There are several steps to take when you are ready to build a website and market your brand or product. However, one of the very first things you need to do is register a domain name. Right after picking a web host, you will need to make this choice.
There can be no website if you don’t have a domain name. There are thousands of domain names to choose from, to get the domain you want, you have to search and see if it is available. Different domain name extensions can be used.
What you choose will be entirely up to you and how you want to represent your brand.
What Is A Domain Name?
A domain name is a series of letters and numbers that links to a numeric IP address, which is used to access a website. Every time visitors connect to your website, they must enter the domain name, one way or another.
This is often referred to as a URL, but this is not completely correct. While the two are quite similar, a URL leads to a specific page or post on that domain name. for instance, imagine a Google search for dogs.
The domain name is Google.com, it’s clean and easy to type in, but if you search for dogs, you can see the URL becomes an incredibly large string of characters and numbers. That is the URL.
How to Buy a Website Domain Name
Luckily, if you sign up for a hosting account with GreenGeeks, you get a free domain name. We also offer website domain purchasing within your account.
This means that buying domain names is possible anytime you want, right from your GreenGeeks account. Prices vary depending on the extension you choose and the number of years you register the domain.
Since GreenGeeks acts as a domain registrar, it is simple and easy to get your free domain name or to buy a domain name from us. Of course, this is only one way to go about a domain name, it’s also possible to purchase one directly from another person.
Method 1: Obtain A Domain Name With GreenGeeks
Sign Up for Hosting With GreenGeeks For a Free Domain Name
If it’s time for you to register a domain name, then signing up for a hosting account with GreenGeeks is a perfect start.
Since you are going to have to buy a website domain name anyway, there is no reason not to take this route. Plus, you can purchase more from us at any time.
To buy or get free domain name registration with GreenGeeks, just signup for one of the hosting services offered. You can start from our homepage, or you can simply jump straight to the order form and go from there.
Order web hosting by entering the relevant information and following the steps. As you can see, you will receive a free domain name or a free domain transfer with the purchase of web hosting.
Register a Domain Name at GreenGeeks
If you are already registered and a part of the GreenGeeks family, then buying additional website domain names is a simple process. Just follow the steps below.
On the left-side menu, click “Domains,” then the “Register a Domain” link.
Enter the domain name you want to register and click the “Domain Lookup” button to see if the name is available for registration. The system will run through and automatically check for you.
If the domain name is available, you will see text verifying that the domain can be registered. Click the “Go To Next Step” button to move on.
If the domain you searched for isn’t available, you will have to try a variation of what you want. If you’re looking for a single-word .com domain, you may have to add a word and experiment with different configurations before you find an available domain.
Remember that you can try to register a domain name using different domain extensions. That single word domain that isn’t available as a .com may be available on a different extension. For example, .org, .net or .me. Did you know that there are almost 250 extensions to choose from?
You already have a hosting account with GreenGeeks, so no additional information is needed at this point. Simply click the “Go To The Next Step” button and provide payment information.
After you’ve entered your preferred payment method, click the “Purchase Domain” button.
That’s it; you’re now the owner of a new domain name registered with GreenGeeks.
Method 2: Buy A Website a Domain Name
Let’s face it, there are a lot of websites and each one of them has a domain name. There are also many individuals and corporations that buy domain names just in case they ever need them. Thus, the true number of available domain names is shrinking.
This can leave certain websites in a problematic situation, especially when it comes to marketing. The good news is that many individuals and organizations are willing to part with their domain names, as long as they are at the right price.
Let’s look at what it’s like to buy a domain name from another person.
Step 1: Find Out Who Owns the Domain Name
The first real step is to discover who owns the domain name you want. This sounds simple, but it’s actually a bit trickier than one would think, but there are a variety of tools that can help with the search.
The one I recommend is WHOIS Lookup. Once you enter the domain name into the search bar it will pull up a variety of information. If the domain name is owned by an individual, it will pull up some key information, including an email address.
Of course, sometimes it will pull up a registrar instead. This might require you to contact them and to be honest, the likelihood for the domain name to be for sale if it is in use is very low.
Regardless, get the contact information.
Step 2: Research the Domain Name
This might seem like a throwaway step, but it’s the most important in this process. Typically speaking, purchasing a domain name is expensive. You are usually looking at anywhere from several hundred to thousands of dollars as the price tag.
By understanding how it is used, you are in a better position in the negotiating step. Is it currently in use? How much traffic does it bring in? Is a marketing campaign associated with the name? Or, is it unused?
These factors will help determine the price as an unused domain name will not cost as much as one that is currently active with visitor traffic.
Step 3: Contact Them And Make An Offer
Now it’s the fun part, you must contact the owner with your offer. While you do want to keep the price down, the initial message is the most important. The offer must be enticing enough for them to actually respond.
For instance, if you received an email stating someone wanted to buy a domain name for $5, would you respond? Probably not, and neither would anyone else. The offer you make must be fair and should be open to negotiation.
If you can reach an agreement, congrats, you just bought your dream domain name.
