If you want to set up a website, one of the first things you’ll need to do is to register a domain name. This is simply the name of your website, such as freelancerkenya.com or wikipedia.org. It is the number one thing that people will be referring to when talking about your site and will also be your online identity.
Where can you register your domain name?
There are many sites that will help you register your domain name. These sites are referred to as domain registrars. You can always search for reviews of the top domain registrars at any particular time.
I use Namecheap for my domains. You don’t have to use this. You can try out others like GoDaddy and 1and1. In case you want a .ke domain e.g. example.co.ke or example.or.ke, you can check out Kenic. Those reading this outside Kenya can always research to see where to buy those country specific domain names.
In this post, I will show you step by step how to register a domain name using Namecheap. The process is pretty much the same regardless of the registrar you’ll choose with minor differences.
Factors to consider before registering a domain
Before you register your domain, consider the following factors:
- Is the name copyrighted? You may be sued if you use a copyrighted name such as nestle.co.ke which belongs to Nestle. Don’t use names of existing brands or companies.
- Nowadays it is advisable not to use dashes. If you are selling women’s shoes, it’s better to use womenshoes.com instead of womens-shoes.com.
- Use a name that people can easily remember.
- Exact match domains (EMDs) no longer help much in search engine optimization. For example, if you’re registering a weight loss website, you don’t necessarily have to call it weightloss.com since that is no longer a big ranking factor as it used to be before 2012. However, we still have exact match sites that rank well and make profits.
- You can consider creating your own abstract name for branding purposes. Note that when Google, Facebook and iPhone were registering their domains, they used names that weren’t in existence. So if you hear someone saying “Google”, you clearly know what they’re talking about. That’s a strategy you can consider using.
- Did you know that you are a brand? Yes. Consider branding yourself by registering your name e.g. if your name is Alaine Wafula, you can register alainewafula.com.
- Come up with multiple domain name ideas. There are high chances that most of the domain names you’ll think of are already registered. Write them down then go down to the domain name registration process below for further instructions.
- As for TLDs (i.e the .com, .org, .gov, .edu etc), the most common are .com, .org and .net. Most people use their target audience to select one of these. E.g. .com can have a worldwide audience but .co.ke can be strictly for a Kenyan audience e.g. ghafla.co.ke. Institutions also have their TLDs e.g. .edu for educational institutions and .gov for government sites.
My new domain name
Considering all the above. I settled on internetmarketinginafrica.com. This is a site that I’m building that will challenge people all over Africa to get their businesses online and use internet marketing as a way of getting more leads and sales.
I chose to still use an exact match domain (exact match domain) for this one. First as part of a test on EMD rankings and second since it will be easy for people to remember. I will still do a non-EMD site soon and let you know when it’s out if you’re part of my mailing list.
As usual, I will market this via search engines optimization (especially for Google search), social media marketing (especially through Facebook) and email marketing using AWeber. I am also considering YouTube video marketing and forum posting.
At the time of posting this article, that site is not yet up but if you’re reading this later, you may see it up and filled with content. If so, note that this is where the whole process began!
The domain registration process
Step 1: Name search
You start with a name search. Like I said above, most domain names are already taken so you’ll need to have a list of potential domain names.
Go to your preferred registrar and enter your preferred name on the search box. Once you get a name that is available, add it to cart as shown below. Note that the price below is $10.69 per year and see below how I’ll reduce it.
Step 2: Look for a coupon code
Some domain registrars, such as Namecheap have different offers running at any one time. These can get you a percentage off the amount you would have paid for the domain. So, to reduce the above price, do a Google search to see whether you can get a coupon code.
I searched for “Namecheap coupons” and this is what I got.
I then clicked on the site indicated above and copied the coupon code and pasted it to the “promo code” section shown in the next image below.
Step 3: Review your shopping cart and apply the coupon
It’s always good to review anything that needs to be paid for before making the actual payment. In the review window, you can:
- Determine the number of years you want to pay for
- Select “auto-renew” if you want it to automatically be paid for and renewed when it expires
- Choose whether you want other additional services such as WhoisGuard
- Enter and apply the coupon (or promo) code
Step 4: Confirm the order and make the payment
Once you’ve done all the above, it’s time to confirm the order and make the payment. As you see below, the price is now $9.84 after I applied the coupon. Down from $10.87. Once you pay, your domain will be ready for use. You’ll later need to set up your hosting so that you can make your site live. Click here to get an eBook that will give you more details on hosting, setting up a blog, etc.
There you have it friends. That’s the easy way to register a domain. Once registered, the next step will be hosting. Look out for my next post where I’ll write more about web hosting and show you step by step how I will host this brand new website.
This is part of the internet marketing challenge where we will do more action than talk. Take action too and register your domain today.
Feel free to add any questions, comments, tips and suggestions on the comments section below so that we can keep this conversation going.