How to buy a domain name

guy walking in Autumn feeling good because he bought a domain name

This guy is happy that he successfully bought a domain name

There are many ways to buy a domain name but here’s how I always do it, because I like things to be easy.

Step One: Open a word doc and come up with some ideas.

You want a domain name that is

  1. Short
  2. Memorable
  3. Descriptive

What I mean by descriptive is, would your domain name be just as appropriate for another industry/kind of blog? Does it give any indication of what your site is about?

Step Two: See which domain names are available.

Head on over to http://www.godaddy.com/default.aspx (Yes, that is Jillian Michaels/Danica Patrick. No, they don’t have anything to do with domain names) and plug your first domain name idea into big, honkin’ field. Chances are it’ll be taken, but GoDaddy will give you some ideas for names not taken. Keep trying things out until you find something you want to use. Domain names can be changed, so don’t spend months agonizing over this, but it’s best not to change them, so don’t take this lightly.

Tips: Don’t use more than one hyphen in your domain name. It looks spammy. Don’t use anything hard to say or spell.

Step Three: Buy the domain name.

GoDaddy makes this very easy, but here are some tips anyway. If you’re buying a domain name for a local business, be very careful to fill out the domain registry information with the same address, phone number, etc. you intend to use in your Google Places Page (here’s mine as an example). It’s another signal that Google can trust the information you provide.

You don’t need most of the stuff GoDaddy will try to sell you. I would, however, spring for multi-year ownership. It’s a trust signal to Google that you’re not a fly-by-night spammer buying a churn-and-burn domain. Plus, it’s less hassle overall.

Just because you buy a domain today doesn’t mean you have to start using it immediately. But it’s a good idea to have a few on hand for when you’re ready to start your site.

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