Registering Your Domain
A domain name is what your website is going to be called. Examples include Match.com, CBS.org, Amazon.com, and so on. If you are going to host your own site, the first thing you need to do is to buy a domain name. They are offered for sale by hundreds of sites. In most cases, you pay for the right to use that domain name for one or two years at a time. At the end of that period, you have the option of renewing your domain name.
You won’t be able to buy a domain name if somebody else is already using it. Contrary to what you might think, telling if the domain you choose is available isn’t as simple as typing it into your web browser and seeing if something comes up or not. If you get an error message, it may mean that the domain is in fact available, but it also could mean that the owner is working on the site and doesn’t have it up yet, that the owner purchased the name for future use, or that the owner bought the name hoping to resell it at a profit. There are people who buy hundreds of domain names on a speculative basis, hoping to sell them at a profit.
If you have a name that you really like and somebody else is already using it, you can find out who has it at this site. They may be willing to transfer it to you if they are not using it, or you can offer to buy it.
If neither options work for you, there are a couple of other things you can do. The first it to use SnapNames to “back order” the particular domain name. As soon as the current owner’s rights to that name expire, it automatically will register that name to you. Or you can use ExpireFish, a site that will “fish” for the name you want then buy it when it expires. Both sites require you to pay more than you would normally pay if you were to purchase an available domain outright from a domain seller, however.
So you might just want to select another name that isn’t already being used. While the costs vary from site to site, you can expect to pay between $10 and $35 per year for the use of the domain name. While pricing varies and changes all the time, the top five domain registrars and their most current basic pricing for one year are:
Any of these sites will give you the option of selecting a suffix for your website. These include .com, .org, .net, .edu, etc. If the domain you want is already being used with a .com suffix, for example, you may be able to buy with a different suffix. Generally, however, you are better off selection a domain in which the .com suffix is still available. It usually costs a little more, but it’s worth it because that is the default suffix most people use when searching for websites.
Your domain name should be related to the topic of your blog. If you are writing about dog training, for example, you might choose something like “DoggieCanineCollege.com” (which is available as of the time of this writing). Although you can use up to 63 characters, the shorter it is the better off you will be because it will be easier for people to type and remember. Stay away from domain names with special characters like hyphens and underbars because they will make it harder for people to find them. Also avoid clever abbreviations such as Sk8rBoi.com or NRGSolutions.com because they may confuse your readers.