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Choosing a domain name should ideally be the first thing you do when setting up a blog or passive income site, closely followed by hosting. A domain name is the name of your website, a unique address for it online.
A good domain name is a crucial part of a successful site in that it conveys information straight away to visitors and people searching on Google what you site is about. Domain names cannot be bought outright but only rented for a certain amount of time into the future, up to ten years.
GoDaddy are the largest and most reputable domain name registrar in the world, having been running since 1997 with 17 million customers worldwide and over 70 million domain names managed as of 2019. Other hosting companies like Namecheap are available but GoDaddy are by far the biggest and most widely used.
The Process For Buying A Domain
- Visit a domain name company like GoDaddy or NameCheap.
- Under Domain Search, type in the domain you want to buy, to see if it is available.
- If it is, add to your basket. Proceed to checkout and you will be taken to an additional extras screen.
- Decide if you want any extras, like Full Domain Privacy, matching domain email, hosting, free website building etc. These are optional and not strictly needed. Most people experienced in this field prefer to keep hosting and domains separate. See our Hosting page for getting hosting separately.
- Tick or untick extras depending on what you need and proceed to next screen
- Decide how long you want to buy use of the domain for (1-10 years into the future). Once your domain rental terms expires, it will have to be renewed if you want to keep using it.
- Complete purchase. The domain is now yours to use for the term you paid for!
- See our Hosting page for getting hosting separately and our article on connecting your domain to your hosting and installing WordPress for the Hostgator service.
Choosing a Good Domain
You should think a little bit but not too much about choosing a domain name. As long as you follow a few simple principles and put the work into your site you should be fine. Your domain name should ideally meet these criteria:
- Domain names must be unique (not already taken)
- Domain names should be relatively short, simple and catchy – ideally around 20 character or less
- It should tell visitors and Google what your site is about
- If you are expecting global traffic and monetization, go for a .com. If you are just targeting your local market, go for your local domain eg.co.uk, .ca, .com.au, etc.
- Draw up a shortlist of a couple of possible domain names as the one you want might already be taken.
- Click here for our article on domain names for more information.
If you can it is a good idea to buy up use of a domain name for as long as possible, since this sends a message to Google that you intend to stick around and can help with ranking your site.
Avoid buying domains names bundled in with hosting, since it can be hard to take them with you if you change your hosts. It is generally considered better to keep your domains and hosting separate.
Domain registrars will also often try and sell you loads of bundled in extras which you don’t technically need – like extra domain names and certain security and privacy adds. You don’t need to worry about these extras when starting out. Full domain privacy might be handy if you don’t want your details online in the WHOIS directory but in many cases you don’t need anything else.