Step 1 – Pick a Name and Get a Domain

Domain Names

Domain Names—ivanpw (Flickr.com)

The first thing you need to start a website is a name. The thought that goes into picking a name could be as simple as finding something that’s available and going with it OR complicated enough to involve a full keyword analysis and marketing plan. For now we’ll assume that you’re going with the simpler of the options here. But, if you’re looking at doing some aggressive search engine optimization (SEO) down the line, we’ll have instructions on that soon too!

What Makes a Good Website Name?

Two words: Be Descriptive.

If you’re not descriptive, then how are people going to know if you’re site is the one they’re looking for? People are going to find your site through search engines, directories, social media posts, link lists and countless other ways, so you know you’re not always going to be able to control how your name is displayed. Unless you’re planning a big brand awareness campaign, it’s a good idea if the site name as well as the domain name offer some sort of description about what kind of content visitors will find when they get there.

For instance, let’s say Joe wants to write a blog about dog walking. He may have his heart on naming his new website: JoesPlace.com… Joe’s site may eventually show up in a directory next to other sites about walking dogs which may look like this:

  • HowtoWalkDogs.com
  • DoggieWalker2012.com
  • DogoneLeashMasters.com
  • JoesPlace.com

If someone is looking for a website about how to walk 9 dogs at the same time without getting the leashes tangled chances are they’re gonna pick one of the sites with the words Dog and Walk in the name over JoesPlace.com. A better choice might be JoeKnowsDogWalking.com or JoeWalksDogs.com.

We want immediate recognition from potential visitors that our site could have the information that they’re looking for.

How to Register Your Domain Name

Once you’ve picked your domain, you need to do a search and register it. You can register it in increments of 1 year at a time and you can probably get it for as low as $10 or even less!

GoDaddy is great for doing domain searches, managing domains, and they even offer some great suggestions if your domain is already taken. They are not, however good at web hosting. I recommend using GoDaddy the same way that I do:

  • Search for available domains
  • Buy new domains that you’ve found
  • Renew your domains once a year using their control panel
Do not do your web hosting with Godaddy. This decision will help us in our 3rd step to start a website.  Here’s the direct link to the web hosting company I’ve used for years.
When you go through the checkout process, click “No Thanks” for all the extra stuff they offer you (unless you want private registration). Click here for a step by step  screenshot walk through of the buying process at GoDaddy.

Think you’ve got a great name? Search it now using the form below!

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