A domain name refers to a website address or URL that people use to find businesses and other entities on the internet. A URL typically starts with a protocol identifier (http://) followed by the name of the website and the domain suffix (.com). If you want to know how to get a domain name, read our guide below.
How to Register a Domain Name:
A domain name must be registered with a domain name registrar, such as Bluehost or GoDaddy. You can choose to purchase just a domain name, or one with web hosting from your service provider. Most web hosting packages come with a free domain name.
When choosing a domain name, make sure that it is:
- Easy to remember.
- Easy to pronounce.
- Describes your business concept and/or products or services.
- Concise (not longer than 14 characters).
- Unique and recognizable from your competitors.
1. Check if your domain name is available.
Before you settle on a domain name for your business, you will need to do a search to see if it is available. Go to domains.google. and type your domain name into the search bar. A list of results will pop up showing you a list of available suffixes. It will also tell you if your preferred URL is available, and provide a list of alternatives.
If you own an existing business, and your name is unavailable, you can consider paying for a premium domain or opt for one with different domain extensions, e.g., business-name.biz or business-name.city.
A premium domain name is a domain that is already owned by a person or registrar and is for sale. These domain names are usually more costly than regular domain names due to their perceived higher value, and typically costs thousands of dollars.
2. Register your domain name with an ICANN-accredited registrar.
ICANN, which stands for Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, is an official organization that regulates the domain name market.
Although unapproved registrars can sell domain names, it is safer to register your domain name with an accredited provider. You can find a list of accredited domain name registrars here.
Registering a Domain Name:
- Go to your chosen domain name registrar or web hosting service.
- Enter your chosen name into the domain name search bar to see if it is available.
- If it is, choose a suffix, e.g., .com, .net, .org.
- Pay the registration fee, and your domain name should be active within 24-48 hours.
Why a Domain Name is Important:
1. A domain name lends your business credibility.
Having a website gives your business a sense of professionalism and encourages your customers to trust you. Research has shown that customers are more likely to buy products and services from a company that has a website than from one that does not.
2. A domain name helps to define your brand.
A domain name reinforces your brand, especially if it matches the name of your company. This helps to create awareness of your brand and makes it easier for customers to remember your domain name and return to your site. If you decide to transfer to a different hosting company down the line, you can take your domain name with you.
3. A domain name can attract customers.
A good domain name, coupled with SEO, helps to generate traffic to your website, which in turn helps to boost sales or increase revenue. Your domain name should be a reflection of your brand and entice customers to promote your business through word of mouth.
How to Get a Free Domain Name:
Registering a domain name for free can be done in two ways. You can either purchase a web-hosting package and get a free domain name, or you can sign up for a free hosting account with a website builder like Wordpress or Wix. Web hosting plans cost around $3.00 per month.
Bear in mind that if you use a free site builder, you will get a subdomain - a website address with your host name and business name in the same URL, e.g., yoursite.wordpress.com. This is ideal for bloggers, however established businesses and start-ups should opt for a self-hosted website with its own domain.
Best Domain Name Registrars:
- Google Domains.
Registering a Domain Name FAQs:
How much does it cost to register a domain name?
Domain names range from as little as $0.95 to $16.99 per year, depending on the registrar.
How long is a domain name valid for?
Domain names are typically valid for one to ten years, after which you will have to pay a renewal fee. The fee is usually the same amount that you paid originally.
Can I transfer my domain name from one hosting service to another?
Yes, most hosting services allow you to transfer an existing domain name for free, however be sure to check with your new host to see if there is a set-up fee. As part of ICANN's transfer policy, you may not transfer a domain name within the first 60 days of registration.
Do I own my domain name if I register it with a hosting service?
Yes, you own the rights to your domain name as long as you keep renewing it.
Can I register a domain name without a host?
Yes, you can purchase a domain name and park it until you are ready to build your website. When you are ready to build your site, you will need a hosting service to store your web files.
Are there any services that offer a free domain name registration?
Yes, there are many service providers that offer free domain names if you purchase a web hosting plan. Check out Name.com, HostGator, DreamHost, and Bluehost.