Want to grow your brand or establish your online presence?
Whatever your ultimate goal online is, you need to create that first impression on whoever is checking you out online.
You got to let them take you seriously.
So if you are looking to solidify your brand, make your business more credible or gain more exposure for even more reach, you will certainly need a website or a blog.
And to own a website or a blog, you will need to register or purchase a domain name.
What is a domain name?
A domain name is your website name. A domain name is an address where Internet users can access your website. For instance, www.gogitals.com.
Domain names can have alphabets and numbers. This helps business owners create brandable names for their website or blog’s address.
Before we go into how to register or purchase a domain name, let me quickly point some of the reasons why you need a domain name.
Why do you need a domain name?
There are several reasons why you need a domain name. Some of the key ones include:
- Having your own domain name, website and email addresses will give you and your business a more professional look.
- Another reason is to protect copyrights and trademarks, build creditability, increase brand awareness, and search engine positioning.
- Lastly, it defines your brand or business.
How to register or purchase a domain name
You can register a domain name from any of the top domain registrars that are authorized by ICANN to register domain names.
1. Registering your domain name with Bluehost (free domain for 1 year – Best Option)
Domain name registration has an expiry date whether or not you use it. A domain can be registered or purchased for a year or more years as the case may be.
With Bluehost, you will get your domain registered for free for the first year. This means you don’t have to pay a dime to register or purchase a domain name for the next one year.
If you are starting a blog or website, Bluehost is your best bet. It offers you a lot including a free domain for one year, free SSL Certificate (to protect your site from hackers), and over 60% discount on web hosting!
How do I get the free domain from Bluehost?
To get your free domain is easy. Follow the instructions below to register your domain name with Bluehost.
You can see that you have nothing to lose. So, go ahead now and click on the image banner below to get your domain name registered and web hosting account from Bluehost.
Once you have clicked on the above image banner, you will be taken to Bluehost’s website where you will see something like the below. Click on the Get Started Now button to choose a plan.
Choose a plan
Since you are just starting out, I will recommend that you go with the Basic Plan because it contains pretty much all you need to start out your website or blog.
Some of the key features of this plan include a free ‘.com’ domain name for one year, free SSL certificate to protect your site, enough storage for your new blog or website and you can create up to 25 subdomains (e.g. demo.yourdomain.com).
Now you can click on the Select button to either choose a domain name or just register it later. Unlike many hosting services, Bluehost will allow you the option to choose your domain name later just like in the picture below.
Again, you are able to carefully choose your domain name later even if it’s not available or you don’t know what to use at the moment.
Probably you have a name, you can just put it in the first box and click on next to know if the name is available. However, you can click on I’ll create my domain later if you are not sure about a name or if the name is not available.
Either way, you will be taken to the final step of creating a web hosting account.
NOTE: Since you need both a domain name and web hosting to start any type of website or blog, it makes a lot of sense to purchase them together, so you can get the domain name for free. Web hosting is the place where all the files of your website or blog are stored. When someone types in your domain name in the browser, your web host releases its (domain) files for them to be able to see the content your website or blog has.
Create your Bluehost account
You can either create an account with your Gmail or just fill in your details. Please note that the information you supply about yourself is very important, especially your email address (it will be used for admin purposes and that’s where most of your updates will go).
Go ahead and fill in your information or use the Google sign-in option.
Select the hosting package you want
I recommend you go for 3 years (36 months), that way, you pay less and still get the same value as others.
If you scroll down on that page, you will see additional features like in the screenshot below. I suggest that you uncheck everything there as there are free plugins that will get all the jobs done for you. For instance, there are several SEO plugins you can use to optimize your website for better ranking on the search result page and also for speed.
However, I will suggest that you don’t uncheck the Domain Privacy + Protection feature because that protects your contact information from the public online, hence no unknown numbers calling you or spamming your mail inbox. In short, your contact information is secured.
Lastly, Enter your billing details for payment
At this final stage of signing up, there are only three simple things you need to do. You enter your correct billing or card details, check the box to show you accept their terms of service and hit the submit button.
Once you have done that, your account will be created and on the next page, you will be prompted to set up your blog or website.
Now at this point, I will assume that you have purchased your domain name and web hosting. But if you are yet to do that, you can click the above image banner.How to Register a Domain Name (and Get One for Free) Click To Tweet
2. Registering your domain name with Namecheap
How to register your domain name with Namecheap
To register your domain name, visit Namecheap; type in your domain name in the search box and hit on the search icon.
Next, if your domain name is available as the case of mine below, then just tap on Add to Cart. If your name is not available, you have to come up with another name that relates to your brand or business. You will pay $8.88 for the first year.
Upon adding to cart, it’s wise to purchase a web hosting alongside, however, you can do that later if you don’t have a budget for it yet. Click Checkout when you are ready.
On your checkout page, you can make a few changes such as turning on/off auto-renew, enabling or disabling WHOISGUARD and others. And if you have a promo code, you can enter in the space provided. When ready, click Confirm Order.
Lastly, if you don’t already have an account, fill in your details in the Create an Account section. When done, click on Create Account and Continue.
Once you have created an account, you will receive an email from Namecheap in your supplied email address, follow the instructions as necessary.
Domain name & web hosting FAQs
These are frequently asked questions regarding registering a domain name and web hosting.
Which domain extension I should buy?
I strongly recommend that you go for a .com extension domain name. This is because they are very easy to remember compared to the other extensions available e.g. .org, .info, .net, .ng, .com.ng.
What are domain name extensions?
Domain name extensions are categories of internet domain names. When choosing your domain name, there are several extensions you can choose from. For instance, .com, .org, .ng, .com.ng, .us, .net, .gov, .edu.
How often do I renew my domain name?
Domain name renewals are done annually. However, it’s all dependent on you and how many years you opt in for. You can prepay for 5 years or even more.
How do I renew my domain name?
You can renew your domain name from your domain control panel. I strongly recommend that you turn on auto-renew feature to automatically renew your domain name. You can always turn it off if you decide not to keep a domain name.
Even though your domain registrar would remind you to renew your domain registration before it expires, you may miss those emails and lose control of your domain name.
How do I choose the best domain name?
Ensure that your domain name is short, easy to pronounce and spell. Also, try to go for the .com extension as it’s easier to remember.
Use your keywords and brand name in the domain name search. Do not use numbers or hyphens in your domain name. It makes them harder to pronounce and difficult to remember.
How can I reserve a domain name without buying it?
There is no way to reserve a domain name without purchasing it. You have to buy it if you want to reserve it. Considering the low cost of a domain name, it’s a small investment for a business.
Can I purchase a domain name without web hosting?
Yes, it’s possible. Some domain registrars like Namecheap allow you to just purchase your domain name and create an account with the hope of getting your web hosting later.
What do I need to build a website/blog: domain name or web hosting?
You actually need both your domain name and web hosting to build your website or blog. While your domain name is the name people type in their browsers to locate your site/blog, web hosting stores all your site files.
Can I move my website or blog to another web hosting company without changing my domain?
Yes, you can move your site to another web hosting company. You own the domain name and can change its settings to point it to any web hosting company.
Always remember that for you to show you are serious about your business or brand, you need to create an online identity by owning a website or a blog. This is possible through registering a domain name and purchasing a web hosting.
If you found this post resourceful, you can just take a second to share on your favourite social platform.
Finally, I believe that as much as I have tried in answering most of the questions you may have, there will still be questions. So don’t worry, feel free to ask me in the comment section below. I read and reply to all questions and comments.