Learning how to purchase a domain name can seem daunting when you’re just starting out as an entrepreneur. There are a lot of questions you have to ask yourself when it comes to buying a domain name or buying a URL.
How to Purchase a Domain Name: Choosing a Name
First things first: a domain and a URL are the same thing. They represent the common name that will be given to your website’s IP address to make it recognizable and easy to navigate to. These traits are important to keep in mind when you go searching for the domain name you’re going to purchase: common name that’s easy and recognizable. You never want to purchase a domain name that is complicated for your users to remember, or might cause them to end up on someone else’s site.
I always recommend my clients purchase a domain name with the .com suffix unless they have a strategic reason to do otherwise. Many folx will switch to .net (or worse, .org) if the .com version of their domain is already taken, but in this situation I always recommend reworking the URL you want to purchase, so that it is unique to your business.
If a potential client tries to find you and types in the common yoururl.com they may end up on another site that either distracts them from their initial search or, even worse, lands them on a site that can take care of the needs they were searching you out for.
So, when you purchase a domain or buy a URL it’s super important to remember that you want a unique name that helps people find you on the internet.
If you’re just starting out and don’t have an established name you can use a tool like Lean Domain Search to help come up with an available URL that you can purchase for your business. Lean Domain Search will also let you know if the handle is available on Twitter, and I highly recommend checking on Facebook and Instagram, and potentially even Acuity or Calendly (scheduling apps) so that you know for certain you’ll be able to keep the name consistent across all the online and social channels.
How to Purchase a Domain Name: Where to Buy
There are many sites you can use to purchase your domain name. I don’t have a very specific preference but there are two pieces of advice I like to give my clients:
- Don’t use GoDaddy. The reasons are numerous, really. I know they’re popular and well known but their backend isn’t user friendly and their support is not my favorite. Just trust me on this one, don’t use GoDaddy.
- Many in the industry consider it best practice to keep your purchased domain name and your website hosting separate. The caveat here is that sometimes it’s easiest for my clients (and potentially for you) to keep everything in one place for ease of access. I do have plenty of clients whose URLs and hosting are with the same provider and I don’t know any one whose ever had an issue.
How to Purchase a Domain Name: Other Things to Consider
When you’re ready to purchase a domain name it’s important to purchase it quickly after searching for it. What many people don’t know about purchasing a domain name is that there are sharks out there who will purchase domain names that have been searched for — so today they may cost $17 annually but tomorrow when you come back to purchase the domain you’re dealing with a reseller who has the ability to 5x, 10x or even 20x the price because they know you want to purchase it.
I mentioned it above — but it’s so important to search out your domain name across social channels to make sure it’s available. If the domain you’re using doesn’t match up with handles on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Calendly, or any of the other places you need to consistently use your name, you risk losing potential clients who end up one someone else’s page when they search for you.
What Comes Next
Purchasing a domain name is just the beginning of your journey with building a strategic website that works for you and your business. If you’re looking for more help as you tackle this journey yourself don’t forget to download my latest resource The Ultimate List of Web Design Tools: How to Plan and Build Your First Website.
And if you’ve already download my latest resource and love what you’re seeing don’t forget to sign up for the Wandersoul Website Society waitlist — this is a membership unlike any other where you’ll gain access to expert eyes and expert advice on your designs and business, so you can streamline and scale without doing all the hard work yourself.