Published on the WIXBlog Site by Dana Meir, Design Expert & Writer
Having a beautiful website with all the trendiest design features, from parallax scrolling to fullscreen videos, is an accomplishment in and of itself. But these days, it’s just not enough. In order to stand out from the crowd and gain an advantage over your competition, you need to give your website a professional edge.
How? One way is by investing in a domain name. It’s a small step, yet can make a big difference in establishing your brand as an authority in your field and gaining more exposure. Here’s everything you need to know about how to register a domain name for your website.
What is a domain name?
A domain name is essentially the address through which your audience can find your website online. It’s unique to your website, which means that if your domain name happens to be wix.com, there won’t be any other sites with the exact same name. A domain name consists of the SLD (Second Level Domain), which is the name of your website (for example Wix), plus the TLD (Top Level Domain), also known as the suffix or extension (for example “.com”).
The extension is the end of your domain name. Browsing around the web, you’ll have spotted different types of extensions. The most common is “.com” but there are many others, like “.info,” “.org” and “.biz.” You can also pick a local extension that gives your audience a clue as to where your business is located, for example “.de” for companies based in Germany or “.fr” for France. For more information, check out this full list of available domain extensions.
How important is your domain name?
This question is essentially like asking whether you want more exposure for your business. And if by chance the answer is yes, then registering a domain name is the way to go. Having your own domain name can benefit your website and business in a number of ways:
Make the best first impression. In this digital world, your website will often be the first time a potential customer is exposed to your business. A personalized domain name will help your audience perceive you as a professional in your field. You will seem more credible, reliable and authoritative.
Build a solid brand. Just like your marketing materials, such as your logo design and social media strategy, treat your domain name as a branding opportunity. You domain name can help enhance your brand recognition if it’s catchy, memorable and in tune with the rest of your company’s assets.
Improve your brand’s SEO potential. While it’s not a direct ranking factor, a good domain name can positively affect your site’s SEO (a.k.a. Search Engine Optimization). Whether you go for a branded domain name or one that includes a keyword, choosing a unique and memorable domain name is the right way to go.
How to register your domain name
Let’s go! The process of registering your domain name is simpler than you may expect. Here’s how:
01. Choose your domain name
There are a number of factors to take into consideration when finding the right domain name for your site. Firstly, you’ll want a name that reflects your brand identity, remaining aligned with the tone of your website design, logo and other assets. Stick to a name that is short and catchy, so that people will be able to remember it easily, as well as type it directly into their browser’s address bar.
To improve your SEO efforts, your domain name can incorporate a keyword that is associated with your brand. For example, an illustrator may opt for their own name plus the word “illustration,” or a bakery called Delicious might go for “deliciousbakery.com.”
Once you’re ready, create a shortlist of potential names. You’ll want a few options, as it’s possible that some of them will already be taken by other websites.
Head over here for a more in-depth explanation on how to choose a domain name.
02. Check the availability of your domain name
It’s now time to verify whether your top domain name choice is available for you to use. There are many tools out there, for example this powerful domain name search. It enables you to try out an unlimited number of options for free. If your desired name is unavailable, it will come up with additional ideas so you can play around with alternatives until you find the perfect one.
Another good tip for if your domain name is already taken, is to try out your domain with different extensions - likelihoods are you’ll find an available option that way. Additionally, you can add a keyword to your domain name, or opt for an abbreviated version of your business name. (And if you don't have a name for your business yet, claim yours with the Wix Business Name Generator.)
Going back to the previous example, if the bakery’s preferred name choice is taken, they could try switching their extension to a local one, swapping around the words, or adding their location in the name itself. For example, “deliciousbakerylondon.com” or “bakerydelicious.co.uk.”
03. Pick your registrar
Now that you have a domain name that you’re satisfied with and is available for use, it’s time to choose an accredited registrar through which you’ll register your domain. A registrar is a company that does all the “paperwork” for you, managing the full process of the reservation and protection of your name online. While there is an organization that centralizes everything to do with domain names (the ICANN, a.k.a. Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), a registrar will deal with them on your behalf, making your life that little bit simpler.
There are a few registrars you can go for. We recommend Wix.com, as it’s a web hosting service, as well as a registrar. This means that you can enjoy the best of both worlds, using the platform to create a website and purchase a unique domain - all under one roof. Additionally, most of Wix’s Premium Plans offer a free domain for the first year. Alternative registrars include GoDaddy, Domain.com and NameCheap amongst others. The different options vary in pricing. You can read more about how much a domain name costs over here.
04. Register your domain
Last but not least, here are the steps for registering your domain via Wix:
Head over to Wix’s domain name search page.
Type in your preferred domain name and click ‘Search’.
If your name is available - you’re in luck! Click ‘Get It’ to proceed. If not, browse the additional ideas that Wix offers you, or type another option into the search bar. Once you’ve found a domain name that you like and suits your company’s needs, click ‘Get It’.
Next, decide whether you’d like to register for one, two or three years. A longer registration period will help you save money over time, so you may want to consider that. Once you’ve chosen, click ‘Continue’.
Add all the relevant information into the online form and continue to check-out. That’s it - you’re done!
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