What is a Domain?
A domain is like an address for your website. Also referred to as a URL, a domain is how people navigate to your website. Utilizing a browser (like internet explorer, chrome, safari, etc) you can enter a website’s domain name into the address bar and the browser will take you to that location; to that website.
Our domain, for example, is wildmanweb.com
How do I pick a domain?
You will need to begin your journey by finding a domain registrar. This is a company that you can pay to register your domain. This basically means that they are telling the rest of the internet your address. You can use Godaddy, Namecheap, or a number of other registration companies. We recommend using Google Domains.
How to Pick A Domain?
Once you pick a registrar, you need to pick a name! You can use your registrar’s search tool to find out if a name is available or not and how much it will cost to register it. Here’s a few tips on picking a good domain name:
If possible, use the “.com” file extension.
There are tons of file extensions available but .com is the most popular and therefore the easiest for people to remember. Unless you have a good reason to choose another extension, just go with .com
Pro Tip: if you don’t mind spending a little extra, go ahead and get the same domain with the .net and .org file extensions to make sure no one else can get them
The shorter the better
Short domains are easier for people to remember so keep it short. For example, we went with wildmanweb.com even though our name is Wildman Web Solutions. We didn’t feel the need to put the entire name in the domain and that helps to keep it short and sweet.
Pro Tip: we also bought wildmanwebsolutions.com and directed it to the site so that no one else would get it. If your business has multiple common names, consider getting domains for all of those names
Pick a name that’s easy to spell and pronounce
You’re going to be telling people your website address verbally all the time, and hopefully others will be sharing it with their friends as well, so make sure it’s something you can pronounce and spell easily. If your name has multiple spellings, is difficult to say or spell, or it’s just not clear how I should type it into the address bar, maybe consider a different domain name.
Pro Tip: avoid numbers. This avoids the “4” vs “four” vs “for” vs “fore” debate
Read it as a single word: no spaces
Keep in mind that there are no spaces allowed in a domain name. This means that some names that would normally be totally fine, are all of a sudden very problematic. For example, a website for scrap metal in America could be “americanscrapmetal.com”. Without the space, someone could read that as “American Scrap Metal” or as “Americans Crap Metal” and you clearly don’t want the second one. This feature of domains has led to some serious branding issues for some organizations that, while funny, you may want to avoid.
Finally, always buy your own domain name!
Never let a web designer, developer, or agency buy your domain name for you. Some bad actors out there will buy your domain and then after you’ve established your brand online through that domain name, hold you hostage with it. Now, the single access point to your website is owned by someone else and they can charge you whatever they want for it. We’ve seen this struggle hit too many unsuspecting business owners and we don’t want that to happen to you. Check out this cautionary tale to get a better idea of what could happen when you don’t own your domain.
Someone else can advise you on your domain name and even help you get it but make sure it’s YOU who actually owns your domain name.