How to buy a web address
We will reduce this to plain English and keep it short
First: What is a domain name registrar and is my domain name the website address?
Second: Why not just let my web developer/agency buy it for me? (DON’T!)
Third: Best domain name registrar to use
What is a domain name registrar?
Basically, it’s who you buy your website address from. We used a domain name registrar to buy ebony-media.com for $15 a year.
When you type in a website address, it’s not really the website address. It’s the website name.
The website’s address looks like a long number punctuated with full stops.
When you type in a website name (that you registered with a domain name registrar) a server finds the IP address associated with that name then directs you to it.
So when you type in a website address, you’re actually going to a server that acts as a sort of directory to point you in the right direction.
Why not just let my web developer/agency buy it for me?
If you are choosing the quicker, cleaner and far less stressful option of hiring a professional to create your site then they may run through some domain name options with you.
Don’t let them buy it for you. Websites are not the “fire and forget” platforms people think they are.
Meaning you don’t just throw the website up into “the internets” and leave it be. It needs maintenance and you will most likely want some new functionality or features at some point.
This means you need a competent web developer/programmer.
I’ll let you in on a little secret that we web developers writing these articles aren’t supposed to admit: sometimes as a developer, you see a client’s name pop up in your inbox and you groan into your RGB keyboard ugh, I know what they’re going to ask and I can’t be bothered.
It’s just life as a developer; problems and requests arise that you just have to push through even if it means developing an unhealthy sleep-to-caffiene ratio.
Most requests and tasks are simple but there are enough challenging ones to test the resolve of even the most seasoned nerd.
Why is this relevant? It does happen that a request someone sends their website developer a request for new features or to fix a fatal bug that is costing them business. If the website agency purchased the domain name on your behalf without anything in the contract to say YOU own the domain name, then they effectively own it.
It’s worse still if they host it for you too.
So, if you own the domain name yourself and your website developer won’t get their backsides in gear and fix the problem like the rest of us over-caffeinated lunatics, you can leave or at least threaten to leave. You own the domain name and have the login so you can direct the customer to the new IP address of your new site whilst keeping your-awesome-website-name.com
Not so easy if the web agency bought the website address in their name
This is a genuine problem that arises more than you think: people falling out with their web designers because they won’t fix the site like they’re supposed to. It’s one that can leave you feeling frustrated and powerless which – unless you own the domain name – you are…….
Moving all the website images, content and pages shouldn’t be too much trouble for your new developer depending on the platform. If you have a login for your current/old site then your new developer should be able to transfer it all over.
Get in touch if you’re having trouble with this and we can run you through your options.
Best domain name registrar to use
It doesn’t really matter, just use namecheap.com and you’ll be fine.
A few last, quick pointers
The TLD (.org .com. co.uk .net) should influence your decision. Choose your country specific one if your target audience is mostly within your country. Otherwise we would suggest a .com address as they are far, far more memorable and generally people trust them more.
Search engine optimisation
Or search engine optimization for our American cousins, is a huge concept and a bit of a dark art. It is basically the concept of getting your website up as high as you can in search engine rankings. Domain names can affect, help or hinder you here.
If you are selling or writing about dogs then dogs.com or pets.co.uk would be preferable to chloes-training.com as it helps search engines know what your site is about a bit better.
A second point on SEO – keywords
Each page will have it’s own URL in accordance with your domain name.
The particular page of your website will be added to your domain name after the forward slash – “/”
Notice the extension? If it was https://ebony-ecommerce/ecommerce/ it would be less ideal, you shouldn’t use too many of the same keywords.
So hold in mind that if you were to use dog.com then the URL of the next page should not use “dog” ideally. So use dogs.com/stay-command or dogs.com/obedience-training instead of dogs.com/dogs-command or dogs.com/dogs-obedience.
There is debate about this as SEO is a huge topic and somewhat of a guessing game as search engines don’t reveal how they work to avoid people abusing their algorithms.
Lastly, another SEO pointer – SSL
Your site needs secured and an SSL is easy to get. If your website is not secure then search engines will not rank you anywhere near as high as your competition.
Go to cloudflare or letsencrypt but this is something you can leave to your developer if you are using one.