How To Choose A Domain Name (And Where To Buy It)

So, you’re ready to launch a website.

Awesome! This is your venture into developing an authoritative online space to reflect yourself and your brand.

But how do you start? What do you name it? Where do you even buy a web address?

The answers to those questions seem difficult but they’re really quite simple.

The importance of OWNING your domain name

Your domain name houses your entire digital equity. It’s your foundation for your online presence and it’s very important that you own this yourself – not whoever is building your website. That’s why I recommend (and actually require) all of my clients to buy their own domain name, even if someone else is building their website.

(Don’t worry, the process is very simple even if it seems daunting.)

Buying your own domain, which usually costs about $10, prevents someone else from owning your online property – which you can own for life. No matter what website designers you work with, what platforms/site builders you use, or how your life changes – you can own your domain name forever, maintaining and controlling your digital equity for yourself.

So no, (yourname).(service).com is not sufficient. You need to own a yourwebsite.com and you need to be the one in control of registering and paying for it yearly. This is the best way to prevent yourself from having to start at square 0 if a business tries to hold it hostage or forgets to renew it.

Choosing an Address / Name

How do you choose your web address?

It depends on what you do. The most obvious answer is to buy yourcompanyname.com or yourpersonalname.com depending on what you are promoting.

I highly recommend trying to get the .com. If it’s not available, you can add modifiers.

For example, if you’re a carpenter, you could buy johnsmithcarpentry.com if johnsmith.com is taken.

Search for names that are timeless, reflect what you’re offering, and reflect who you are. Do not stuff it with keywords needlessly. Buy the simplest most direct version, that you can easily verbally share without having to over-explain the spelling or address.

There are many domain options now besides .com, so if you can’t get the .com, don’t be afraid of going with something else as long as it makes sense for your business. My best recommendation is to get a .com or .co – but as you can see, I’m publishing this on a .digital domain. That’s because all of my information is relevant to the digital space, so I was willing to buy that domain – but I do wish I had the .com!

Where to Buy Your Domain Name

The company you buy your domain name from is called a domain registrar. They manage your domain registration and renewal.

There are a ton of domain registrars, and they are all quite similar.

One important misconception is that your domain registrar is the same as your website host. It’s not.

Your domain registrar is where you own your domain – however you can typically point that domain to any host.

So don’t overthink where to buy your domain from, because as long as you go with a reputable registrar, it doesn’t mean you’re limited in what hosts or platforms you can use for your website.

I buy all of my domains at namecheap.com. I’ve been using them for years. You can get a domain for about $8 a pop and the renewals are something like $10. They have free domain privacy, and it is easy to manage your domain settings when you want to point your domain to a new host.

They have never contacted me via phone to solicit other services using fear-based tactics like Godaddy has, however Godaddy is another valid option as a domain registrar. I just don’t like the sales tactics they use to contact business owners with solicitations and upsells.

But truly, buy your domain wherever you want. Namecheap, Godaddy, 1and1, whatever website deal you found. Just check what their yearly renewal fees are post-purchase, and that you’re okay with that.

You can also transfer your domain between registrars at a later date for a fee.

In conclusion…

-Buy the domain name that makes the most sense for you in terms of being a timeless, memorable, easy-to-communicate name

-Try to get the .com, but don’t panic if you can’t

-Don’t keyword stuff it

-Buy it yourself – don’t let another company purchase it for you

-Where you buy your domain name is not as important as where you host your website. Just choose a company that you like working with. I recommend Namecheap.

-Put it on auto-renewal so you never lose your domain.

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