May 24, 2018 How to Register a Website Domain Name at GoDaddy.com
The very first step in launching your website or blog is registering/buying a website domain name (i.e. acmecompany.com). This is what people type into their browser’s address bar to find your website.
There are countless domain registrars out there. These are websites where you can go and buy your domain. Some popular ones are GoDaddy, Network Solutions, and Name Cheap. I’ve always used GoDaddy but you can use whatever company you like.
Registering a domain is a pretty easy and straightforward process but there are some important things to keep in mind:
- The standard is still domains ending in .com. When people think of a website, they usually assume the domain ends in .com. I am starting to see more variations though. GoDaddy, for example, registers domains ending in .tv, .life, , shop, .tips, .xyz and more. Other registrars have additional options too. It’s okay to be creative but it’s important to remember your customers’ experience.
- Consider the competition. Be careful to not register a domain name that could cause confusion between you and another company (especially a competitor). For example, let’s say you want acmestore.com but there’s a very similar company at acmestores.com. You wouldn’t want a potential customer accidentally buying from your competitor instead of you.
- Pick something short and memorable. Make it easy on your customers to remember your website address. There’s a good chance they’re going to guess and you don’t want them ending up on the wrong website.
- Avoid abbreviations if possible, especially ones that aren’t easily understood. For example, I could see someone abbreviating Kentucky as “KY” in a domain name but one time I saw a commercial truck with something like companynamekyana.com on the side of it. I live in Kentucky close to Indiana and they refer to this area as “Kentuckiana.” “Kyana” is not a standard abbreviation. I guess I figured out what it was supposed to be but I’m not sure that the average person would recall that domain later (unless you’re me writing a blog post about it).
- If a domain is owned by someone else, you might still be able to buy it. Sometimes, that domain will be listed on the domain registrar’s site as being for sale at a higher price with information on how to buy it. GoDaddy offers a service where you can pay $70 and 20% of the final price if they’re able to acquire the domain for you.
- Buy variations of your domain if needed. Let’s say that you have a company name that’s commonly misspelled. It’s a good idea to buy that version of your domain too and have it redirect to your website. You could also buy the .net, .org and other variations too if you wanted.
- You own the domain as long as you pay to renew it. If you’re buying a domain name for your business, you might want to register it for 2-5 years to make sure it’s locked up. You can also set the domain to auto renew so that your domain registrar will automatically renew the domain and charge your credit card. When a domain expires, your registrar will most likely send you a gazillion reminder emails. Once you let it expire, you risk losing it or having to pay more money to get it back.
- Don’t let someone else register your domains through their account. This includes family, friends or a website developer that you’re working with. You want to maintain ownership of your domains and not count on someone else that you may or may not work with in the future. I’ve seen things go south before where companies had to take legal action to get their domains back. You don’t want to do deal with that.
- Watch for fake renewal invoices that come through the mail. Having owned domain names for many years, I’ve seen these “invoices” come in the mail asking me to renew a one of domain names. These come from other companies that are trying to get me to switch over to their services. They are pretty deceptive and usually a lot more expensive.
Here’s a quick video I made explaining how to register a domain name at GoDaddy.com. This experience is pretty similar across all domain registrars. It’s just important to pay attention to what you’re buying. Many registrars will try to upsell various services to you like privacy protection (protects your name and contact information in a WHOIS search) or a website builder tool. Make sure none of these options are selected unless you really want them.
If you have questions about anything, please send them to me through my contact form.