Domain name registration is an important part of creating a website for your business, blog, or portfolio. Luckily for you, registering a domain is a just a two-click process. Simply check to see if your domain is available, and if it is, make the purchase.
However, there are a few possible stumbling blocks you may run into when completing the process. In this article, we’ll go through the process of registering a domain, and what missteps to avoid in order to obtain your perfect domain name.
Note: You can generally get a free domain name when you sign up for web hosting. So if you would like a website to go along with your domain name, checkout Bluehost.com to get a domain name, website, and business email address for only $2.95 per month. We show you how to set everything up in this article (no technical experience required).
Step 1: Check to see if your desired domain name is available.
This is a crucial first step. With hundreds of millions of websites currently active, it is likely that your first choice name is already taken. You don’t want to get excited about a name that you can’t have.
Simply enter the domain that you are interested in registering into the box below to see if it’s available. If it is, then you will be taken straight to a registration page. If it’s not, then you’ll see a message that says the domain is not available for registration.
What steps can you take if the domain is unavailable?
If your dream domain name is not available, all hope is not yet lost. There are a few steps you can take to either get that exact domain, or get one that is very similar.
- Check to see who currently owns it and make an offer. Check whois.com to try and find who is currently registered for that domain. If their contact information is listed, you can reach out to them to see if they are willing to sell you the domain. Do a check first to make sure that the domain isn’t blacklisted by Google.
- Consider making slight adjustments to the domain name. The best option when adjusting your name is to add a prefix (my, the, your, [adjective]) or a suffix (co, biz, [your location]) to your original name. You could also consider using a top level domain besides .com (.net, .io, .me). However, we don’t recommend going this route, since you may be fighting against the .com URL for search engine traffic when someone googles your domain name.
If you’re having a difficult time coming up with an available domain name, view our article listing ways others were able to come up with their domain name registration ideas.
Step 2: Do online research around your domain name.
Once you’ve found a domain that you are happy with and is available, you can’t make the purchase just yet. First you need to do a google search of your term to see what pops up. There are three things you want to check before purchasing a domain:
- Your domain name is not associated with anything inappropriate. You may think that if your domain name is a dirty word or has a negative connotation, you’ll be able to notice immediately. However, people can overlook what happens when two innocent seeming words are put together. Plus, slang is constantly evolving, and a once docile term can now possibly mean something that you do not want associated with your new website.
- There isn’t already a popular business with a similar domain name. You want your website to be unique. If there is already a similar sounding website out there, people might confuse the two of you. Even worse, if your domain includes some of the same terms as your competitor, then people may find their site when they are searching online for you.
- Your social media handles are available. People will be able to find you more easily on social media (e.g., Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat) if your social media handles (ex: @yourbusiness) is the same or similar to your domain name. This can be an important consideration if you are interested in having a large social media presence for your business.
These are just a few of the considerations you want to make before landing on a domain name. View the rest of the tips here.
Step 3: Purchase your domain name registration.
Once you’re happy with your domain name, it’s time to make the purchase! Make sure you don’t sit on it too long, competition is fierce and you don’t want your name to be snatched up before you get the chance to secure it.
Assuming you want a website, the most economical option is to get a package from Bluehost that includes your domain name, custom email address and web hosting all for $2.95 per month. We show you how to set everything up in this article (no technical experience required).
If you just want the domain name then Bluehost offers domain name registration for as low as $11.99 per year. You will also want to consider adding the domain privacy protection for $0.99 per month.
When you register a domain, your contact info is automatically public information, and anyone can access your email and phone number to send you unwanted solicitations. With the domain privacy, Bluehost will replace your information with theirs, so that your data will remain private.
Now that you’ve completed the domain name registration, it’s time to create your website. Building a website seems daunting, but it can actually be set up pretty quickly by following our step-by-step guide. Plus, if you purchased the hosting option from Bluehost for $2.95 per month, then you’ve already completed the first step!
If you’d rather get started setting up your custom email address (ex: firstname.lastname@example.org) we have a guide for that too.