Domain purchase is a small but critical step on the path to online entitlement. Without owning a domain there’s no point investing in website design or building an ecommerce platform. SEO is irrelevant without a site to rank in search results, and social media accounts struggle for traction if they don’t have a destination to drive visitors towards.
Fortunately, domain purchase is relatively straightforward. These are the steps you need to follow…
#1. Identify your preferred domain name.
For businesses, this is usually the company’s name. However, it might also be an abbreviation or modifier. For instance, certain characters can’t be reproduced in a URL, such as an ampersand (&) symbol, other punctuation symbols or superscript text. If your firm is called D2Design or One$ADay, you’re going to have to create a web address based on alphanumeric characters.
#2. Check whether your chosen domain name has been registered.
Since 1991, an estimated 1.33 billion websites have been launched. If you’ve chosen a generic word like Acme for your business, it won’t come as a surprise to discover acme.com is already in use (for freeware scripts, as it happens). If someone has beaten you to the .com domain purchase, it might be time to consider alternatives…
#3. Select your chosen TLD.
Top level domains come in two forms. There are generic ones like .site and .biz, or country code ones including .us and .uk. We’ve already established that acme.com has been registered, but less common gTLDs are still available – acme.blog and acme.builders, to name two of the options listed in WestHost’s search bar. Because domestic search engines downgrade foreign ccTLDs, we wouldn’t recommend using one to spell out a company name – like anewba.by.
#4. Consider multiple TLDs.
If you try to visit apple.co.uk, the tech giant redirects you to its .com/uk site. The former is little more than a redirect to subdomains of the parent .com site. There’s nothing to stop you doing this with multiple TLDs, which can be added to your basket in any quantity you wish if you operate in foreign markets.
#5. Decide whether you need additional features.
WestHost regularly includes free features like email hosting with domain purchases, while other add-ons can be specified as additional options if needed. These typically include multiple email addresses for corporate platforms or a site building tool. As well as the iconic WordPress platform, WestHost has its own Website Builder containing hundreds of responsive site templates. Even a coding novice can create a stylish, fast-loading site within minutes, using our simple drag-and-drop interface.
#6. Specify how long you wish to retain your domain for.
Although a domain can be yours for life, purchasing one doesn’t mean you can pass it onto your kids as an inheritance. Companies rebrand and stop trading all the time, so domain names are basically leased long-term. You can retain them forever without issue, but WestHost offers initial terms of one to nine years. These can be renewed automatically if you wish, something that many people do.
#7. Complete your purchase.
This involves entering some basic contact information and payment details. The purchaser of any domain name is automatically listed on a global, publicly-searchable database of website ownership called WHOIS. However, a concept called domain privacy replaces your details with those of a proxy agency, who will pass on inquiries from the public on your behalf. We offer domain privacy for free with a number of our most popular TLDs, though you can add it to other sites for less than $10 a year.
And that’s it! Your domain is bought and paid for. All that’s left is to decide how to design and populate your new website…