Before you choose a web host you need to pick and purchase an available domain name. Although the process itself is simple, there’s a lot of information that’s important to understand in order to determine which type of domain is best for your website as well as where you can purchase it. Below is a guide instructing you in domain hosting.
Choosing a Domain Name
First of all, if you already have an established business at a physical location and you want to gain more exposure online should try to purchase a domain with the actual name of your business. Otherwise how do you expect your current customers to find you online? So, if you have a restaurant named MeatyBurger, you should try to purchase a website with the domain “meatyburger”, or if this isn’t available then something like “meatyburgerrestaurant”. If you don’t have a brand name, it’s a good idea to choose a domain that will help you gain more traffic for your website. You can either create your own brand name, and then work with your web content and links in order to gain more exposure and traffic, or you can choose a ‘catchy’ name that will help draw traffic to you. For example if you sell a specific product, like electronics, then it’s worthwhile to look for a domain that includes that keyword or a similar one like electronics.com or besteletronics.com. This way prospective customer will understand what you’re selling before they even click on your page. It also makes your website appear as a greater authority for that keyword.
If you don't have a bricks and mortar store try to think outside of the box for a domain name, a fun or quirky domain name can help to quickly build an online brand
Picking a Domain Extension
Originally having a .com, .org, .net, or .info extension meant something about your business. A .org domain indicated that your website belonged to a specific organization, typically a non-profit, whilst .net stood for network, and .info meant your website was for informational purpose. Today however all four of these extensions are considered appropriate for any type of website. Having a .com domain is still the most popular extension and is considered more professional than some of the other extensions. However, the .com extension is also the most expensive extension which is why businesses with smaller budgets might opt for a more affordable extension. It can also be the case that the domain name with .com is already in use and not for sale but an alternative extension is available and so you can purchase that instead.
Extensions don’t just apply to the intention of your website but also the location. Nearly every country has a domain-specific extension, such as co.uk for the UK, .fr for France, .us for the U.S., and so on. Typically, if you’re an international company or if you have most of your business in the U.S., then you’ll still prefer a .com extension. However if it’s important to target a specific country, it’s in your interest to have a country-specific extension. For example, if you’re trying to rank in the local market for the UK and France, it’s best if you have two separate websites, one with a .co.uk extension and another with a .fr extension. You can also use sub folders like www.domain.com/en, www.domain.com/fr if you can’t afford to purchase two domains, however if you can afford it, you should rank higher by having a country specific domain.
Nearly every country has a domain-specific extension, such as co.uk for the UK, .fr for France, .us for the U.S., and so on
Buying & Registering a Domain
The process is easier if you want to buy a fresh domain. Simply go to a domain registrar like godaddy.com, domain.com, name.com… or alternatively buy a domain through your web hosting company (and often the first year is free). At the registrar’s website there is usually a large search bar where you can search for an available domain. Type in the name that you’re interested in as well as the extension if it isn’t .com, and the registrar will show you if the domain is currently in use. If nobody owns that domain, you can purchase it through the registrar. They’ll ask for your name, company name, address, and phone number as well as the registration length. For example, with GoDaddy you can choose to register the domain for 1-10 years. The registrar may offer additional packages for your domain such as email or privacy and protection, all of which add to the overall cost of your domain.
Purchasing an existing domain
For an already registered domain, you have a few options. You can either contact the owner of the domain directly and ask if they’re willing to sell their domain, or you can contact a domain trader or broker like sedo.com who will organize the sale of a domain for a fee. It’s also possible to buy a domain through an auction. For example, GoDaddy has a website in which owners place their domains on auction. Users can choose to either buy the domain now for a particular price or place a bid and make an offer. However if it’s a popular or high ranking domain name it could be very expensive, even as much as $50,000 whereas a fresh domain often only costs $4-15/ year to register. The benefit though of purchasing an existing domain is that it’s already ranking on the main search engines and it will offer you greater exposure than a new domain.