Chosing a domain name

As you think about the site you want to build, the first decision you need to make is to find a domain name for your site. This is the “address” of your site, so whatever you choose should clearly explain what your site is going to be about. For example, GillianLancasterDesign.com is this domains. It is my portfolio site which displays my design work.

If you aren’t sure what direction your site is going to take, or have several ideas you want to develop you might want to use your own name. On the other hand if your business already has a name, then your goal is to think of something that will help both current and potential customers find you. For example, if your business is known as “Danny’s Bistro”, then “DannysBistro.com” would make it easy for existing customers to find you. If the bistro specializes in French food, then “DannysFrenchBistro.com” would help newcomers find you and know exactly what you offer. The goal is to come up with a phrase that will attract the people you want to visit your site.

Where do you buy a domain name?

There are a number of sites which sell domain names, and the prices are generally quite similar. I recommend NameCheap.com, as I have found them to be very helpful. I have also used GoDaddy.com and like them for buying domains, but do not like their hard sell of extra products, so be warned!

It is important to mention that not all domains are available, so it may be necessary to add another to the name you chose. Think of this as another chance to help visitors find you, so if “DannysFrenchBistro.com” has already been taken and you are located in Brooklyn, maybe “DannysFrenchBistroBrooklyn.com” is available instead! If you want to use your own name and it has been taken, then you might want to add a middle name. Think about this gently and write down all the ideas you come up with.

You also have the choice of many different options after the ‘dot’. If you can’t get the .org version you want, you could consider .info or .co.uk, but beware that whoever owns the .com version is likely to get some of your traffic as people tend to assume all sites end in .com. Unless you are famous, or have a famous product, you don’t need to buy every version in addition to .com.