If you want people to see your website, then knowing how to search for, find and register a suitable, easy to remember, domain name is essential.
Picking the right domain name allows people to find your website with an easy-to-remember web address, and we show you the best way to find and register the perfect domain name, along with the best services that will help you.
How to search for and buy a budget domain name with Namecheap
As the name suggests, Namecheap is one of the most affordable domain name registration services on the internet, and it's the best place to to search for and register domain names for low prices.
Search for the domain you want – you can even search for a number of different domains at once by clicking 'Bulk Options' and entering the domains you're after – and you'll see a list of available extensions for your domain.
Any available domains will have a price next to them – and they're usually a lot cheaper than when buying from a rival domain registration website.
Click the Trolley icon to buy the domain if you see one you want. Otherwise click 'Suggestions' to see a list of similar domains.
How to search for and buy a premium domain name with Go Daddy
Go Daddy is another popular domain registration website which often runs sales and discounts – such as multi-buy deals – for domain names. We recommend Go Daddy if NameCheap does not have the domain you're looking for, and at the moment it is running promotions on .com domains if you purchase the domain for two years.
Search for the domain you require and you'll see a selection of domains and extensions to choose from, as well as suggested alternatives if the domain you're after is no longer available. Click 'Add to Cart' to buy a domain.
Go Daddy also offers web hosting, email domains and an easy to use website builder, so it's an excellent choice if you're building a website from scratch.
Choosing a domain name
You've probably noticed there are quite a lot of websites on the internet these days, which means that many domain names are already in use. So the first thing you should do is come up with a shortlist of suitable domain names, which gives you some wriggle room if your preferred choice is already taken.
When coming up with a domain name there are five important things to consider:
1. Keep it short
The shorter your domain name, the easier it will be for people to remember. It also makes it easier to type out, so it's unlikely potential visitors will misspell your address.
2. Keep it simple
Another important thing is to keep your domain name simple. While it may seem creative to spell 'excellence' as 'xcellence', it can make it confusing for people to remember and type. Avoiding hyphens where possible will also help people remember your domain.
3. Reflect the website
Avoid going for a domain name that has nothing to do with your website – it could annoy your visitors. Make the domain name reflect the contents of your website: if the website is for your business, then your business name should suffice; if it's a personal website that showcases your photography, then a domain name with your name and the word 'photography' is a good starting point.
It's best to avoid including other company's trademarks in your domain name, as you might get a letter from their lawyers in the future!
4. Remember it will be one word
You can't have spaces in URLs, so you'll want to make sure your domain name looks good as one word – and doesn't have any unfortunate double meanings, as the owners of Experts Exchange found out with their expertsexchange.com domain.
5. Choose the right domain extension
There are over 300 domain extensions available, with the most popular being '.com'. While having a domain end in '.com' is desirable, it might not always be the best choice for you. For a start, there's a good chance that the domain name you want that ends with '.com' is taken, but the domain name you want that ends with your country's extension, such as '.co.uk' is still available.
As well as various country extensions there are specialist ones as well, such as '.net', '.gov' and '.org', which reflect the type of business or organisation using the domain. So a government-run domain will have a '.gov' extension, while a '.org' domain is usually used by organisations such as schools and charities. Having the right extension for your domain name can do wonders for perceptions of your website before anyone has even visited it.