The importance of getting your domain name right
What is a Domain Name?
The domain name is the address of your website, which begins with ‘www’ and ends with a suffix such as ‘.co.uk’ or ‘.com’. Every site on the internet has a domain name which can be typed into the browser’s address bar to take you straight there.
Why do I Need My Own Domain Name?
A website needs visitors, and to achieve those visitors it needs to be easily found online. An appropriate name for your site should resonate with users, so you need something relevant and memorable. The best domain names indicate the product, service or brand that they represent, but bear in mind that most of the popular names have long since been snapped up. Try to choose a name for your site which you feel represents your business, and take your time about it – remember,, this domain name is going to be with you for a long time!
How do I Purchase a Domain Name?
You need to visit an online domain registrar and purchase the domain name of your choice. Assuming your choice of name is available you will be required to pay an annual fee, which is usually around the £10 price range but could be more or less depending on the suffix you choose and the registrar’s pricing policy.
Once you’re ready to make your purchase, you will need to have either your credit / debit card or your PayPal details to hand. As soon as you purchase the domain you can begin using it straight away by linking it to your website (your web hosting service will help you with this), or you can ‘park’ the name while you create the website.
Some web hosting services, which store your website and make it accessible to visitors, also offer a domain name registration service. This can be a good option as it keeps your hosting and domain registration in one place, but the downside is that you may struggle to move your site to a different hosting service later on.
Things to Look Out For
Don’t be tempted to visit a domain registrar before you are ready to buy, just to see if your chosen domain is available. Many people complain that they search for a domain name, find it available, but when they return later to purchase the domain they find it has suddenly disappeared.
Write out a list before you begin with a selection of names, so that if your chosen name is unavailable you have some other options to try. This saves you from having to make a snap decision on a name that you choose on the spur of the moment, which may turn out to be less appropriate than you had thought.
Read customer reviews of your domain registrar and check the small print before you go ahead. Don’t be tempted to buy a ‘special offer’ without determining that you retain control of the domain name.