Buying a domain is an integral part of setting up a website. It might seem daunting to pick a domain name at first, but once you read this article you’ll be good to go.
This article will teach you everything you need to know about how to find a good domain name, what to do if the domain you want isn’t available, and where you can go to register a cheap domain.
Finding a name
If you already have a name in mind, that’s great! You can check if it’s available on our free domain checker tool. But if you don’t, make sure you come up with one that you like, as most domains aren’t usually refundable.
When deciding on a domain, try to make it as short as possible. If you can limit yourself to five to ten letters, that’s great, but if not, try not to exceed two words. For example, our domain is “gilect.com.” It’s short and easy to memorize. If you run a bakery called “Anne’s Cakes,” you could consider “annescakes.com.”
If you find that your business name is not available, you can try targeting keywords or locations. If you are located in New York, you might want to go for “annescakesny.com” or “cakesnewyork.com.”
Remember that when it comes to domains, less is more. Of course, however, make sure that the domain is easy to memorize and makes sense. You can have a super short domain such as “htrxf.com,” but it wouldn’t be super fun to type, and would be difficult to remember.
Stay away from numbers and hyphens
If your dream domain is taken, you might be tempted into adding a hyphen. For example, “annes-cakes.com” However, this makes your domain harder to memorize and say out loud. If you heard on the radio “Anne’s Cakes dot Com,” you probably wouldn’t assume there would be a hyphen.
The same applies to numbers. It is easy to get confused about whether the number is supposed to be a numeral or if it’s supposed to be written out. For example, “squarenine.com” and “square9.com.”
Country Code domains
If your business is local, you should consider a ccTLD (Country-code top-level-domain.) This helps you target a specific area or country. For example, if you run a store in Toronto, you could register “mystore.ca.”
Try aiming for .com
Nearly every website ends in .com: google.com, office.com, and twitter.com just to name a few. .com is by far the most popular domain extension, which means that it’s the most memorable. When people think of a website, they usually automatically associate it with .com. There’s a reason why smartphone keyboards have a dedicated .com button. Additionally, people often associate .com with trust, since it’s something they almost always encounter.
This also means that plenty of .com domain names are already taken (or are being sold at ridiculously high prices.) If you find that you can’t register a .com domain at all, and country code domains aren’t well suited to your business, you could try alternatives like .net or .xyz.
There are also thousands of domain extensions out there that fit almost any niche. Some popular ones include:
These domain extensions are great, and it’s unlikely you’ll have problems finding an available domain. However, be warned: these extensions are much rarer than your usual .com or .net, and might even appear less professional.
Registering your domain
Once you decided on a domain name, it’s time to register it! First, you should make sure that you find a reputable domain registrar, such as NameSilo. Some registrars have ridiculous renewal fees and some have hidden charges. If a domain registrar is trying to charge you extra for WHOIS privacy, that’s a sign to stay away from them. WHOIS privacy is what protects your personal details from being published publicly in the WHOIS database.
Make sure you act fast! Domain names are snatched up pretty quickly. If you’re wondering about the prices for a domain name, here’s how much some of the most popular domain extensions cost at NameSilo.
- .com: $10.95/year
- .net: $11.79/year
- .biz: $5.75/year
Can I get a free domain?
Some web hosts, such as iFastNet, bundle a free domain name for a year if you purchase one of their hosting plans. But be careful, they usually make up for this lost profit by charging an absurdly high renewal price.
If you don’t mind paying yearly for your web hosting, iFastNet bundles in a free domain for however long you pay for your plan.
With everything in mind, it’s important that you have a short and memorable domain name, preferably a .com, and that you register your domain name as soon as you can.