The domain name you choose will influence the rest of your business for as long as you’re in business. It completely colors how someone sees your website.
Your domain is your brand. It’s what customers will remember you by. It’s what goes on your business cards and your marketing materials. It’s what you tell people you meet at a mixer. It shapes and defines your blog’s identity.
That’s why it’s so important to come up with a fantastic domain name. Here’s a step by step guide to coming up with a good name, then registering that name and setting it up with your hosting account.
Step 1: Brainstorm Potential Domain Names
This process should take several days and should involve multiple people. Try to come up with as many good possible names as you can think of. Talk to others in the industry, talk to your peers, talk to your family members, talk to your friends.
Whenever you have an idea, jot it down. Here are a few guidelines to follow:
1) Only register domain names that you can get .coms for. Though there are a few exceptions, by and large .nets and .orgs tend to be less successful.
2) The fewer words the better.
3) Don’t use hyphens or underlines.
4) Don’t use numbers. You don’t want to have to say “that’s 36, in numbers” every time you say your website to someone.
5) Pick a name you can grow into. A name that’ll work just as well 5 years from now as today. Don’t pick “TommysTeddies” if you might expand into other lines of toys, for example.
6) Avoid trademarks.
7) Come up with a lot of possible names, then pick the best one.
Note that you’re probably going to have to come up with two or three word domain names. Single word domains are almost always going to be taken. You may occasionally be able to pick up a single word domain name from Sedo’s Great Domains auction or from various domain name forums, but you won’t be able to register it from scratch.
TIP: Jot all your possible domain names down in a text file.
Step 2: Check for Availability
There are two ways to check for domain availability on GoDaddy. If you’re just checking one domain off the cuff, you can just plug it into the main page.
But if you’re plugging in a large batch of potential domain names, you’ll want to use the bulk domain search. Just click the “Bulk Domain Search” button in the lower right corner.
Paste all your potential domain names into the box, then check which extensions you want to check for. This mass checking tool will allow you to check all your ideas in one fell swoop.
Step 3: Choose the One You Want
GoDaddy will tell you which of the domains you entered is available. Choose the one you want to use, then click “Proceed to Checkout.”
Step 4: Choose Registration Length
Choose how long you want your domain name for. By default, GoDaddy registers you for two years. If you don’t want to pay for two years upfront, you can change it to one year. Alternatively, you can register for 5 years if you want a discount.
Step 5: Complete Checkout
Enter your payment details to complete the checkout process.
Once your payment goes through, you’ll have your receipt. Congratulations! You’re now a proud owner of your brand new domain name.
Step 6: Access Your Domain
Once you own your domain, you need to point your domain’s nameservers towards your hosting account. This links your domain to your hosting so people who type in your domain name will access your website.
To get started, you need to go to your domain’s control panel. Start by clicking “My Account” in the upper left corner.
Then click on “Domains.”
Choose the domain name you want to edit and click “Launch.”
Step 7: Set Your Nameservers
Your nameservers are like a digital street address. It tells GoDaddy where to send your traffic when people type in your domain name. To set your nameservers, click on “Nameservers” at the top of the GoDaddy domain menu.
Get your nameserver information from your hosting company. This is usually in your registration email, but could be located somewhere in your cPanel.
Enter your nameservers into your domain setup screen.
That’s all there is to it! You now know how to brainstorm for domain names, how to choose a good domain name, how to check your domains en mass, how to register your domain and how to set your nameservers. Your new domain name is ready to go!