Join Ray Villalobos for an in-depth discussion in this video Getting a domain name, part of Learning How to Manage a Hosted Web Site.
Your domain name has an impact on how people arrive at your website, so it's important to pick the right domain name and make it easy to remember for users. It's something you should think about before you set up your server. Domain names should be easy to remember, hard to misspell, not too long and keyword driven. If your domain name is confusing or hard to remember people won't be able to find you. Although you can have as many as 63 letters in your domain name, it's a good idea to keep it short and to avoid abbreviations. Be wary of names that might be typed into a browser in many ways, words like Cincinnati or Massachusetts.
Careful of words with letters like c or s that might be confusing when pronounced, words like cents or scents. Also words with silent letters like wrinkle or listen. They can be tough to spell. You might have problems with words that sound the same, words like feet or feat. When you use tough words, it's a good idea to use them with other words so that their spelling has context. Tell someone your domain name and ask them an hour later if they remember it. Better yet, wait a day and ask them if they remember it then.
If they can't remember, it perhaps it's too complicated. When you sign up for a domain name, you will also need to pick what's known as a Top Level Domain or a TLD. This is the last part of your domain as in .com .org or others. Top Level Domains are supposed to be logically related to their function or country of origin. The .com domain for example is supposed to denote a website that belongs to a company, while the .org to a government organization. .edu is supposed to be for educational organizations and each of the country codes is supposed to denote sites belonging to those countries.
For example, .ly sites are supposed to belong to sites from Libya, and the .tv sites are supposed to belong to a country named Tuvalu. The rules are often bent. Some domain registrars will allow you to register sites with a .cotld, which is technically supposed to denote sites from Columbia. There are also additional TLDs under consideration. Last year in 2011, the board governing TLDs, decided to end the restriction on how these TLDs were named. It will be possible to create generic TLDs with almost any extension.
For right now, that's extremely expensive and not yet available. It's also important to pick names with words that people might type in when searching for sites like yours in Google or other search engines. A law firm by the name of Matthews & Matthews is better off with a name like divorceatlanta.com than matthewsandmatthews.com. Search engines take a domain name of a website into consideration and if there are keywords in the name, they are better for SEO or Search Engine Optimization. Once you figure out what TLD you want to use, it's a good idea to research possible domain names before you get your server.
A great place to use is bustaname.com. It has a Quick Domain Checker where you can quickly check to see if any domains are available. If you are having a hard time finding a domain that you want with the Quick Domain Checker, you can also add a series of words and bustaname will try to find domains that combine those words. Once it finds some suggestions, if you roll your mouse over the triangle to the right of each word, it will give you a list of related words that you can use. You can even create groups to avoid certain words from being combined.
There are additional options at the bottom of the screen to help you get even more combinations and options. Once you find a domain you like, you can click on the Buy button to purchase this domain directly from one of the registrars listed right here, or you could simply write down the domains you like and use them later when registering your sites. Choosing a domain name is one of the most important decisions you will need to make before setting up your site, so make sure you take the time to research and pick a domain that your users can easily find and remember.
- Choosing server features
- Getting a domain name
- Using an FTP client
- Understanding link references
- Setting up webmail with forwards
- Protecting user information and directories
- Working with databases
- Creating shortcuts with subdomains