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Whether you’re setting up your first website or you have a strong background in website setup, it’s important to carefully consider your domain name. Buying a domain name plays a huge role in establishing your brand. It’s not a process that comes as an afterthought, and it’s not just the name that matters, either. Here are four other things worth considering when buying a domain name.
The SEO Value
There are many factors that impact where your site shows up in search engine results. In fact, if you’re using a website builder, you’ll have plenty of search engine optimization (SEO) tools at your fingertips. One of these factors that comes into play in SEO is the keywords in your domain name.
Let’s take an example. If someone searches “Start Blogging Online,” they’ll find startbloggingonline.com on the first page of the search results. (Note: Your domain name holds weight in search engine rankings, but there are tons of other factors at play. Startbloggingonline.com ranks for this long-tail keyword not solely because of its domain name but because it utilizes other SEO methods to appear in top results for blogging-related searches.)
Think about what SEO value your ideal domain name would bring to the table. Is the keyword relevant to your business or industry, or does it hold another meaning that more people are likely to search for? When people search this key term, what are they expecting to find? Does your site deliver on those expectations?
Don’t try to stuff too many keywords into your name. Your business name is the ideal option, but if you’re starting a blog and trying to come up with a website name based on what’s available, limit it to one word or a two- to three-word phrase. The longer you get, the more complicated it is for readers to remember, and that can indirectly affect your SEO by reducing your backlink potential.
Though SEO potential should be considered, don’t focus all your attention on what keywords will put you at the top. Consider SEO, but don’t forget about branding. Your domain name should benefit both of these areas, not one or the other.
If you’ve done any research into possible domain names for your site, then you’ll notice that some names are more expensive than others. On the low end, you’ll likely pay around $10-$15 per year to register your domain name. However, others sell for thousands of dollars.
This high price tag usually comes with domain names that have been previously registered. They may become available once the initial user’s ownership on them expires or if the owner decides to put the name up for sale. Since the domain has been used before, it often comes with added benefits like inbound links that can help with SEO. If it’s the right domain name for you, it also has the benefit of branding value.
In this case, a business with a somewhat atypical name might be able to snatch up a cheap domain that matches their business name. A more common name—whether other businesses also use the name or it’s just a common word, theme, or phrase—may either be taken or sell for a higher price. If your ideal domain name is priced quite high, then you may have to work this into your budget since it can have certain advantages.
It’s up to you on whether or not you want to tweak your domain name to go for the cheaper option or if you want to take advantage of the branding value and spend the money on a more expensive name. Once you go to register your domain, your registrar will tell you whether or not it’s taken and if it’s for sale. Consider your budget and how much you’re willing to spend on a good domain name, but make sure to have a few back-up options available in case your first choice is not for sale.
Your Extension Options
When you create your website and choose your domain name, you’ll have the opportunity to choose between several extensions, which include those like .com, .net, .org, and more. Oftentimes, the .com version of a domain is taken, but you can still buy it with a different extension, and sometimes at a cheaper price.
But are the other extensions worth it? The answer is that it depends.
First of all, you want to make sure your extension reflects the nature of your business or organization. For example, .com represents the word “commercial,” .net is for a “network,” and .org means “organization.”
For most business and personal uses, you’ll want to use the .com version. That’s because it’s the most used extension, and it gives your business credibility in having a presence on the web. It’s also more memorable. If web users can remember your domain name but forget the extension, it will be most likely assumed that it’s .com, which will make you easier to find on the web.
Weigh the costs and benefits. If your ideal domain is taken with the .com extension, you might be able to claim the name with the .net extension. Otherwise, you can search an alternative name to see if the .com is available.
Where You’re Buying From
Once you have your domain name picked out and know that it’s available, it’s time to think about who you want to register your domain name with. There are numerous registrars out there, including:
This is not a comprehensive list; it’s just a few examples.
You’ll notice here that some of these options, such as Bluehost, HostGator, and DreamHost, are not only domain registrars but are also web hosts. If you’re hosting through one of these companies, then you’ll have to consider if you want to go through them for both services. Though this has its advantages, many people caution against it.
The pros of using the same company for hosting and registering your domain name include:
- It’s convenient.
- Setup is easy.
- Technical support can help if there are any issues.
However, there are also cons to doing this, including that:
- It’s not as secure as spreading your services out.
- It can be difficult to transfer your domain if you choose to change your host.
- Some web hosts rent you the domain name but actually register it in their name, meaning that you don’t have the rights to move it to a new host or sell it. This is not the case with all hosts, but you should pay attention to the terms of your hosting agreement.
It’s up to you to weight the pros and cons about where to register your domain name, but before you make a final decision, be sure to at least consider other options. You’ll also want to research different hosts and domain registrars to see which one is the best for you. Pay attention to the terms of agreement so you understand what you’re getting from these services.
With these ideas in mind, you should be able to move forward with purchasing a domain name that benefits you and your business in many ways. What domain name options are you thinking about picking up for your next website?