A guide on how to register a domain for beginners
Our step-by-step guide shows you how to register a domain on three of the top domain registrars.
11 February 2021 · 9 min read
Starting an online business is exciting and challenging. Whether you’re launching an e-commerce store or a blog, there are various tasks you need to complete to launch your website.
This post focuses on how to register a domain. Your domain is a critical component of your website design and marketing strategy. It acts as a virtual business card for your online company, and it’s a huge part of your brand identity.
Our step-by-step guide shows you how to register a domain on three of the top domain registrars.
Why does my website need a good domain name?
Your custom domain name acts as a unique identifier in the online world. If you’re wondering how to make your brand stand out against the pack, a custom domain is a great place to start.
Your domain acts as an extension of your brand and business name. It serves the following tasks in your marketing strategy.
- It enhances the visibility and recognition of your brand in your prospects and customer minds.
- It improves your credibility and awareness of your brand online.
- It acts as a tool to help you build top-of-mind awareness of your brand in your niche.
A good domain name is also critical to your SEO strategy. Around a decade ago, “exact match” domains (EMDs) were the popular choice for website owners.
However, in today’s competitive marketplace, marketers are choosing to use brandable domains instead. A brandable domain helps you create a memorable name that your customers and prospects remember.
Memorable domain names also get typed into the Google search engine more frequently. The Google search algorithm tracks all the visitors to your site, using it to rank your site higher and improve your ranking authority.
As your branded search volume increases, your custom domain name earns more credibility in the Google, Bing, and Yahoo search bots’ eyes.
After a few years, the search engines will recognize your site as domain authority, and you” consistently have your site and content ranking on the first page of search results.
Three options for registering a domain for your website
We recommend using the following three companies for your domain name registration. You’ll need to register your domain name with ICANN. However, ICANN is only a global authority and non-profit organization, maintaining all domains and IP address records.
However, you don’t register your domain with ICANN; you do it with a domain registrar. The domain registrar has the following roles.
- The coordination of claims on various domains.
- It matches specific domain name requests with Domain Name System (DNS) nameservers.
- It ensures there are no duplicate domains.
In a technical sense, you’re not buying the domain name from the registrar. Instead, you’re reserving your use of the domain for up to 10-years at a time.
After your subscription to the domain expires, you’ll need to renew it to keep it active. Fortunately, you have first rights on the domain, and you can keep renewing your subscription for as long as you need it.
When you’re registering your custom domain name, you’ll sign a long-term lease agreement with the registrar, but there’s’ no option for buying the domain outright.
Option #1 – Use domain.com to register your website domain
Domain.com is our first option for your domain name registrar. Launched in 1998, domain.com is one of the oldest and established registrars online, with more than 1.2-million domains registered through their site.
With domain.com, you get access to popular TLDs (Top-Level Domains), like .com domains, .org, .biz, .net, and more. The registrar also has over 25 country-specific extensions for your domain.
Most domains sell on the platform for prices between $9.99 to $12.99 per year. However, there are some options available for as little as $2.99 per year.
You get the following perks with your domain.com subscription.
- Your first year of domain ownership is free.
- A free SSL certificate to secure your site.
- Automatic email forwarding.
- Management tools and DNS registration.
With domain.com, you also have the option of purchasing additional domain privacy and protection for your domain at the cost of $8,99 per year.
If you select this option, the domain registrar doesn’t display your ownership details in the WHOIS/ICANNdirectories, keeping your name away from the view of interested parties.
With the additional security package, domain.com runs regular security checks on your site to keep it secure.
Option #2 – Use GoDaddy.com to register your domain
The GoDaddy platform is both a registrar and a web hosting provider. If you’re yet to settle on your domain name, GoDaddy has an innovative tool to help you choose the perfect domain name for your business.
The bulk domain search option lets you check on several domain name ideas using a single search. There’s also the free domain name generator tool that brings you back a list of eligible domain names meeting your search criteria.
If someone else has your domain name, GoDaddy has a team that will broker a deal between you and the domain owner for the rights to the name.
However, using this service isn’t a great idea. Chances are you’re dealing with a squatter that’s waiting for this very moment when you come begging for the domain.
As a result of your inquiry, they might try to charge you an excessive amount for the domain name. On top of the purchase price, you’ll also have to deal with the following process and fees when brokering the deal.
- The domain purchase fee goes to the seller.
- GoDaddy receives a commission from the sale.
- You pay for the regular annual subscription price for your domain name and your add-ons.
Small business owners should avoid going into heated negotiations with domain squatters, as, more often than not, it’s a waste of your time and budget.
It’s a better idea to sit and wait it out to see if the squatter renews their subscription when it comes due. If the squatter lets it expire, you have the chance to swoop it up.
GoDaddy also offers you a domain back ordering service where you can pay a $24.99 fee and reserve a domain. However, if the domain has more than one interested buyer, GoDaddy sends it to an auction.
