This article explains comprehensively how to choose and register a perfect domain name for your online presence.
Domain name and hosting are very important for your blog and that is why every website or blog must have one.
Only if you blog on blogger.com or wordpress.com platform that you won’t need to host your blog.
In this post, we will discuss “how to choose a domain name for your blog”, and “How to choose a web host for your blog”.
A domain name is like your home address where people find your home or company on the world wide web.
You must have the right address to direct your readers to, making wrong decisions when choosing a domain name may land you into serious trouble.
You need to be careful when choosing a hosting plan and hosting registrar for your blog too.
It is even more dangerous than the domain name. If anything goes wrong with your hosting all your contents may be deleted and your blog won’t be reachable.
The hosting is just like a house, when anything goes wrong with the land a house is built on then the house fall.
However, for better understanding, we need to define some terms relating to hosting and domain name before we go on with the factors.
Buying a domain name is not a difficult task, but what seems complicated is choosing the right domain name and registering with the right domain provider.
If you end up picking the wrong domain name or buying your domain from the wrong domain registrar, it may negatively affect your online business.
What is web hosting and how does it work?
A web hosting is a type of internet hosting that allows your website (blog) to be accessible on the World Wide Web i.e. without a host your website(blog) cannot be found on the internet.
On the other hand, a web hosting company is a business that provides the services needed for a website (blog) to be viewed on the internet which means all the contents saved on your blog will stored on the server of your web hosting company.
What is a domain name?
A domain name is a unique identifier for all websites that humans can read such as twitter.com, and facebook.com, which allow people to navigate WebPages easily.
They are formed by the rules and procedures of the DNS.
Domain names are informed of an IP address to a computer but readable to man in form of letters or words.
Definitions related to hosting and domain name
- TLD: Top-level domain like .com .org
- ccTLD: Country top-level domain name like .ng .co.za
- Domain management system(DNS): They are regarded as an internet phonebook and it is the service that translates a domain name (google.com) to IP address(55.44.368) to make it easier for computers to read.
- FTP: An acronym for file transfer protocol, they are used for transferring files on the internet, with it you can send and transfer files from a remote server.
- Mailing list : It enables a blogger to send an email message to all his readers.
- Softaculous: The majority of all hosting providers have this, it enables you to install blogging platforms or CMS like WordPress, and Drupal with a single click.
- Uptime: The total time kept for record purpose when there is no interruption of server i.e. when websites(blogs) hosted experience great uptime, they never go offline. Have you ever been to facebook.com and their website is down? We can say they have great uptime.
How to search for a domain name to use on your blog
Checking for domain name availability is very essential for you to know the next step to take, to search for a domain name you can just go to any hosting company and search for it if it is available.
One main thing I suggest you do is to search for an expired domain name with high domain authority and many backlinks already.
It will be beneficial for your SEO ranking since you won’t have to start from 0 DA again but make sure to check if it was not banned by Google Adsense or Google search engine.
To search for a domain with high authority, we recommend expireddomains.net.
To check if the domain was not banned by Google use this tool.
Factors to consider when choosing a domain name
1. Get the one you can afford
Money speaks everywhere and fingers are not equal, you may not have the money to buy TLD like .net, .ng but you can always go for cheaper ones like .com, .co.uk, .com.ng, .co.uk.
Another issue is that you may have the money to buy a domain name like .net this year but to renew it next year might be a hurdle, cut the cloth according to your size.
However, if you have the money to buy a .com don’t buy a .com.ng domain name because it is available and cheap! You will regret it later.
Another mistake people do make when buying a domain name is that, let’s say for example they buy techorganism-35ebc4.ingress-florina.ewp.live, they will also buy techorganism-35ebc4.ingress-florina.ewp.live.ng, techorganism.net techorganism.tv, techorganism.blog, techorganism.fm, and the rest because they think their competitors will buy It and steal their traffic.
You may regret it the following year because you may not be able to afford it again.
You can’t leave it because you will lose traffic and SEO ranking, anyone that buys the domain name next year may use it to blackmail your blog.
You won’t have a particular domain you are known for and your blog won’t be brand-able
Am not saying you should not register them but if you can handle the cons then you are good to go. It is better to choose a maximum of two.
2. Make the domain name short and memorable
Buying a short domain name is very essential when choosing a domain name, top websites like Quora.com, Google.com, and twitter.com register domain names that are short and easy to remember and they are examples of good domain names.
Just imagine that facebook.com bought Faceyourstudybook.com in 2005, do you think they will be successful? Personally, I don’t think so.
In addition, don’t buy a longer domain name because the shorter ones are no longer available.
You can always twist the name to shorten It, the best domain name length practice is a maximum of 12-15 words.
For example, if you want to blog on fashion, you want to buy fashion.com but it is not available, you can go for fashionblog.com or fashiontips.com and if those references are not available you will keep twisting till you get the domain name of your choice.
The shorter a domain name is, the easier it will be for your readers to remember
3. Avoid the plural of any domain name
So because you searched for tech.com and it is not available, you decided to go for techs.com, you will soon feel the heat don’t worry.
