A new website, a new domain?
If you’re planning to build a website of your own, whether it is to sell a product, promote a business, or even just post your general thoughts and stories (a blog) then it’s an excellent idea to start out straight away by registering your own domain name. Whilst there are many ways to have a website online for absolutely no cost at all, you won’t own it and you won’t be able to move it to another webhost if you want to. Buying a domain name and web hosting is best no matter what type of website you wish to make, the benefits this will provide will far outweigh the cost.
So what exactly is a domain name?
A domain name is like your home on the internet – it’s an address which people can visit to view your website, much like you would tell someone your home address to visit you, you tell them your web address – your domain name, to visit your website. A domain name is that series of letters and dots you see at the top of your browser when you visit a website, such as right now on this website, the domain name is swra.ie you may have got here by searching on another website such as google.com – google’s main domain name.
Whilst your domain name can be anything, completely random letters and numbers, it is best to make it relevant to your website, that way people will know what your website is about just by glancing at the domain name.
So what should you do before purchasing a domain name?
Well – because domain names and the internet have been around for such a long time, the chances are, the domain name you want to register is likely to already be taken. You’re going to have to do some research and try to find a domain name which suits your needs, is available for registration, and is still relevant to your website – whilst this might seem like a near impossible task, it certainly isn’t. Try to avoid hyphens and numbers if possible as this can make it harder for people to type, and can also cause confusion when you are telling a friend or family what your domain name is – we’ve seen people type the word “hyphen” instead of simply using “-” which obviously sends them to the wrong (usually non existant) website.
Don’t despair if you can’t find an unregistered domain name that suits your needs though, in this unlikely case, you can then look at recently expired domains or domain names which are expiring soon. These are domain names which were previously owned by someone else and they have forgotten or chosen not to pay the domain name renewal fees.
When choosing a domain name, there are many different extensions to choose from – from .com to .org, .net to .biz, or a country specific extension such as .ca for canada or .co.uk for the uk. Did you know that .org was originally intended for non profit organisations to use, as they could be instantly recognised by the domain extension – this was not an enforced requirement however, and .org is used for many different types of websites now, whether for profit or not.
Once you’ve found a domain name you wish to purchase, it’s time to register – you can use any registrar you want, whether you select based on price or reputation, it doesn’t matter too much. For a new or fully expired domain name you can expect to pay anything from 5 to 15 dollars, whilst an expiring domain name at auction could cost you anything from 10 to thousands, depending on the value of the domain, and the amount of people bidding against you.