What we’re going to cover
After this lesson you’ll have chosen a domain name and set up your hosting.
1. Different types of domains
Before choosing a domain name you need to define your desired target market.
What market do you plan on selling to?
National vs International?
If you plan on targeting a particular country you should opt for a country specific domain name e.g.
- Australia is www.frocksandsocks.com.au
- UK is www.frocksandsocks.co.uk
- India is www.frocksandsocks.in
- South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands is www.frocksandsocks.gs (Seriously!)
- Common global domains are www.frocksandsocks.com or .net
Generic global domains, e.g. “.com” or “.net” will work nicely in all markets.
However, utilising a country specific domain can give you a little preferential treatment from Google when displaying your website in your country.
Are you an organisation, government department
or educational institution?
- Organisations use .org
- Government use .gov
- Educational use .edu
The benefits of each are minimal to nonexistent.
Don’t sweat over it and just stick with the most common extensions: .com, .net, .co. or your domestic option.
What about using a “-” inbetween words?
Using a hyphen is fine. Your domain just starts to look a little ugly and spammy if you use too many.
I suggest using a maximum of one hyphen.
www.buy-from-my-really-honest-website.com – no thanks!
2. How to find the right domain for you?
I use GoDaddy to research/register domains. We’ll talk more about this soon.
If you already have a company name…
Use it of your domain.
HOWEVER - if you feel people may have difficulty spelling your name or it’s just too long – consider using initials or a partial abbreviation.
A good “offline” example of this:
Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company became “3M”.
The exact same principle applies online.
“Winterman & Goldstein Legal” could become www.wglegal.com
If you don’t have a company name yet…
The world is your oyster!
If you use the below points as a guide, and you can’t go wrong:
- Easy to remember
Avoid complex words, or words with a tricky spelling
Think alliteration and/or rhyme, or funny
Include a keyword related to what your site is about
www.startupsonline.com vs www.mightylittlestartups.com : )
When brainstorming with these points focus on people rather than search engines.
What do I mean by this?
You may have heard that using specific keywords in your domain to be an effective way to get your site displayed in Google. (Known as exact match domains).
This little tactic is a thing of the past.
“Stuffing” keywords into your domain no longer provides any benefit with Google.
An example of what not to do: if you wanted to sell rare diamonds, don’t register www.buyrarediamondsonline.com, if your company name was Danny’s Diamonds & Co.
Forget scamming the system.
Instead, think about how easy your domain is to understand, how memorable it is, and how enjoyable it is to say.
Although your domain is written, people still speak the words in their heads.
You’re also going to be telling people about your awesome site, so make sure you (and they) enjoy saying it!Tip: If a 7 year old can repeat your domain name back to you after hearing it once, you’re on track!
What domains to look for first:
Start with .com (or your country extension if targeting a domestic market).
If that’s not available go for either .co/.net or use a hyphen
Still stuck for domain ideas?
Consider adding some relevant keywords, e.g. www.jacksplumbingmelbourne.com.
This step may require some perseverance, but you’ll find something that hasn’t been taken eventually!
Still got nothing?
Scroll down to section 3 – “Tools for creative juice”.Tip: Domain names are not case sensitive – meaning your domain can be written like www.FrocksAndSocksMelbourne.com on business cards or printed documents. This can help with readability.
Should I buy lots of domain extension variations (.co, .net) to stop people getting them?
If you have big plans for your site (which I assume you do!) then it’s worth grabbing a few variations.
Buying these additional domains can stop nasty competitors trying to steal your traffic as they attempt to trick people by building rival sites with similar domains (amongst many other nasty tactics).
Many larger sites will buy every domain option as well as misspelled variations and redirect them all to the main domain.
You really don’t need to go to that extent, though.
And you know what, if you’re so successful that people are bothering to try and steal your traffic, you’re in a very good position! Keep focusing on what your doing well, rather than spending all your resources protecting what you’ve got.
If you do want some variations, go for .com, .net, .co, .org.
(This is 100% not required, just a precaution.)
3. Great tools for creating a domain names
If you want to get your creative juices flowing then give these tools a crack:
This cool tool adds adjectives, nouns or verbs before/after your chosen keyword.
I love this! Add your keywords and the Pun Generator will create puns out of sayings and famous titles.
As the name implies, Rhymezone spits out words that rhyme with any keyword or phrase you put in.
3. Ask your friends.
It’s amazing what a quick chat between friends can amount to. Seeking an outside perspective has helped me uncover so many golden nuggets over the years!
When should you take someones advice?
There’s value in everyones advice/opinions – regardless of their understanding of your industry or even the internet/technology.
As a rule of thumb, I listen most intently to those that best reflect my target market – they are the people I want more of!
When talking to anyone and everyone, I usually start taking serious consideration of feedback after 3+ people share a similar opinion (or it’s clear that someone’s identified an ingenious idea).
At the end of the day, if you get a mixed response from people, go with what you love and feel most comfortable with. It’s your site after all.
4. How to register your domain and setup hosting
I’ve used GoDaddy for domain registration for close to 10 years.
They are the biggest, have cheap prices and a simple admin section when you need to change/access settings (more on this later).
They also have a handy smartphone app for registering domains on the go – you never know when a brilliant idea will drop!
You’ll also get one free domain when you sign up for their 12 month hosting plan (which many of you will be doing).
When your site starts experiencing exponential growth later down the track (1000s of visitors a day), you’ll most likely want to upgrade the level of your hosting (to cope with more space and traffic).
For now, the key is to get up and running as fast as possible!
Domain registration and hosting setup
- Go to GoDaddy HERE (it will open in a new tab)
- Select “Create Account” and then complete and submit the form
Find your domain
Once you have created your account you’ll be directed to the screen below.
- Select “Find Your Domain”:
- Now type in your domain ideas to check for availability. You can change the extension to the right.
- Select “Add” next to the domain you want. Feel free to add the suggested variations.
- Then continue to checkout on the right
- Optional: Domain Privacy
Without domain privacy your details will be publicly accessible via the Whois database – a database that contains all the registration information of domains.
Details include your name, contact number and address (details you nominate). This is fine if your details are for an office. However, if you’re running your site from home, get this option!
Select the hosting checkbox, then “Economy” hosting 12 months.
Once at the checkout page GoDaddy will most likely have your domain registration time set to 5 years. You can increase/reduce this to whatever duration you wish. (1 year is fine for now)
Regardless, GoDaddy will send you a reminder to renew with plenty of time to spare.
Notice you get a domain for free with the 12 month Economy hosting.
Complete the checkout process.
Congratulations, you now have your own domain and hosting!
We’re going to jump over to Google Analytics to set up some tracking.
With Analytics you’ll be able to see where your sites visitors are located (down to the city) and what they do on your site.
Amazingly insightful stuff!
Click the button below to continue to the next lesson: