Every business needs a website to thrive in today’s world. One of the key components of getting online is getting a domain name.
After all, you want a name that people will remember and help your business grow.
In this guide, I will show you how to get a domain name and walk you through the process of registering it.
This guide is meant for people that already know the basics of starting a WordPress website.
By the end of this article, you will have a comprehensive understanding of securing the perfect domain for your website.
The first step in getting a domain name is understanding its function.
Your domain name serves as your website’s unique address on the internet.
Before obtaining a done, you need to know some basic concepts and how domains work online.
Buying a domain name is like renting a house
A domain name is a human-friendly identifier used to locate a specific website on the internet.
It functions as a digital address, allowing users to access your site without memorizing complex IP addresses.
They make it easier for users to find and share your website.
The structure of a domain
Domain names have a hierarchical structure that consists of multiple components.
The two primary components are the top-level domains (TLD) and the second-level domains (SLD).
- Top-level domain (TLD): The TLD is the last part of a domain, appearing after the final dot (e.g., .com, .org, .net). TLDs can be generic, such as .com, .org, or .net, or country-specific, like .us, .ca, or .uk. They can also be industry-specific, such as .travel, .tech, or .education.
- A second-level domain (SLD): The SLD is part of the domain that comes immediately before the TLD. It’s the most customizable component, usually representing your brand, business, or personal identity (e.g., google.com, where “google” is the SLD). The SLD makes your domain unique and differentiates it from other websites.
As a teacher by trade, I like everything to be crystal clear.
Let’s simplify this a bit more.
The second level domain is what you will buy. It is specific to your business.
The top-level domain is the type of organization you will run.
Your TLD should reflect the type of business you are running.
Together, these two will tell people about your business before they look it up online.
How important is choosing a domain name?
It’s extremely important for many reasons.
Let’s explore them below so you can understand why a good domain name might not immediately come to mind.
Branding: Your domain is an essential part of your brand identity. It should be memorable, relevant, and reflective of your brand values, making it easier for users to associate your website with your business or personal image.
Accessibility: A short and easy-to-remember name ensures that users can quickly and easily find your website without difficulty. Complex or hard-to-spell names can hinder your online presence and deter potential visitors.
Search engine optimization (SEO): While less significant than it once was, having a name containing relevant keywords can still improve your website’s search engine rankings.
A well-chosen name can contribute to better visibility on search engines and attract more organic traffic.
In the following sections, we will guide you through brainstorming, checking availability, and registering your chosen name.
How to get a Domain Name
Now that you better understand names and their importance let’s explore the step-by-step process of acquiring one for your website.
Before registering, you need to come up with ideas that accurately represent your brand, business, or personal identity.
Consider the following tips when brainstorming:
Choose a name that reflects your brand identity: Choose one that embodies your brand’s essence and aligns with your target audience’s expectations.
Your domain should be an extension of your brand, creating a cohesive online presence. In most instances the name of your company should work.
Easy to spell and remember: A simple, easy-to-remember name ensures that users can find your website without difficulty.
Avoid confusing potential visitors with complicated words, slang, or unusual spellings.
Use online generators: If you’re struggling to come up with ideas, generators can help by suggesting available names based on your inputted keywords.
Some popular domain name generators include Lean Domain Search, NameMesh, and DomainWheel.
I have never used a generator. However, as with all AI-powered tools, you should only use them for inspiration.
Take the information they provide you and enhance it using brainpower.
Once you’ve brainstormed potential names, you must verify their availability for registration.
Use online domain search tools or domain registrars to check the availability of your desired domain.
I highly recommend you purchase a domain name with Namecheap.
They offer competitive pricing, and the renewal costs are generally low.
Choose a registrar
After confirming the availability of your desired domain, you need to select a domain registrar to register your domain.
Consider the following factors when choosing a registrar:
Pricing and renewal rates: Compare the initial registration fees and annual renewal rates among different registrars.
Some registrars offer promotional pricing for the first year but charge higher renewal fees in subsequent years.
Domain transfer policies: Review the domain transfer policies of the registrar, including any transfer fees or restrictions.
Having the flexibility to transfer your domain to another registrar is essential.
Customer support: Opt for a registrar with responsive and knowledgeable customer support, as you may require assistance with domain management, renewals, or other issues.
