Now you know what you want your website to do you are ready to invest a little bit of money registering your domain name and paying for hosting space.
Webmasters offer contradictory advice about the ideal way to phrase a domain name. Here is a sample list of that advice:
- use ‘keywords’ that surfers might type in to a search engine when looking for a site’s content
- do not use hyphenated words
- do not use non alphanumeric characters
- use short domain names
- only use dot.coms
Mostly, that advice is rubbish! But like most old wives’ tales, there is a grain of truth to all of them [I make no apology for any confusion]
Your main consideration is whether you website will be found through online methods like bookmarks, search engines and hyperlinks, or through offline methods like business cards and posters.
Your second consideration is whether you intend to reach surfers who reside anywhere in the world or surfers who live in a particular part of the world.
If your website’s sole aim is to attract surfers via online means then you can use any domain you choose. It is better if it is short, uses only alphanumerics and resembles the title and purpose of your website but as most of your site’s visitors will come from links, bookmarks and search engines your only really need to consider how recognizable your domain name is and how to publicize it. If your website’s traffic will come from offline marketing methods then you should use a memorable name.
The theory behind your choice of TLD is that sites targeting international traffic should have a non-local top level domain (TLD) e.g a dot.com or dot.biz; and sites aimed at local traffic should have a local TLD e.g dot.co.uk or dot.us. People searching for local businesses will generally prefer the website with a local sounding domain name.
Another point to consider is your domain names purpose. Some domain names are worth buying for their subdomain potential. Subdomains are treated as separate (unique) domains by search engines so can be used to create multiple sites out of one domain name. I purchased the domain bigbuz.eu purely because of its subdomain potential.
Also, bear in mind that you don’t “buy” a domain name, you lease the use of it on a yearly or several yearly basis – consequenty, you lose the use of it when you stop registering it.
There are lots of places where you can register your domain name. Just be careful that you use a reputable company and ensure that you can transfer your domain to another registrar without penalty should the need arise; and be sure you can edit your domain’s name servers (the IP addresses that tell browsers where to find your website’s server). Don’t register your domain name yet, though, find your hosting provider first because some hosts give away a year’s domain name registration when you lease space from them.