Branding, Searching, Buying, Building… You are likely here because you want your very own domain name. That is great news, and I’m here to help!
A domain name (also known as a URL, Uniform Resource Locator, or web address), is the unique way for the world wide web to know you. Each URL is a branding, a brand name where others can find you. Inasmuch, the brand should be unique, and memorable.
Consider, what are you tying to convey? Is it that you want people to find you as a person, or is it that you are selling something? Ideas for branding might include:
- Your name. Like this domain, marksatterfield.com, it is my name. It might be unique enough, and descriptive enough for everyone to find you. But it might not be exactly what you are looking for, and it might not be unique enough for other people to find you. If your name is a common name, it is likely already taken. If your name is Mark Satterfield? Yes, the domain is already taken. Sorry about that!
- Your nickname. This might be an acceptable domain name, depending on how common your nickname is, and whether it is available.
- Have you started a company? Then use the web address associated with your company.
- Are you selling a book or product? Then use the name of the book or product in your web address.
The next few steps are going to be iterative. You are going to dream up the ideal name, only to find out that your ideal name is already someone else’s ideal name and registered. Then you’ll have to dream up a different ideal name.
Searching for your domain name
A registrar is a company that is authorized by ICANN to register domains. Once you have a few ideas for a domain name, you’ll next have to check if the domain is available. This is a bit tricky. if you search for a domain on the wrong registrar, the registrar might hijack and camp on your domain! Although no one can prove this happens, I’ve searched for names on GoDaddy, only to go back in the next day or two to find out the domain is then taken.
My recommendation is to use internic.net for domain searches. Go to the whois page on internic.net, and enter your choice of domain. For example, enter “godaddy.com”. Be sure to use the Top Level Domain nomenclature (the .com, or whatever else TLD extension you’ve decided to use).
If you receive a No Match message, that means your domain is available! If you receive anything else, that means your domain is not available and you’ll have to go back and search again.
Buying: Registering your domain
Next comes the registration process. Be careful with unscrupulous registrars who might register the domain in their own name. I’ve used several domain registrars and have not had a problem. Google is actually a domain registrar, but other than Google I don’t want to recommend any particular ones here just in case you have an issue.
Building: Setting up your web site
This part gets a little more complicated and beyond the scope of this article.
If you have special requests, or you’d like to have a domain registered and site set up and configured, please reach out to me and I’ll help you out.