Getting and registering a fitting domain name is the first step to building a website for your successful blog, online brand, or business.
As much as this process is an essential part of the whole website building, our developers here at Start Innovation Hub, are available to make this process hassle-free for you.
However, if you’re getting started, I’ve put together this article to give you all you’d need to find and register your domain name in no time and without friction.
What is a Domain Name?
Did you know the internet is a massive network of computers? I guess you did.
What’s more interesting, though, is how each of these computers gets a unique set of numbers (similar to this: 82.567.22.5), which helps users locate it – computer IP Address.
So, this means you’d have had to memorize a unique IP address for every new website you’d like to visit.
Yeah, I know – exhausting, right?
However, there was a need to eliminate this hassle, hence domain names.
A domain name is the online identity of your website. It is the address that people enter into their browsers to visit your site. A valid example of a domain name would be starthub.com.ng.
Simply put, we could refer to your domain name as your shipping address. It always leads to one place; where you want your delivery made (your site).
Typically, your domain name is the address, while your website is the building.
How a Domain Name Works
“There is no cloud. It’s just someone else’s computer.”
Hilarious, right? Well, so it reads on a sticker on my laptop.
Remember this; Web hosting companies manage aggregates of computers referred to as Name Servers. All existing Name Servers form a vast network called the Domain Name Server (DNS).
So, when you type your web address (domain name) into your browser, you automatically send a prompt to the DNS to find the Name Server to which it is linked.
Then, another network of computers (web servers) – where your website is cached – receives your instruction, retrieves your site, and delivers it to your browser.
The Right Time to Register a Domain Name
Now, while there are no hard-and-fast rules on when is the right time to register your domain name, I must emphasize that there is a need to do that as soon as you conceive or find one.
In order words, you do not need to have a website built first or be getting started on one before you can get a domain name.
So far, there are millions of registered domain names. The most popular and vastly owned domains being the ones with the .com extension.
Also, because people find it lucrative to buy domain names with predicted relevant keywords (for sale at much higher prices in the future), you don’t want to wait until the perfect one for your business is in another’s hands.
Different Types of Domain
There are three (3) types of domain. However, there are lots of domain extensions associated with them; few are popular (like the .com), some are not as popular, while most you’ve never heard, probably.
In a nutshell, all these domain extensions allow you a lot of options. So, aside from the .com, you can have custom domain extensions that suit your business or niche.
- Top-Level Domain (TLD)
You do still remember the Domain Name Server (DNS), right? Yeah, great! Top-Level domains are domains that appear at the upper strata of the domain name system.
It includes the more popular .com, .org, and .net, as well as the uncommon extensions like, .info, .biz, and so on (it’s some list).
- Sponsored Top-Level Domain (sTLD)
This group appears to be less prevalent. It’s a category of the top-level domain with a sponsor that designates a particular community the domain extensions serve.
This group includes extensions like, .gov (for government institutions), .edu (for academic institutions), and so on.
- Country Code Top-Level (ccTLD)
This type of domain is specific to countries and the domain extensions in this category are country codes. For instance, .ng (for Nigeria), .uk (for the UK), .za (for South Africa), etc.
However, businesses and organizations use these domain extensions for region-specific targeting of audiences.
How to Choose a Domain Name
If you already have come up with the right name for your domain, you can check with any domain registrar to be sure it’s available. However, if you haven’t one yet, you can use Nameboy or check this list of best free domain name generators.
Here are a few pointers for you, when choosing your domain name for your website;
- Ensure you consider your business or brand name, or your keyword when making that choice.
- Keep it short, simple, and easy to remember, spell, and pronounce.
- Research your keywords to make sure it’s not an already existing trademark.
- As much as possible, you should avoid numbers and special characters, like hyphens. There are high chances for their omission.
- Sticking to the .com domain extension is a great idea; they’re the most popular and are easy to remember. However, you can always try out other domain extensions, but be sure it’d fit.
- The last tip should apply if you decide to use domain extensions other than the .com. Don’t choose a domain name that is similar to an already existing one with a .com extension (especially if it’s a big one). For instance, don’t pick groceryshopnigeria.cc if there’s a popular groceryshopnigeria.com.
How to Register your Domain Name
Excellent! We’re here now.
At this point, I have to assure you that you’ve done the hard part already, which is choosing the right domain name for your blog, business, or brand.
So, registering your chosen name with a domain registrar is not a lot a process. Let’s just say it’s like shopping from your favorite e-commerce store.
Nonetheless, let’s go one step at a time.
Domain names cost around $8.88/year (NGN 3463.20) plus the ICANN fee of $0.18 (NGN 70.20). Although this is a percentage of the actual cost, so you’d expect to pay a little extra on your renewals.
Please note that the US Dollar to Nigerian Naira conversion here was based on the exchange rate at the time this article was written.
Also, typically you might want to purchase an SSL certificate and hosting plan alongside. Most Web hosting services provide all the services, so you don’t have to move between platforms.
You can still purchase from different platforms, however.
To get you started along your path to registering your domain name, I’d use one of the popular registrars and hosting companies, Namecheap.
1. Search for your Domain Name
Visit the platform and input your selected name into the “search for your domain name” bar. And your journey begins.
2. Add to Cart and Check Out
So, after you find your domain name, add it to your cart. Also, at this stage, you can include any add-ons you need, then proceed to check out.
Toggle the auto-renewal button for autorenewal, then confirm your order.
3. Log into your Account or Sign up for a New Account
At this point, you can log into your account if you already have one. If you don’t, there’s no trouble, simply sign up for one, then continue to finish your purchase.
Furthermore, pay attention to the details you provide during signup – ensure they are correct.
While you can’t pay for the lifetime-use of a domain name, you can pay for up to 10 years. I’d advise you to put your renewal on automatic, so you don’t miss your renewal time and lose your web address.
There are tons of registrars and web hosting companies you could do this with. So, weigh your options and get the best deals.
Until next time, keep it tight!