Words of Mouse

Building a Writer’s Web Site Series: How to Choose a Domain Name

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This is the first post in a series of what will be dozens of posts designed to help you build a writer’s Web site from the ground up. We’ll talk about how to design your site to meet the needs of potential clients (instead of your own needs); how to follow the principles of good design and avoid common Web design mistakes; how to make your site more accessible for people with disabilities (particularly vision problems); and how to use your site as a marketing tool. If you don’t have a writer’s Web site or you’d like to give yours a makeover, join me as I build my own writer’s Web site step by step.

Building Your Writer’s Web Site: Choosing a Domain Name

The very first thing you need to do when building a writer’s Web site is purchase your own domain name. It’s very tempting to use a free Web hosting service, but purchasing your own domain gives you much more control over your site. In fact, the benefits of having your own domain name far outweigh the cost of paying a few dollars a year to register the domain. Some of the benefits of having your own domain name include the following:

  • Increased control over the advertising that appears (or doesn’t appear) on your pages
  • Opportunity to build your own personal brand
  • More control over how your graphics and content appear to visitors
  • Ability to choose your own Web hosting firm
  • Improved search engine rankings, if chosen carefully

Tip: Don’t let concerns about coding, technical issues, and site function turn you away from buying your own domain name.  Even when you buy your own domain name, you can still use templates and other easy Web publishing tools that make building your site as easy as possible.

Now that you’ve decided to purchase your own domain name (you have, haven’t you?), it’s time to learn how to choose the best domain name for your site.

Tips for Choosing a Domain Name

  • Don’t use your name as your domain name; instead, use words related to your business so that people can find you when using the search engines.
  • Keep your domain name as short as possible.
  • Avoid using clever spellings or misspelled keywords; it will make it difficult for people to find your site.
  • Use a .com domain extension instead of .net, .org, .biz or other extensions.

Purchasing a Domain Name

Once you’ve decided on a domain name, you must find out if it is available, and then register it for a period of one year or more.  I recommend Name.com for domain name registration, as they are very inexpensive and have provided me with good customer service.  Go to their site and you will be able to check on the availability of your domain name right from the home page.  Enter your desired domain name (e.g. http://www.copywriter) in the text area and then check off your desired extension (.com).  Click on “check availability” and you’ll be able to find out if the domain is available to be registered.  If it’s not, continue trying new domain names until you find one that is available.  If it is, you can make your purchase.

When registering the domain, you will be asked for your contact and billing information.  Be sure to give an e-mail address that is checked frequently, as they may send you important information about your domain name.  You may register your domain name for one year or more and you can also choose to make your registration information private.  Once you have filled out all of this information, you can submit your registration.  Keep an eye on your e-mail for notices that require you to confirm your account or address.  Once you’ve completed all of these steps, you’ll be the proud owner of your very own domain name.

How to Choose a Domain Name: Quick Review

  1. Choose keywords related to your business and come up with several potential domain names.
  2. Avoid using long domain names or domain names that use misspellings or clever spellings.
  3. Check to be sure your domain name is available.
  4. Register your domain name for your desired period of time.
  5. Check your e-mail to be sure you do not need to take any further action.

Next Step: Choosing a Web Host

In the next post in this series, we’ll talk about how to choose a Web host so you can start using your domain name.  In the meantime, how many of you have your own domain names?  If you’re nervous about getting your own domain, what fears are holding you back from taking the leap?  Are there any domain research or registration tools you would recommend?

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Written by lzaykoski

October 14, 2008 at 9:42 pm

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