Other Popular Domain Name Questions
We get a fair amount of questions regarding domain registration. “Hi, I bought a domain, now what?” That’s a reasonable question!
Here are some of the common domain name questions, and more importantly, the answers to those questions. This should help clear some things up when it comes to buying domain names.
How Long Should A Domain Name Be?
A domain name is recommended to be 17 characters long and to only include three terms. For instance, let’s say I ran a donut shop. The domain I would try to pick would be RobsDonutShop.
It contains 13 characters and three terms, which include Robs, Donut, Shop. It’s easy to remember and catchy if I do say so myself. The longer the domain name, the harder it is to remember and the harder it is to manually type in for visitors.
It also becomes problematic for advertising. Imagine trying to advertise TheBestDonutsInTheWholeWorld.com on Twitter, where character counts matter. Just imaging looking on a business card and seeing a ridiculously long URL.
It just doesn’t work.
The golden rule of domain names is short, easy to remember, and catchy.
What’s the Best Domain Name Extension?
There is a lot to be said about domain name extensions, how they work, and what they represent. Everyone wants a .com, and they are the easiest to remember. Due to the public perception of it, yes, a .com extension is the best.
However, it’s not because it offers some advantage over the others or you get better performance. It’s because whenever someone types in a website they instinctively add a .com to the end of it.
Combine this with the fact that many websites that do not use the .com extension are scam sites, it only makes the .com extension more valuable.
With this said, quality content always helps you rank high in search results, and a domain extension has nothing to do with that.
Most of your website visitors will arrive at your site after clicking a link, not typing your domain name. As new generations arrive online, the domain extension becomes less critical.
Do Different Domain Extensions Affect Your Website’s SEO?
As far as every SEO expert is concerned, a domain name extension will not affect your website’s SEO. However, it could still impact other factors that affect optimization.
Let’s be perfectly honest, the internet is not as safe as we all like to think it is. There are thousands of websites that exist to try and steal or scam money from visitors. And did you know that most of those websites don’t use the .com extension?
This will have an impact on the public and make them believe that websites that do not use .com are shady. This can directly affect things like the bounce rate. As they might see the extension and immediately hit back.
A bad bounce rate will affect your SEO. Thus, it’s an indirect relationship at best.
Should I Ever Change My Domain Name?
For most websites, the answer is a hard no, but there are situations where it is appropriate and it can dramatically help your business.
For example, let’s say your website started out on the wrong foot and you’ve completely overhauled your website and the type of content you produce. If the domain name no longer matches the brand or is associated with something else, a switch isn’t a bad idea.
That said, it will negatively impact your SEO, in fact, it will basically reset it.
In other cases, it’s actually common for startup companies to undergo several name changes, which means several domain changes. While it’s not common for blogs or eCommerce sites, there is a time and a place for switching the domain name.
What are Nameservers?
Nameservers associate your domain name with your web host. Think of it as a map of the geographic location of your website. Much like traditional post office mail will have the city, state, and zip code, the nameserver is the location of where your site files are stored.
Your domain name acts as the actual address at that location.
You can learn how to set nameservers fairly easily within GreenGeeks. If you register a domain name through your GreenGeeks hosting account, the nameservers have already been set for you. Of course, you can change them if necessary.
Should I Buy A Website Domain Name At An Auction?
If the domain name you want is taken and you are willing to pay a premium to get it, an auction or broker sale may be a good way to get the domain you’re after. Of course, some domain names will cost you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.
Domain owners can sometimes have unrealistic expectations as far as the value of their domain names is concerned. If the domain you want is for sale through a broker, don’t hesitate to offer less.
The negotiation room is often built into the asking price.
If you are just starting, then I recommend buying a domain name the cheaper, more traditional way: directly through a domain registrar.
With a little imagination and ingenuity, you can come up with a domain name that’s available to register, and every bit as good as an older domain that’s for sale.
Older domain names can also have a bad history. A domain used for spamming or one that’s been attached to a site that has engaged in “black hat” SEO can be banned by Google! A newly registered domain name doesn’t come with any such hidden baggage.
Why is a Good Domain Name Important?
Your domain is important for several reasons. However, the two biggest reasons you want a good name are for brand recognition and local area searches.
Having someone quickly identify your branding is critical in 2021. People are quick to recognize names like Apple, Amazon, or Google. However, try making TechCompanyTwenty a household name and you’ll see that it’s futile.
It’s a bit on the long side, extremely generic, and just not that catchy.
You should also try to include keywords in your domain name. For instance, if your website is about life in New York, but your domain name contains “North Carolina,” you’re going to have credibility issues.
If your domain name doesn’t match (or closely match) your brand name, customers are going to feel a disconnect.
When you build your website the right way, the site content and domain name work together to amplify your message and get your name and brand out to the masses.
Should You Buy Multiple Variations of Your Website Domain Name?
This really depends on the type of website or business you hope to create. If you plan to start a blog, then the answer is probably not. But what if you have ambitions for something larger. Say, a major corporation.
