HOW TO SETUP A DOMAIN FOR YOUR WEBSITE
This is an ‘extra credit’ part of the ‘Creating a Great Website & Blog for your Podcast’ Guide, covering everything about web domain names.
It’s ‘extra’ because normally you’ll buy your domain along with your hosting, and you don’t need to worry about most of this. But, sometimes, you’ll already have a domain, or you want to buy it separately. That’s what this part of the guide is for. Let’s take a look!
THE LOW-DOWN ON DOMAINS
What is a Domain Name?
A domain name is simply another name for the web address of any website. For example, Google’s domain name is google.com and Amazon use amazon.co.uk in the UK. A domain name is like the front door address for a website.
Domains can have different extensions, such as .org or .net, and some are country specific, such as .co.uk. They can also have sub-domains, such as books.amazon.com or analytics.google.com.
Do I Need a Domain Name?
It’s possible to run a website without buying a domain name, but you’ll have to host it within another company’s website. This takes away some of the control and ownership you have over your content. An example of this is WordPress.com where you can host your blog on a sub-domain of their website, eg: mywebsite.wordpress.com
For branding purposes, and building your site’s value in the long term, it’s well worth having your own domain name. It means you own it and no-one else has a say in your site. And, since they only cost around £10 per year, there’s no reason not to.
I Already Have a Domain Name!
If you already have a domain name for your website, then don’t worry, you can use that on this course. You might still need to set up a new hosting account, though, if you don't have one already. We'll cover that on the next unit.
If you have hosting too, then that’s great, you don't have to worry about this or the next task: you’re all set up already. Move on to installing your website.
The most common situation, though, is that you need hosting AND a domain. In that case, you'll buy a hosting account AND a domain name at the same time. If that's you, then keep reading below.
HOW TO CHOOSE A DOMAIN NAME
There are lots of domain extensions out there, examples being:
- and many many more…
The best domain to have is a .com, as it’s the longest standing one, and the one that people will tend to try first if they don’t know what your extension is. .net and .org are also well established, and carry weight in the search engines, so they’re a viable alternative to .com.
Choosing another extension can be risky. .com, .net or .org sites may carry a small advantage in the search results, and be a little more authoritative in people’s perceptions. But, finding a short, memorable domain is also very valuable, so it can pay off in the long run.
It’s perfectly possible to make a non-.com domain rank well, and there are thousands of examples of this, so if you can think of a great domain with a different extension, then go for it.
How Do I Choose a Domain Name?
The best domain names are short and memorable. Sadly, the options are limited nowadays – most of the good domains have been bought up. You’ll need to be imaginative and think of some creative word combinations.
Many people now base their new Business name on what domains are available. If you have an existing business, though, you might have to try quite a few different word combinations before hitting an available one that works.
Buying a Domain along with Hosting
Before getting into this, if you’re buying hosting as well, then the easiest method is to get your domain along with your hosting. So, when you’re signing up with Bluehost or Hostgator, you can choose a domain name and buy it along with your hosting.
Therefore, if you’re buying hosting, then move to the next section – you don’t need to buy a domain separately.
If You Already Have Hosting and Need a New Domain
To buy a domain name on it’s own, you need to go through a Domain Registrar. This is a company who will register your domain on the internet, and make sure that, when someone types it into their address bar, it will direct them to your website. My usual registrar is GoDaddy. They offer decent prices, and a great Domain Management control panel.
If you want to buy more new domain names in future then you could buy them through GoDaddy here: GoDaddy Domain Registration.
Buying an Existing Domain Name
GoDaddy also allow you to buy existing domain names through their Domain Auctions tool. This can be a very good option if you’re flexible in what you choose. It’ll cost a little more than if you just register a new domain, but you can get a much better, more memorable domain if you’re willing to spend a little and put in the searching time.
Go to Godaddy Auctions to have a look.
I hope this has helped you find your way around the world of web domains – it can be a little confusing!
Head back to the main course, now, to continue setting up your website. Choose your next step from the index below.