Additional services: Some registrars offer added value through complementary services such as free email accounts, SSL certificates, or website builders.
Again, I recommend Namecheap for purchasing a domain.
I have three domains, and two of them are registered with Namecheap.
After choosing a domain registrar, follow these steps to register your domain:
Sign up for an account with the chosen registrar: Create an account and provide the required personal information.
Complete domain registration process: Input your desired domain, select the appropriate TLD, and complete the payment process.
Double-check your domain name for any spelling errors before finalizing the registration.
Set up domain privacy and protection: Most registrars offer domain privacy services, which protect your personal information from being publicly visible in the WHOIS database.
It’s highly recommended to enable domain privacy to prevent unsolicited contact and potential security threats.
Connect the domain to your website
Once your domain is registered, you must connect it to your website by updating the name servers.
This process may vary slightly depending on your hosting provider and domain registrar.
Update name servers: Obtain the name server details from your hosting provider and update the name server settings in your domain registrar’s account.
Doing so will link your domain to your website’s hosting server.
Verify domain connection: After updating the name servers, the changes may take up to 48 hours to propagate across the internet.
You can check if your domain has propagated using What’s My DNS?
Understanding Domain Ownership and Renewal
Domain name ownership and renewal are important aspects of managing your online presence.
In this section, I’ll cover:
Rights associated with domain name ownership
- The domain renewal process
- Domain transfers
- Domain ownership rights
When you register a domain, you are granted exclusive rights to use that domain for the duration of your registration period.
However, it’s important to note that you don’t technically “own” the domain; instead, you are leasing it from the domain registry.
Your rights include the following:
- Control over the domain’s settings and configurations
- The ability to sell or transfer the domain to another party
- The right to renew the domain before it expires
Domain expiration and renewal
To maintain control of your domain, renew it before the registration period expires.
The renewal process involves the following steps:
Renewal notifications: Your domain registrar will send you notifications, typically via email, reminding you of the upcoming domain expiration.
Be sure to keep your contact information up-to-date with your registrar to receive these important reminders.
Auto-renewal option: Many registrars offer an auto-renewal feature that automatically renews your domain before its expiration date.
Doing so prevents accidental loss of your domain due to oversight.
Consequences of not renewing on time: If you fail to renew your domain before it expires, it may enter a grace period.
During this period, you may still be able to renew your domain, typically with an additional late fee.
After the grace period, your domain may enter a redemption period, during which the cost of reclaiming it increases significantly.
If you still need to renew your domain by the end of the redemption period, it becomes available for public registration.
Then anyone can register it.
How to transfer a domain name
There may be instances when you want to transfer your domain name to a different registrar.
Common reasons include better pricing, additional services, or improved customer support.
The transfer process involves the following steps:
- Ensure eligibility: Before initiating a transfer, ensure your domain name is eligible. ICANN requires domains to be registered for at least 60 days and not have been transferred within the last 60 days.
- Unlock the domain: Login to your current registrar’s control panel and unlock your domain name to allow the transfer.
- Obtain an authorization code: Request an authorization code (an EPP code or transfer key) from your current registrar. This unique code is required to authorize the domain transfer.
- Initiate the transfer: Log in to your new registrar’s control panel, enter the domain name you wish to transfer and provide the authorization code. The new registrar will then initiate the transfer process.
- Confirm the transfer: Your current registrar may send you a confirmation email to verify your intention to transfer the domain. Approve the transfer to finalize the process.
Domain transfers typically take 5-7 days to complete. During this time, your website will continue to function normally.
No, you don’t need to worry about your website going down.
You are doing anything other than transferring your domain during this time.
In this guide, I have explored obtaining a domain name.
- The importance and structure of domain names
- Brainstorming ideas for a domain name
- Checking domain availability
- Selecting a domain registrar
We also discussed the steps involved with:
- Registering a domain
- Connecting a domain to your website
- Managing domain name ownership
- Renewing a domain
- Transferring a domain to a new registrar.
Use the image below to get a banging deal on a domain name at Namecheap. If you use the link below, I will get a commission.
However, I wouldn’t offer a service I do not use myself.
Once you have that, you only need to worry about content marketing and advertising.
Need a helping hand with either? Fill out the form below and let me know.