Part 1/5 of A Simple Guide to Your First Website
Setting up a website can appear to be daunting if you have never tried it before. There are so many options, tools, services and website builders that it can be difficult to know where to begin.
Understanding what you need to get started online boils down to the five essential building blocks which I will be explaining in a short series of articles. The first of these is the your domain name.
What Is A Domain Name?
Your domain name is the name that uniquely identifies your website on the Internet, such as “google.com”, “amazon.co.uk” or “wikepedia.org”. You can also use your domain name as part of your email address to give a consistent and professional impression to your contacts.
A good and meaningful domain name will help your visitors discover your website and will increase your chances of being displayed high up in the search results on Google or any of the other search engines. A good domain name means more visitors.
Registering a domain name is a good place to start with your new project. The process of choosing a name will help you clarify your ideas, the cost is minimal and taking your first definitive action towards making you idea a reality will give you the excitement and momentum to move forwards.
Choosing Your Domain Name
To be effective your domain name should be or contain the title of your website. For example Creative Transmissions has creativetransmissions.com as a domain name so it is obvious to both Google and anybody searching for the business that this is the requested website.
If you are providing a product or service from your website you should think about what your potential customers would be searching for online and try and include some of the words they might used in your domain name.
For example if you are a photographer specialising in landscape photography you should used the words “landscape photography” in your domain name such as: macphersonlandscapephotography.co.uk.
The part of the domain name at the end is called the suffix, for example “.com” “.org” or “.net”.
If you offer any kind of commercial service should choose .com (short for commercial). This is the easiest to remember domain suffix so will help your customers remember you. If you are running a non-profit organisation .org would be appropriate or if you are running a local company you might like to use a national level domain name suffix such as .co.uk.
Domain Name Pricing
New domain names are inexpensive to register as the only cost is administration – you are paying for the name to be reserved for your use. Top level domains such as .com are more expensive and are usually around £5 – £15 where as national level domains are usually cheaper and registration for two years is usually less than a .com name would cost for one year.
Sometimes companies will offer you a free domain name which includes their own business or organisation name, for example “yourbusinessname.blogger.com”. These are not true domain names and are not given a high priority by search engines. At the end of the day they just give more exposure to the website you register with instead of your own. In addition you are not usually able to use these in you email address. For maximum exposure, control and flexibility your domain name should include only the words you choose and nothing else.
Registering your domain name is usually your first step to setting up your first website. The main points to consider are:
- A domain name should clearly describe what your website is about
- You will be more likely to get more visitors if your domain name contains the words your visitors are likely to search for in Google.
- Domain names which include another companies name should be avoided
If you have an idea for a website you can use the Creative Transmissions domain name checker to see if your domain name is available for registration. You can visit the domain names page here to try it out.