How Do I Buy a Website Domain Name?
Finding an available domain name can be frustrating
Choosing a website name is not as easy as it seems it would be. First you have to decide what you want your website to be about - then you have the daunting task of trying to find an available domain name - which can be an exercise in pure frustration. I recently found that out through trial and error and what NOT to do when choosing a name. In the spirit of sharing I humbly I offer some tips here about choosing your own domain website name.
Although my background is in small business,marketing,sales and graphic design, I am fairly new to web development. This year I have decided to "go back to school" and pursue learning as much as I can about SEO, keyword research and mastering WordPress. My goal is to take my online writing to another level - namely $100 a day, which I plan to do through my own websites, HubPages and a couple other sites I am just "dabbling in" at the moment - Wizzley, the SF Examiner and another site that I have to signed up to blog for - The Everyday Christian. HubPages remains my main writers platform. It is here that I have put in my dues learning many of the ropes, thanks to the support and awesome Internet knowledge of many of my hubber friends and fans.
What website domain name should you choose?
www.GranniesGreenLiving.com - my first "real" website
Although I have bought domain names in the past and hosted them at Hostgator and GoDaddy, I never really took web development seriously, hence made no money at my own sites. You can read about this part of my writing career here at HubPages : A Dummies Guide to Building Your Own Website. One of the things that I found when choosing a domain name was that it was very difficult to find the domain name I wanted - so I ended up having to change or modify the name in some way.
I will use my 7 websites that I am now building as examples:
My first website was www.GranniesGreenLiving.com, which I must say is quite catchy. It's cute, perky and reflects who I am and what it is important to me. This name was NOT the original one I wanted though - and through much trial and error I finally found a domain name available that would fit what I wanted to do (Yes I AM a granny, Yes I do love everything to do with green (including gardening) and Yes I DO try to incorporate green living into my everyday life) So for me the name absolutely works. I plan to post helpful tips and stories about green living, and focus on green products on this site.
When choosing a name I think it's very important to choose something that's at least a little memorable, perhaps even quirky, so that you give your readers something to remember you by!
(and BTW - I had stopped paying hosting fees for www.granniesgreenliving.com at one point, lost the domain name, was lucky to get it back so I'm back to square one at re-building the site again. Like I said, trial and error. I was just really lucky no one snatched up the domain name when I let it expire.)
Buy buy buy your own name!
Another example is my name Dorsi. I have actually started to build a brand around my name and unfortunately, www.dorsi.com belongs to someone else and I'm NOT going to pay them $1,000 for use of my first name (yes I checked on how much they wanted for it) So instead I bought my full name Dorsi Diaz and now have www.DorsiDiaz.com as my own. This website will be just for me to fully engage the creative part of myself ( I am an artist and photographer too) My own name will be just for me and what I like - after all - it's me! I will monetize it but it will be based on things that I like and recommend - not random affiliate links or products.
I would highly recommend to EVERYONE to buy your own name, and even buy your kids websites names, even if you don't do anything with them at first. You would hate to find out that your own name is not available down the road and WHO KNOWS? - you may be next Steve Jobs,Warren Buffet or Mark Twain and will want your own website name! If you have a very common name, try putting your middle name in it to secure your website (And BTW, I always try to get the dot.com name - I don't care how many other extensions they have come out with, dot.com is still the way to go) Example being, how many websites do you remember by their .biz or .info extensions? And when buying your name buy it through someone like GoDaddy. I had a bad experience with "buying" my domain name through VistaPrint only to have it held hostage for over 2 years (yes that really happened)
What is your site about? Does your website name reflect that?
So you really need to figure out too what IT IS that you want to do with your website when choosing a name. My other sites that are still in the building stages are www.dollarsofhope.com and www.deardorsi.com. My www.DollarsOfHope.com website will be for chronicling my online earning and learning adventures (I plan to take my current average $600 a month to $3,000 - so this will be where I can talk to other aspiring writers and web developers about making money on their sites) I also have www.DollarsOfHope.org in case I start a small non-profit helping aspiring writers - and I'm currently changing up that site to another domain.
The www.DearDorsi.com site will be for my social networking/charity/education type of work, where I will answer questions (I am getting so many questions asked of me now on various topics that I need a dedicated place to do this) Kind of like a Dear Abby column for those of you that remember that wonderful columnist.
So what I am trying to say here is don't be afraid to '"think out of the box" when choosing your website name - hey you might just be the next "Dear Abby" (or the "Dear Dorsi" in my case)
10 Tips for choosing a domain name
- Make it a dot-com
- Short and easy to spell
- Company names and brand names
- Keywords and household words
- Personal names
- Be defensive with misspellings
- Protect your brand with other extensions
- Don’t forget mobile
- Avoid long hyphenated URLs
Register domains for as long as possible
Using websites to help our community
One of my other sites that I have had up for about a year now iswww.DollarsOfHelp.org (and www.DollarsofHelp.com) This name was chosen to be the catalyst for a new resource center at my home church The Community Church of Hayward. This idea has been evolving over a period of time and although the site is slightly generic ( I used GoDaddy website builder to build this site), it has potential and will eventually be a internet bridge between our church and our community (yes I know I have alot of irons in the fire but that's just me) My pastor has given me office space to set up the resource center - and Dollars of Help will be crafted around the goal of funding the center and providing help,resources and money to our local community.
When choosing this name I had to go through ALOT to finally find a name that fit what I wanted to do - providing dollars of help back into our community. This website name I love. It's perfect for what I am trying to do - but finding an available name took alot of time and effort!
Don't get carried away buying domain names!
Now I'm a little bit of an odd duck in that I am both right and left brain balanced, but sometimes the creative part of my brain takes over the other side so all reason flies out the window. I found that buying website domain names can be sort of addicting, so I had to stop and think about, "How am I going to really use this site and will I really monetize it or just pay for the domain renewal every year?" It can be quite easy to just buy a bunch of names but are you going to do something with them? (unless you are in the business of buying and selling domain names but that's a whole other hub) So point being that I have now purchased a total of 7 sites and I will now stop from buying anymore because I know these 7 are going to keep me extremely busy.
Now if I go into the business of buying and selling domain names (which I wouldn't be surprised if I did at some point) I'll make sure I write another hub about that! I've always had an entrepreneurial spirit so learning new things and monetizing them are quite interesting to me (not to mention the money does help) For now though my focus is on building and developing my own websites, not buying or selling them.
I hope this hub has helped you and gave you some food for thought on choosing a domain name for your website. Feel free to shoot me any questions in the comment box below!
(Dorsi Diaz is a freelance writer and publisher on the Internet)