One of the first few things to do – if you’d like to take your blogging seriously – is to purchase a domain name.
What is a domain name and why do you need it?
Oh, and why is it better to have a domain name purchased separately from your web host?
I address all that in this post. Come on in!
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First things first, what is a web domain?
Quite simply, it’s your web address – the link that people type into search bars to get to your blog.
So why do you need to purchase a domain?
I’m pretty sure some of you have had blogs with wordpress(dot com) or blogspot(dot com). These were fine and worked well. But if you ever wanted to take your blog to the next level, monetise it and use it to launch your business, it’s best if you purchased your own domain.
And you don’t have to wait til you are extremely “serious” about blogging to purchase a domain, you could do it now. See it as you “claiming” your little space on the interwebs.
With that said…
How do you go about selecting a domain name?
How do you go about selecting one? Well, my simplest method? Just go with whatever feels right to you. Right now. I’m serious.
Domain names, like everything else in blogging – be it your site host, blog niches/categories, interests, or whether you even want to continue blogging. Are all constantly evolving. You can change them anytime.
When I first started I kept listening to advice like “you need to find a domain name that you know will last a long time”, “you need to find something that it’s too long, so that people will remember”, “don’t get too outrageous with your name in case you aren’t able to build a brand around it”.
As a complete newbie, advice like this + the perfectionism in me was what made made me wait so long (3 months to be exact) to settle on a domain. And even then I wasn’t really sure that I did the right thing.
I personally think such advice attempts to make a big deal out of things. Firstly, with google auto-fill, we rarely have to worry about filling in forms or blog addresses. Unless you are clearing your internet history etc very often.
Second, branding has got little to do with your domain name and HOW you go about branding yourself. your posts, your style. it has little if anything to do with your domain name. Besides, I’m sure you’ve encountered blogs with strange domains which turn out lots of traffic, great posts and make lots of money.
So don’t let any of these points discourage you.
Though with that said, it can be very tedious to transfer domains from one web host to another. Which is one big reason I use SiteGround, their technical team do everything for you so seamlessly. The idea is to choose a good enough domain name you can live with for a bit, and not go all out trying to make it perfect.
With that said, here are a few points to consider if you are still struggling to find a name.
- Use your name. It immediately connects people with your business/brand.
- Use a name that reflects your current blog interests or style.
Where can I buy a domain?
Just head over to Namecheap and grab yours. It’s seriously cheap.
- Each domain is going for just 48 cents. Really. And it comes free with WhoisGuard
- What is WhoisGuard? It basically protects your site from spam and also removes your private infor from the Whois database, to insure your privacy online.
- SSL Certificates. This secures your site and protects your visitors’ data too. Changes your site from a HTTP to a HTTPS. *Best to do this before you add social sharing buttons to your site as any changes from HTTP to HTTPS will wipe out your social share numbers*
- Service is fantastic. Always look out for that. You don’t want to be left stranded when people can’t access your site and you can’t speak to a customer service officer.
Keep your domain and web host separate
Some of your web hosts (Siteground, BlueHost etc) do offer you the chance to buy your domain name together with your hosting package.
My advice is to keep both of these separate. Why?
Two of the biggest reasons are:
#1. Should you ever change your mind and want to change web hosts, it’s going to be a lot easier if your domain and host have always been kept separate. Nuts and Bolts puts it quite well:
Domain transfers can be annoying, time-consuming, and confusing. But if you’ve registered the domain elsewhere, you don’t have to do anything except update your DNS settings to point to the new host.
#2. Having it together with your web host can increase the chances of your blog being (successfully) hacked. Hover explains:
Data breach is very real, and it can even happen by simply having access to your domain web hosting services. If you use a domain web hosting service that lacks multi-step authentication, it may make it easier for hackers to access your web content. What’s worse, if your domain is also parked with your web hosting service, you can potentially lose your domain name should the hacker transfer the domain name elsewhere. That can mean tons of lost hours and money trying to prove you own your domain name.
I’ve always kept my domains and web host separate as a result. It’s safer.
What do you do now?
Start brainstorming a list of potential domain names. Don’t spend too much time on this. Just go with whatever feels right.
Head to to Namecheap and purchase it. And you’re done.
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