Step 1: Domain Name
In this first step we will examine what a “Domain Name” is, where you can get one, and tips for selecting the best domain name for your new blog or website.
What is a Domain Name?
- Without getting too technical, a domain name is similar to a plot of land where you can build your home (in this case your ‘home’ just happens to be your website’s homepage)
- A domain name contains your own unique ‘name’ – such as our domain
‘blog-starter’– and suffix such as .com, .net, .org (also referred to as TLDs)
- A domain’s length can be up to 63 characters (including a-z, 0-9, and ‘-‘ dashes)
Where do you get a Domain Name?
- A domain is often purchased through domain registrars – there are literally 1000s of registrars selling domain names on the Internet, so it can be a very daunting task to find a good registrar.
- Fortunately, many web hosting companies also sell domains – or better yet give you a free domain when you host your website or blog with them (discussed later in ‘Step 4‘).
Now you know the basics of what a domain name is, but how do you choose a good one? Below are some useful guidelines when selecting a good domain:
- The shorter the better! Yes, a domain can technically be up to 63 characters, but try telling a friend what your 63 character website is! Also, it’s a good idea to keep your domain length to 1 – 3 words so it’s easily understood.
- .COM is still King! It’s true that there are many other suffixes available, but .com is still by far the best domain suffix. Of course, if you are making a personal blog, then the suffix doesn’t matter as much compared to if you are trying to start an e-commerce website. If you are unable to find a good, available .com domain, then stick to other popular suffixes such as .net, .org, or .info.
- To Dash, or Not to Dash – Generally speaking dashes (or hyphens) should be avoided. A domain with a dash in it is valued at a fraction of a domain without one. Domains with one dash are acceptable, but domains with multiple dashes should probably be avoided since they can be seen as spammy to search engines and visitors alike.
- Note: Some country domains are also quite popular depending where you live. In the United Kingdom, .co.uk is an excellent alternative, same with .de in Germany and .ca in Canada.
Some Domain Name Examples:
- Perhaps you want to blog about your family. Say your last name is ‘Miller’ – since it’s a common last name you’ll have to get creative. One such example is ‘millerfamilyblog.com’ (available at time of writing).
- Or you may wish to blog about Stock tips – some examples might be: ‘stocktipsblog.com’ or ‘stockbuyinghelp.com’
What Should You Blog About?
- When choosing what to blog about be sure to remember these 2 things: blog about what you know about, and blog about what you’re passionate about.
→ Want to know more about Domains? Read our in-depth article, Domain Names – a Blogger’s Guide, if you want to learn even more about domains (optional).
→ Now that we’ve examined domain names, let’s move onto the next step in establishing a website – Step 2: Blog Hosting
(Note: We will show you how to get your free domain name with your hosting setup later in Step 4.)