What is a domain name?
A domain is the name of your site. If you are hosting your site on a paid site (not blogspot, wix, or wordpress.com) then you need to purchase a domain name. (See more about free blog sites here) Some free blogging services allow you to use your domain name on their servers. (For example; blogspot.com allows you to use your own domain name, one that you own, so your name would be yourdomain.com instead of yourdomain.blogspot.com.) This does not mean you are self hosted, but it does look more professional. The great thing about already purchasing your domain name even if you are on a free platform for hosting, is that you will not lose readers if you do get self hosted later on. Also, oh I already mentioned that it looks more professional but it should be said again, it looks more professional.
I recommend purchasing a domain name before finding a host, since they will ask you what your domain name is. You need one before getting the other. Some hosts, include the registering of a domain cost into the price of hosting. It is good to know some things about domains before you buy one though. Please keep reading.
Picking a Domain Name
I didn’t get my first pick of a domain name. I didn’t get my second choice either, but I am happy with the name I ended up with. I hope you get the domain name you really, really want. Chances are the first few names you pick will be taken. You can always use a .net, .org, .us, .ca, .biz instead of a .com. There are new .names coming out all the time. The risk with that is that people may type in .com automatically and then end up somewhere else.
You should choose a .com. You see, most of the world is still pretty ignorant about how many .options there are available. So choosing a .somethingelse will probably cost you traffic. Most people type a name and automatically use .com, or they just type in the name and let Google or Bing try to find it for them. Unless you know your website will be the top in any web search, you should try to make your name a .com.
The trick is to find a domain name that is easy to remember, and is also catchy. There are over 150,000,000 domain names already registered, so finding a name you want, and is available, can be tricky. As I have said earlier, adding numbers is not a good idea, unless the numbers go with the name, (ex: catch22, lovepostionno9). You should brainstorm for a good name. Then you can look it up and see if it is available.
Think about the name you want to be referred to as. Something cool, something unique, something you like. When I think about blog sites, I rarely associate the persons name with the site. As a blogger, you will be referred to as your site name on the net at some point. Pick a name you like.
Where to buy a Domain
You do not need to go through your host to purchase a domain. Plenty of websites sell them and/or will register them for for you. Domain prices are usually the same no matter where you go because they are all registered to the same place. Loads of people sell domains. Most domains are fairly cheap, usually between $5-$20 a year. You will need to re-register them yearly.
Here are a few places to purchase a domain:
Every domain name gets registered in the Domain Name System (DNS). DNS is a standard technology for managing public names of Web sites and other Internet domains. Once you own the domain, no one else can use it. It is off the market. Your information will now be available for everyone to see via WHOIS. The WHOIS database is a searchable list of every single domain currently registered in the world on the DNS. WHOIS databases are mainly run by registrars and registries.
Once you have a host, they will show up on your whois data as well as your information. Most hosts have an easy way to change or update your information for whois. Some hosts, like Hostgator, allow you to type in generic information so all of your PII (personally identifiable information) is not readily available to anyone who can search for it on WHOIS.
It is ridiculously easy to gain PII by looking at WHOIS data. You can search information on ICANN. ICANN’s WHOIS service is a publicly searchable tool that searches the databases of registries and registrars to detail the domain owner contact information. If you currently own a domain, you should look up what yours says. Some registars are great about keeping PII private, and some not so much.
Domains that make $$
You can purchase as many domains as you want. Here are the most expensive domain names ever sold:
- Insurance.com $35.6 million in 2010
- VacationRentals.com $35 million in 2007
- PrivateJet.com $30.18 million in 2012
- Internet.com $18 million in 2009
- 360.com $17 million in 2015
- Insure.com $16 million in 2009
- Fund.com 2008 £9.99 million
- Sex.com for $14 million in November 2014
- Hotels.com $11 million in 2001
- Porn.com 2007 $9.5 million
Buying domain names and selling them is a good investment, if it is a good name. By now most of the really great names are sold, but who knows what may be popular in the future.
I will post more blogging tips soon. If have any questions, please leave them in the comments. I am happy to help any new bloggers, or point them in the right direction to someone who can help.