After making your decision, grab your TLDs, and select your renewal period between one to ten years. It’s important to note that GoDaddy runs campaigns frequently during the year, providing discounts on several TLDs and its hosting services.
When you buy your domain name subscription through GoDaddy, you get access to the following bonuses.
- You can create up to 100 sub-domains for your website.
- You get basic privacy protection, and your details are not visible on the WHOIS directory.
- Personal name domains get free forwarding to their social media accounts.
- GoDaddy provides real-time site monitoring and security tools for your website.
- Efficient and useful customer support.
After selecting your custom domain and your add-ons, head to the checkout to pay. When checking out, GoDaddy will offer you other add-ons for your site.
- Additional security coverage and domain privacy.
- A free “Coming Soon” template page.
- A free email domain.
- GoDaddy add-ons and extras, as well as hosting options.
One thing that’s interesting about GoDaddy is that it typically charges you more for an extended subscription.
We would expect the company to give you a discount for a long-term subscription, but it’s the opposite with this registrar.
Option #3 – Use namecheap.com for your website domain
Our third option for your domain registrar is namecheap.com. This company is another domain and hosting provider with an excellent industry reputation.
Namecheap lives up to its moniker, and it’s the cheapest venue for finding domain names online. You’ll frequently find the same domain for a few dollars cheaper. So, it pays to check with Namecheap before settling on your custom domain name.
If you’re looking for a domain on Namecheap, run a domain name search on your prospective top domains.
Namecheap also offers a huge collection of TLDs for your website. Some of your custom domain name extension options include .digital, .art, .luxury, and over 400 other options.
If your domain name isn’t available, you can use the advanced search to develop a few more ideas for your website.
This option gives you more search features such as suffix/prefix, pricing, and more. With the advanced search features on the Namecheap directory, you can drill down your domain options.
Create a domain that’s memorable, with a short name, for an affordable price. After settling on your domain name and TLDs, head to the checkout, where you’ll get more options for add-ons for your domain and site.
Namecheap offers you lifetime WHOIS protection for free with every domain you purchase. Namecheap also has a bonus premium DNS offer available for $4.88 per year.
If you decide to enable this feature, you get annual protection against DNS/DDoS attacks and a super-fast global DNS response time.
As a result of the add-ons, your site gets some extra speed. This feature makes it easy for your prospects to open your webpages without waiting for extensive loading times on your website.
Namecheap also upsells you in the checkout with some useful add-ons for your website. You have options for:
- Annual hosting plans, including a free web-builder.
- A dedicated and managed WordPress web host.
- An SSL certificate to secure your site.
- A free VPN subscription.
- A professional email domain.
Unlike GoDaddy, Namecheap offers you a discounted price for taking a 2-year subscription to your domain.
Should you use free domains for your website?
Chances are someone’s told you about free domains. A free domain sounds great, but is it worth it? It’s hard to judge the value of anything free, but we’ll do our best to unpack how to get a free domain in this section.
Some hosting providers offer free domains as an add-on service if you want to sign up for a company’s hosting plan.
For instance, Bluehost offers you a free domain for 1-year when you take one of its hosting plans. You have the option of transferring your current domain or registering a new domain with them.
Several other hosting companies follow this “one-year free” model. Look for free domain names on the following hoisting provider’s websites.
However, it’s important to note that if you take a free domain, the downside is that your subscription’s second year is generally more expensive.
Alternatively, you can use a premium web-builder program to void a registration fee and get access to a free domain. Some of the web-builders offering you a free domain name subscription include the following.
If you decide to take a package from any of these website builders, your domain name’s annual costs come included in your subscription fee.
Use B12 for your end-to-end website solution
After registering your domain, it’s time to build your website. B12 offers you a complete end-to-end website solution for your business.
Instead of charging you an upfront cost for building your website, B12 lets you take it on a subscription-based model instead. You get a fully-functional website for an affordable monthly fee.
B12 is the ideal choice for startups. The company builds your site and maintains it without you needing to hire third-party SEO experts to analyze your site for errors.
B12 website work with custom domain names and extensions, allowing you to add your own domain to your site. The result is more credibility for your e-commerce store or blog.
B12 offers pricing packages to suit any startup. You get all your webpage designs for a fraction of the cost of paying a developer to build your site. From your home page to your sales copy and FAQ, B12 has you covered.
B12 is more than just a web-builder program; you get a professional design team building and managing your website.
B12 is the only design firm utilizing AI-assisted design to speed up the process.
The result is you get your website built quickly, and you never have to worry about SEO maintenance again. B12 handles all aspects of managing your site, issuing you with reports in your dashboard.
B12 lets you integrate third-party plugins like credit card processors and CRMs. Visit the official B12 website, and request your free AI-assisted template design today.