You want to buy your own domain name but have no idea where to start? Not to worry, it is super easy. If you can shop online, you can buy a domain name.
Firstly, you need to know what domain name you want. That is the hardest part of buying a domain. It is a real pain to move to another domain if you change your mind later, so you really want to get it right the first time.
Some tips on a good domain
Keep it simple
The shorter the better. omgIreallyloveblooggingsososomuch.com is probably not a great idea. The longer it is, the harder it is for people to type and the more chance of mistakes. Easy to say is probably handy as well, especially if you are going to be using it for email addresses. Avoid hypens.
Keep it relevant
Your domain is part of your branding so you probably want your domain to be your blogs name, or something very similar. If the domain for Blog Chicks was Ilovecats.com, while being an awesome domain, it’s not at all related to my site and would give you the wrong impression about what you would find here. Also, having your name or the keywords you wish to rank for in your domain is great for SEO (Search Engine Optimisation, which is a way of having your website rank higher in search results).
Try to avoid being too restrictive because you don’t know where you and your blogging may be in a few years time. OMGcupcakes.com is great, but what if you decide you like cookies more in the future?
Why not consider your own name? Great for personal branding, expansion and change of direction.
Stick with .com or .com.au
There are so many TLD (the .com, .org, .com.au, etc. at the end) domain options, it can be hard to know which to choose. Your first choice should be a .com and hope that it is available. It can take a few goes to find something that is not already registered.
To register a .com.au you will need an ABN and the domain needs to be similar to your business name or the business you are conducting. Keep in mind if someone is actively using the .com equivalent of the .com.au domain you wish to use, you will be essentially competing against them.
Additionally, you might want to check if the relevant social media accounts are available for your selected domain name. Knowem is a great site for that.
I’m going to show you how to buy a domain name at Namecheap. They are one of the biggest domain registrars in the world and have been around for many years. You can buy .com and .com.au domains from them, and they are generally the cheapest. With registration you get free privacy protection (which I will explain below), something other places charge $10+. Another I’d recommend is GoDaddy whose steps to register are very similar.
So you have the domain name in mind. Let’s get started!
Type in the domain you want to register (triple check your spelling!), select the domain extension from the drop down and click Search. If you want .com just leave it as-is, or find .com.au in the drop down if that is your preference.
Ok, so we’ve searched and yay our selected domain name is available. If the domain is already taken, you will just have to continue searching until you find one that is available.
If the domain is something that you REALLY want, check it out and see if it is active. Many times the domains are just being squatted on until someone wants to buy them. You could try and make an offer, but can cost $100’s to purchase. Your best bet is to just keep searching.
Also on the page it gives you the option to purchase other extensions of your domain, such as the .net, etc. It’s up to you, but I don’t find this necessary.
Click add to cart.
So we have our domain in our cart. As with all shopping online, ALWAYS search for a coupon. Why pay more than you have to?
Just google “namecheap coupons” and try some out until you find an active one that works.
It will say you have 2 items in your cart, this is the domain you have selected as well as the free privacy protection they are offering you.
Privacy protection is great. With a .com registration, legally, you must provide a correct address, email and phone number details for your registration. These details are easily visible to anyone who looks up the ownership of your domain. You certainly don’t want your home address out there for all to see. The privacy protection gives you details that you can use here instead of your own, ensuring that your private details stay private. Unfortunately this option is not available for .com.au, but the only details shown on these domains is your name and ABN.
Here you can also select the length of time for your registration. Again it’s up to you what you decide here, but I usually just do one year. With a .com.au, these need to be registered for a minimum of 2 years.
After this step you will be asked to sign up or login to your existing account.
You have a few options here.
1. Do you want your domain to auto renew? This just means when the domain comes up for renewal, they will automatically renew it and bill you.
2. Whois guard, as mentioned above, is the privacy protection. You want to leave this enabled to protect your details.
3. Name servers. If you already have hosting purchased (more about that in a future post) you will need to add your namesever details here. They would have been given to you by your host when you signed up. They will look like dns1.mynameserver.com dns2.mynameserver.com, or something similar. Input those details here.
If you want to use this domain on your Blogger blog, namecheap have a great step by step guide to help you out.
If you have not yet decided what you are doing with the domain, you can leave this set to “use our free name servers”.
You will then be taken to the billing section, pay for your domain, and you’re all done! You’ve just bought your own little piece of the interwebs.
If you have set your own name servers, allow a few hours (up to 2 days) for the DNS to propagate to start pointing to your site.
If you are using blogger, don’t forget to run through the extra setup steps once you have completed registration.
Got any questions? Let us know in the comments.