Even if you have committed readers, if the person on tech.com offers more than you do they will still go, at times you will also lose your direct traffic to tech.com.
The reason is that they won’t see the “S” and even if they do they can easily forget it.
Instead of adding “S”, twist the domain name further by adding an enticing suffix or prefix.
The only reason why you should consider adding a plural is when the plural constructs the word grammatically like Fashiongists.com.
A popular blogger in Nigeria Linda ikeji got punished for this too, she bought lindaikejisblog.com because lindaikejiblog.com was taken and she had to pay a fortune to get it back when it mattered most.
It would not have happened if she had twisted the domain further to something like ikejilinda.com etc.
4. You can always buy a domain name from an existing owner if it is for sale
Some people just hoard domain names to sell to others while some don’t have an interest in the domain name again so they want to sell.
If you have interest in a domain name and it is for sale, you can contact the existing owner to buy but it will be very costly.
Another hint is that you can wait for it to expire by using whois to check the date it will expire. If the date is very close you can wait since there are many possibilities that the owner would not renew it.
Note: The expiry date you see there does not mean the blog will be available for sale on that date, some domain registrars do give their customers 1 month and above to change their mind so you have to be calm or buy.
5. Don’t use your name! You may consider selling it in the future since it is a blog
Many people do use their name as the domain name for their blog because they don’t know the cons of it, they want to increase their recognition online.
The only acceptable reason for you to put your name as a domain name is if you are a celebrity or if you add your name to your niche as a suffix or prefix e.g. davidautos, kunletech, etc.
Don’t just choose something by checking its pros, compare the cons of choosing your name as your domain name:
- The domain name does not explain what you do on your blog
- Hard to sell if you want to sell it in future
- Usually long and hard to pronounce
- Your blog would be considered a joke by first-time readers since it doesn’t sound professional.
6. Make it Niche rich
If you don’t know what a niche is, you can read about the definition of niche and top niches you can blog on here.
Adding the niche you want to blog on to your domain name is very essential, it improves your SEO ranking!
For example, if you want to blog about Fashion, your domain name should be: Fashiongists.com, Fashion.com, etc. it will also make more sense to your readers.
7. Make sure the domain name doesn’t close up with your competitors
I personally have made this mistake before and that is why am advising you now.
Don’t go for Kollins.com instead of Collins.com or 9janews.com instead of naijanews.com, the spelling will be hard for your readers and they may be trapped by your competitor using the domain with correct spelling.
Another phase of this is those that go for the .com.ng extension instead of .com, the person using the .com will surely get some of your traffic so choose wisely.
8. Don’t add numbers or special characters, please! It is irritating and hard to remember
This is the worst scenario, adding a hyphen (-), underscore (_) or full stop (.) between your domain name because the one without the special characters is not available.
For example, going for naira-joke instead of nairajoke, if you tell anyone naira-joke offline they will easily fall for nairajoke, and they will misplace the hyphen.
9. Don’t buy illegal domain names
There are some domain names that are not meant to be used by a private entity like .GOV, .GOV.NG, .EDU.
If you buy these domain names, your blog may get terminated later on because it is not meant for personal use, it may even land you in jail if care is not taken.
Between, do you know that adding illegal keywords to your domain name may get your domain name banned and removed?
For example, in Nigeria, it is illegal to include Jamb in your domain? This is because jamb is a governmental organization.
10. Don’t tell your friends until you buy it
Lastly, don’t inform your friends about the domain name you want to buy or post it online, fraudsters will buy it and hope to sell it to you at prices you can’t afford.
I’ve witnessed a case like this before and that is why you will see business organizations buying the domain name of their proposed business and creating social media accounts for it before they uncover the name.
10. Don’t waste time! Act fast before others beat you to it
Don’t procrastinate buying your desired domain if it is available, it will be chosen if you waste time.
Thousands buy domain names every year and who knows One of them may buy the one you propose to buy before you take any action.
Even if you are not starting your blog yet just buy it to be on the safer side.
Factors to consider when choosing a hosting registrar and hosting plan
Money! Money! And Money
Many average bloggers can’t afford an expensive hosting plan, since your blog is new you can just go for the medium plan which is around $20-$30 depending on your hosting plan.
Bandwidth size and disks space
The bandwidth size and disk space you will get for a hosting package are what you must consider as this will determine the number of contents you can store on your blog.
Choosing a cheap plan will frustrate you later on as you may not be able to add more posts, or images if you choose a cheap hosting plan.
In addition, if you begin to start getting a whole lot of traffic, your blog will go off due to limited bandwidth storage if you choose a cheap hosting package.
How long has the registrar or hosting company been in business and how reliable they are?
Experience matters a lot, I don’t recommend new hosting companies for blogs that have gained a reasonable amount of audience.
But if you want to start a new blog you can still use a new hosting company since you are both new but make sure they are reliable and at least you will help them to improve.
