Every business needs a website, the first step towards getting your site online is to register a domain name.

Hopefully, you’ve already spent some time brainstorming some potential domain names.

Below you’ll learn how to register a domain name, some domain registration mistakes you’ll want to avoid, and how to choose the best domain name possible.

Registering a Domain Name

When registering a domain name you’ll have a few different routes to take:

  1.  Register a domain with your hosting package
  2.  Register a domain name without purchasing hosting

The route you choose will depend upon whether to not you already have a hosting account.

Option 1: How to register a domain and hosting

Registering a domain name with a hosting account is the easiest option since everything about your website will live in one location.

If you’re signing up for hosting with HostGator as your web host, then you’ll follow the steps below:

  1. Choose your HostGator web hosting package.
  2. On the next page, you’ll be able to register a new domain. Just enter your domain name, choose the domain name extension, and HostGator will tell you if the domain is available.
  3. Once you’ve found a domain you like that’s available you’ll complete your order and your domain will be ready.

Option 2: How to register a domain without additional hosting

If you already have a hosting account somewhere and just want to purchase a domain, then you’ll have multiple options to choose from.

There are dozens of different domain name registrars you can use, but for the sake of example let’s assume you want to register your domain at HostGator.

  1. Go to the HostGator domain name registration tool.
  2. Enter your desired domain name. The tool will show you if it’s available, along with the domain name extensions are available.
  3. Choose your desired domain combination and complete the checkout.

When registering your domain name, it’s a good idea to check to see if your registrar offers domain privacy. This added feature will protect your personal information from potential spammers.

Domain Registration Mistakes to Avoid

Beyond keeping the points from the first section in mind, it’s also important to avoid common pitfalls when purchasing a domain name. Avoid the mistakes below and you’ll be on your way towards making a higher-quality long-term investment.

1. Do Your Research First

Make sure you aren’t using any trademarked words or phrases. This is an innocent enough of a mistake, but it can really come back to bite you. There are multiple entrances where webmasters have been sued, or forced to turn over the domain that includes a trademarked phrase.

2. Double-Check Your Spelling

In a rush to register your domain name, it’s common to misspell your domain and click purchase before you realize your mistake. If you’re surprised that a certain domain is still available, then double-check the spelling before you end up wasting your money.

3. Look for Multiple Meanings

Some words have more than one meaning. You’d hate to register your domain and build out your site only to realize that your domain doesn’t mean what you think it means.

You should also check to see if your domain name translates to a different or unfavorable meaning in other languages.

Hopefully, by now you can answer the question, “how do I register a domain name?” with total confidence.

How to Choose a Domain Name

Choosing the right domain name is important. After all, it’s going to act as the foundation for your brand online. It’ll be what your visitors remember you by.

Pick something too difficult to remember and it’ll be hard to establish a strong brand. The perfect domain name will help build your online presence for both users and Google.

Keep the tips below in mind when choosing the perfect domain when register for your new website.

1. Have a Few Different Options in Mind

The last thing you want is to give up in frustration because your dream domain isn’t available. You will be able to check if it’s available by searching for it within the domain search bar. To avoid this make sure you have a list of different domains to choose from.

After you’ve gone through the brainstorming phase you’ll probably have a ton of options to choose from. Narrow this down to your top five and head over to your domain registrar of choice to purchase the domain.

2. Choose the Right Domain Extension

If you have your heart set on a domain TLD, and the .com is taken, then you might think about compromising for a different domain name extension.

Although this can be tempting, it’s important not to choose a domain name extension that will reflect negatively on your website.

In terms of popularity, .com is the most popular, followed by .net, and .org.

You can get away with choosing another domain name extension, but make sure that a competitor site isn’t using another more popular domain name extension. When people are typing in your domain name, they might end up typing in the .com and be taken to a totally different website.

3. Keep it Short, Readable, and Memorable

Your domain name should be as short as possible and easy to remember, while being related to your business.

Think of companies like Apple and Google, or websites like Smart Passive Income and Zen Habits.

Their domains are short, memorable, and in some cases give you an idea of what the company is about. Think about domains that you remember and company names you like and take those as inspiration when choosing your domain.

Kevin Wood writes about technology and human potential. You can find him at his virtual homes Wooden Writing and Counter Culturist.