For instance, let’s look at something most people don’t know. Open up a new tab and type www.Amazoon.com. Notice that there is an extra “o” on the URL, but it still brings you to the correct website.
This is because Amazon has purchased multiple variations of its domain name so that they can all redirect visitors to the actual website. This helps prevent losing customers due to typos and even helps protect those customers from scams.
Imagine if that website actually sent you to a website that looked like Amazon but was designed to scam customers and steal information. That would negatively impact the real company.
Many individuals or companies actually go out of their way to do this in hopes that their domain name is purchased.
Is It Worth It to Buy Website Domain Names to Sell?
Well, this isn’t an easy question to answer. You could be the luckiest person in the world and own a domain name that could fetch millions, but the odds of that are extremely small.
In many cases, a domain name will sell for a few thousand dollars.
This sounds great, but what if I told you it could take years to sell it? And every year you hold it, you need to pay a small fee with the registrar? Well, this is usually enough to scare away part-timers looking to make a quick buck.
That said, the potential is there but go in with realistic expectations.
Building A Website Once You Register A Domain Name
Once you register your domain name for your website, the next step is choosing what type of website you will build, and how you will build it.
There are many ways to build a website, some of them take a lot of specialized knowledge or coding expertise. Other methods are simple enough for anyone to do themselves.
If you are looking to build a website for your own local business, or perhaps a club or organization you belong to, then WordPress is a great way for people without any experience to get a website up and running in no time.
Likewise, if you want to build an affiliate website, or a content-based website, perhaps on a topic you enjoy or a hobby you have, then again using WordPress is probably the best way to get started.
eCommerce or sites with shopping cart capabilities are probably best built using a shopping cart script such as WooCcommerce, which we have other tutorials that you can follow.
Building a basic website is a lot easier than more people realize, as long as you are willing to learn some new skills along the way.
We have a ton of tutorials and help available to get you started. All you need is the willingness to do it. A few hours later, and you could have something amazing up and running.
The Step By Step Guide To Building a Website
Step 1: Pick A Web Host
The web hosting company is responsible for renting out and managing a web server. It directly affects the performance of your website, thus not only is it the first step, but it is also the most important.
Now the good news for customers, is that the web hosting industry is extremely competitive. This has driven the price down and improved the quality of the service considerably, but even with this in mind, not all web hosts are equal.
The quality of the servers, the level of support you can expect, the impact on the environment, and many other factors can vary wildly between web hosts.
That’s why at GreenGeeks we strive to ensure our customers get the best prices for the best experience.
Step 2: Pick Out A Domain Name
We just spent a lot of time speaking about domain names, but this is the next step in the process. If it wasn’t clear already, you cannot build a website without a domain name.
It’s one of the first things you need to select, so make sure it’s a good one.
Step 3: Choose A CMS to Build With
A Content Management System (CMS) is the platform you use to build a website. There are a ton to choose from, but this is actually the easiest choice you will have to make because WordPress is the best CMS to build with.
It’s highly flexible, requires no coding knowledge, and it’s one of the easiest platforms to build with. This is all thanks to plugins and themes.
A plugin is a small software package that adds a specific feature or set of features to your website. For instance, you can install a security plugin to add a firewall or DDoS protection to your website.
Whereas a theme determines the appearance of your website. They are highly customizable and even come with special features that separate them from one another. With both of them, you can build any type of website imaginable.
Step 4: Choose A Website Archetype
There are many types of websites that you can build and this is the part where you need to select which one to build. For instance, you can build a blog, an eCommerce site, a social network, or something else.
Regardless, you need to figure out which features you need (plugins), and what your website will focus on as a topic. Then design a website around that topic.
At this point all, that’s left is to start creating content or adding products to your storefront.
Step 5: Marketing Your Website
With the website fully built and full of content, it’s time to start marketing it to the world. After all, your website will not be returning your investment without a healthy supply of visitors. Luckily, there’s a lot of ways to go about it.
For starters, and probably the most obvious path, social media. You can build a profile page on all social media websites at no extra charge to you. This allows you to reach a large audience and build your influence.
You can take it a step further by cashing in on free advertisement tokens that these platforms offer. For instance, did you know you can get free ads on Facebook? Well, you can, granted it’s only a few, but it’s a great way to kick off a new website.
That said, eventually, you are going to pay for dedicated advertising.
Another way is to participate in open forums like Reddit or answer questions on Quora. However, make sure you avoid just putting a link to your website. Have it flow organically into your answer or list it as a source.
The communities of these websites can easily pick out spam and downvote you to oblivion.
As we’ve seen, domain registration is not a difficult task. In most cases, picking the right domain name will be more stressful and time-consuming than the actual purchase. Assuming you are buying from a registrar.
Now that you know GreenGeeks offers a free domain name registration with your hosting account, as well as a range of step-by-step tutorials to help you build your site, you have a fun and straightforward way to get started building your website.
Was the domain name of your dreams available? If not, how did you decide on a different one?