There are many times you will need your registrar’s attention in a matter of minutes to get your blog back into action when your blog goes down.
You can’t be always perfect and you need someone to guide you, this is where your hosting customer service comes in.
Anything related to your control panel will be attended to by these sets of people but what if the customer service of the hosting company you plan to use takes time to reply to the message?
Then am afraid your blog may be down for days, that is why you should make research before you choose.
Steps to Choose and Register a Domain Name
1. Think of a domain name you need
Everyone’s need for a particular domain name may differ, this is due to choice, name or type, or of business, you want to use the domain name for.
Most people want their domain name to bear the same name as their business.
Bloggers most will want their domain name to explain what their blog niche is all about.
The domain name does not matter that much as long as it can easily be remembered. Therefore choose wisely.
Looking around the internet you will find lots of successful online businesses with domain names people will not like to own ab-initio.
The truth remains that even if your domain does not really sound good in the ear, your business will make it popular as long as you are doing the right thing.
2. Search for the availability of that domain name you need
Use the box below to check for available domain names, to see if your supposed domain name is available, don’t expect it to be available, there are over 300 million domain names in the world, and the chance of your domain being available will be slim.
If it’s available to jump to step 5, else, move to the next step.
3. Change your domain name extension
Has your supposed domain name been taken?
Don’t worry! You still have options – if you must stick to that domain name.
Most people will prefer the “.com” domain extension, but once your domain name choice and extension had already been taken you may consider choosing another extension – to see if it’s available.
You have option of .net, .org, .info, .biz, .com.ng (only for Nigerians), .com.gh (for Ghanaians) and so many more options.
If your domain is available jump to step 5, else move to the next step.
4. Tweak your domain name
If step 3 failed, you would have to consider changing your domain name to something else which will suit your need.
The option you have at this point is to tweak to an available domain name. You may use the box below to check domain availability while tweaking and choosing one.
5. Choose a good domain provider
I have done this step for you. I recommend you use Bluehost.com; this is because WordPress recommends them. Also, they are highly affordable with excellent customer support to assist all their customers once an issue arises.
For Nigerians who wish to buy their domain name in local currency and those who choose domain extensions like “.ng” or “.com.ng”
I recommend you use either whogohost.com or qservers.net I have tried them – their domains are affordable, and they have good customer support too.
Frequently Asked Questions about hosting and Domain name
Will I renew the domain name and hosting every year?
Of course yes! You will renew your domain name and hosting every year, the only case when you won’t is when you pay for 2-5 years at once.
And you need to be cautious when you buy cheap domain names, you may be charged 5X the normal price when you want to renew the domain name you bought at a cheaper rate.
What are the differences between hosting and domain name?
They are different and they serve different purposes. There is no way you can host your blog without a domain name but you can buy a domain name without hosting.
Hosting is just like buying space on the internet for you to store your contents why a domain name is an address that points them to your contents
Can you just buy a domain name without hosting?
Yes, you can buy a domain name without hosting, it is just like buying a plot of land without building anything on it.
You may decide to build something on it late. The domain name will be vacant with no content or files.
However, with a blogger blog hosting is free so you can just buy a domain name only from a registrar and connect it to your blogger blog
How much is the domain name and hosting?
Depending on the hosting plan and TLD you want to buy, both can sum up to $41 per year which is #15,000 for a .com domain name and a moderate hosting package if you want to create the blog yourself.
Can I change my domain name later on in the future?
Yes, you can change it later but I must confess that it won’t be as easy as you think, I’ve done this before and it is something you can suffer for years if care is not taken.
Please register the domain name of your choice now; changing it the following year will damage your blog traffic and SEO ranking no matter the measures you take.
For how long can I register a domain name and hosting?
This may vary depending on the domain registerer and hosting company. Domain names are bought on a yearly basis, you may choose to purchase multiple years at a go.
For the hosting, some hosting companies allow monthly subscriptions, while some stick only on yearly basis. It all depends on the hosting you are choosing.
Can I have more than one domain name for my blog?
Personally, I will recommend a maximum of two domain names, one will be your primary domain and the other(s) will be redirected to it.
It is not compulsory anyway to have two domains, I will only choose for SEO purposes.
Do I need to have a domain name before I start a blog?
As for wordpress.org yes! Since you will need to host your blog, you will need to buy a domain name.
If you want to blog on blogger, you can still use a sub-domain name which is not advisable but you can still use it before you gain an audience, when you gain an audience you can buy a domain name.
Can two websites have the same domain name?
NO!! It is not possible for two websites to have the same domain name; the worst that can happen is mixing them with numbers like 9jablog.com and naijablog.com.
I hope with the factors we listed in choosing a domain name and web hosting company, you must have made up your mind on the domain name and hosting company you want to use.
Some factors that will be mentioned here may not be necessary if you are hosting your blog with blogger.com or wordpress.com which is free but won’t give you the best to boost your blogging career.
I hope the article was sufficient enough to guide you in choosing that domain name that will satisfy your online need.