
If you're having trouble naming your website, don't worry: it's one of the most challenging tasks to complete when launching a site.
A great way to get started is by using an online domain name generator that generates random combinations and lets you choose from its list.
A domain name generator will generate hundreds of possible domain names based on the words or phrases you enter.
You can use this tool to brainstorm new potential domain names for your business and see how they would look in different formats and on other platforms.
For example, if you enter the words “college” and “football” into a domain name generator, it will generate hundreds of combinations that look like this:
We recommend Keyword Domain Search, which lets you enter keywords or phrases representing your brand's mission, products, or services.
It then generates lists of potential domain names based on those keywords, which you can review and refine until you find something that feels right for your site.
8. Avoid Trademark Infringement
It's crucial to avoid trademark infringement when choosing a domain name.
To keep your business safe, you should avoid using names that are too similar to existing trademarks.
This is because if you do so, it could lead to legal trouble for your company.
You can run into problems if someone else comes after you for using a domain name that's too similar to theirs, even if you don't have the same product or service.
To avoid a domain name dispute, you can use the USPTO website to search for existing trademarks and check whether they are registered.
If your domain name is too similar to an existing trademark, consider choosing a different name.
9. Protect Your Brand with Multiple Domains
The best way to protect your brand name online is by purchasing multiple domain names that include variations of your company name.
For example, if your company is called “Bob’s Burgers,” you should purchase the domains Bob-s-Burgers.com, BobsBurgers.com, and even BobsBurgers.net to protect against squatters and copycats looking to steal your brand name.
This will help prevent others from using those variations and confusing customers who may have been searching for your business on Google but ended up on someone else's site.
10. Research Social Media Handles
For example, if you use Twitter as a marketing tool, you'll want to ensure that your chosen domain name is available on Twitter first.
If it's not, you will have difficulty building your brand on Twitter.
The same goes for Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and other networks.
You can check the availability of your domain name by doing a quick search using namecheckr.
11. Check the Domain History
If you're unsure about the domain name you've chosen, you can check its history to see if it's been used before and, if so, by whom.
This can help you avoid buying a domain previously used for a wrong purpose and may still be associated with illegal activities.
The best way to perform this research is by using the archive tool.
It's a free tool that allows you to see the history of any domain name. You can use it by typing in the domain name and clicking "Search."
The results will show you what the domain has been used for. If you see that the domain has been used for something you don't like, it's best to avoid buying it.
It's also a good idea to check the WHOIS information for the domain. The WHOIS database is where you can find out who owns a domain name, their contact information, and when it was registered.
12. Act Quickly Before Someone Else Takes it
If you're starting a website, it's essential to consider your domain name early on.
The reason is simple: if you wait until the end of your project to choose your domain name, you'll find that someone else has already taken it.
The best way to avoid this situation is to act quickly before someone else takes the domain name in question.
This will allow you time to brainstorm other possible names and decide whether or not the first one is right for your site.
How to Register a Domain Name
Now that you’ve got a great idea for a website, it’s time to register your domain name.
A domain costs $10-$15 per year and can be registered through a domain registrar like NameCheap. You’ll also need to set up web hosting, the space where your site lives on the web.
Hosting can cost $5-$20 per month, depending on how much you need (more on this later).
This is the most convenient option for beginners because you can register your domain and set up hosting simultaneously, saving you time and effort.
The following section will show how you can get a free domain name with Strikingly.
How to Get a FREE Domain With Strikingly
Strikingly is a website builder that allows you to create responsive websites, blogs, and landing pages quickly and easily.
Strikingly's clean interface and drag-and-drop functionality make it easy to build beautiful websites that look professional and fresh.
With Strikingly, you can customize your site with over 200 themes or create your own from scratch.
You also have access to an impressive collection of premium templates created by designers worldwide. They offer free and paid monthly plans ranging from $8 - 49/.
Here’s how to get started with Strikingly.
1. Go to Strikingly Website and click Get Started Now
Image Taken from Strikingly Website
This will take you to a page to sign up for an account. You'll need to enter your name, email address and password.
2. Pick a Template to Start
Next, you'll be taken to a page where you can choose from over 100 templates.
Image Taken from Strikingly Website
These are pre-made designs that you can use for your website.
You can also create your design or start with a blank canvas and build it yourself.
3. Design Your Website
Once you've picked a template, you'll be taken to a page where you can customize it.
You can change your site's colors, fonts and layout to make it look exactly how you want.
Image Taken from Strikingly Website
Then, click on the publish button.
4. Choose a Plan
Before you publish your website, you'll need to choose a plan.
There are two types of plans: Basic and Premium.
The basic plan is free but has many limitations. So, we recommend that you upgrade to the premium plan. It's only $8 monthly and has many more features and options.
But, the best part is you will get a free domain name included in the price.
This means you'll be able to use your domain name, like "mywebsite.com", instead of a random one like "i123456789.strikingly.com".
5. Add a Custom Domain
Next, you will need to register a domain name for your website. Enter your desired domain name in the box and click the search button.
You will see a green “Buy Now” button if the domain name is available. Simply click on it to purchase the domain name.
Image Taken from Strikingly Website
However, if you already have a domain name, click on the connect link to connect your domain name to your Strikingly account.
That's all you need to do. You can now log into your Strikingly account and start creating your website.
In conclusion, buying a domain name is crucial in establishing your online presence and building your brand.
It's essential to choose a domain name that is memorable, easy to spell, and relevant to your business or blog.
In addition, understanding the different domain extensions and how they impact your online presence is essential.
When buying a domain name, it's important to consider legal implications such as trademark infringement and negotiate a fair price.
By following the advice and tips outlined in this guide, you'll be better equipped to make informed decisions when buying a domain name for your blog or small business.
Remember, your domain name is your online identity, so take the time to choose the right one for your brand.
With the right domain name, you'll be well on your way to building a successful online presence and reaching your target audience.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. Are Domain Names Important to SEO?
Ans: Domain names are important to SEO but are not the only factor.
A domain name alone isn't even enough to determine how well your site will rank in a search engine.
What matters is the entire package: URL structure, keyword density of content on the page, and other factors all contribute to your site's search ranking.
Q2. Does Changing Your Domain Name Affect SEO?
Ans: Yes, changing your domain name can affect your SEO.
This is because Google uses the number of links and other factors to determine your site's ranking.
If you change the domain name, you start over with zero backlinks, affecting your ranking.
However, if you change, you must redirect all of your site's links to the new domain name. The best way to do this is using a 301 redirect, which informs Google and other search engines of the change.
Q3. Does the Domain Extension Affect SEO?
Ans: No, it doesn't.
The domain extension (e.g., .com) does not affect SEO. Instead, you should focus on creating great content that will attract visitors to your site.
Q4. Is .Com Best for SEO?
Ans: It depends.
The .com domain is the most popular and recognizable domain name, which tends to be the easiest for people to remember.
It also means that there's a lot more competition for keywords using .com as a suffix.
However, if your online business sells products and services rather than information, .com might be the best domain extension for you.
About Author: Jyoti Ray is the founder of WPMyWeb.com, which specializes in social media, marketing, and SEO. He writes and has been featured on JeffBullas, SurveyAnyplace, SearchEngineWatch, and more. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.