The importance of owning a unique and memorable domain name is hard to overemphasize. Many users will recognize and even discover your website or blog thanks to your domain name.
When creating a website, your primary concern should be taking care of a domain name and hosting. Website builders like NING offer a free domain name, hosting services, and related customization options right out of the box. Meanwhile, crafting a site from scratch using WordPress or professional web design services requires buying a domain name and securing hosting services from third-party providers called “registrars.”
In this article, you will find out how to get a professional custom domain name for your business website in a way that is both simple and quick. But we’ll start with the basics first.
What is a domain name?
Simply put, a domain name is the address of your website on the Internet. It is used as a unique identifier that enables other users on the web to find and access your site. A typical domain name consists of a website name made up of letters and/or numbers and an extension such as .com, .net, .eu, etc. That is called a root domain (e.g., yourwebsite.com).
When you make a website with NING, you are provided with a free subdomain. That means your domain name will look like this: yourwebsite.ning.com. Having a website on a subdomain is okay for beginners. However, if you are a business owner, an official organization, a service provider, or a professional blogger, you’ll want to have a custom root domain.
- A root domain looks more credible in users’ eyes. It increases customer trust and presents you as an authority.
- A root domain is shorter and visually more appealing. Thus, it is easier to memorize.
- A root domain represents your business without any references to third-party brands.
- Search engines like Google give more credit to root domains rather than subdomains.
- It is easier to get your root domain approved by Google AdSense.
- Owning a root domain allows you to create a custom business email address, which looks much more professional than a regular Gmail or Yahoo account.
Last but not least, it is advisable to switch to a custom root domain as soon as possible without waiting for your website to start driving traffic. Why? Because if you do it later, your site will lose its Domain Authority, which is one of the essential SEO factors. Thus, changing your domain name in the later stages may result in losing your Google rankings. This issue will require you to promote your new domain name from scratch once again.
How to get a custom domain name?
If you’re using WordPress or hiring a team of programmers to develop a website, you will need to choose a domain and hosting provider first. Among the most popular registrars are Bluehost, HostGator, Hostinger, SiteGround, GoDaddy, and DreamHost. They sell both domain names and hosting services. The prices vary depending on a subscription plan, ranging from $2 to $7 per month.
If you make a website using a site builder, a domain name and hosting services are already included in your subscription plan. With NING, you get a free ning.com domain name and 10GB/50GB/100GB of hosting storage for your website assets, depending on your preferred package.
However, if you want to switch to a custom domain name (for example, from yourwebsite.ning.com to yourwebsite.com), you can easily complete the operation right in your user dashboard. Simply open the Domain Mapping tab, check the availability of the desired domain, and buy it in a couple of clicks. NING will take care of the rest.
What’s more, if you already own a domain name purchased from another registrar, you can connect it to your NING website by using a Domain Mapping feature. It allows you to automatically redirect users from the ning.com domain to your alternative domain.
How to choose the perfect domain name?
To make sure that your custom domain name is professional, visually attractive, and memorable, follow these simple tips.
- Opt for a shorter name: A short domain name is easier to read and remember. However, a name too short would look curtailed and, hence, less convincing.
- Make it meaningful: To ensure that your domain name conveys the idea of your website, it should represent your personality, business, product, its specific features, or website topic.
- Let your brand shine through your domain: Most businesses use their brand name as a domain name. They do this for a reason. Branded domain names are more recognizable, and they look more trustworthy in customers’ eyes.
- Choose a name that is easy to spell: Occasional spelling mistakes will prevent users from finding and accessing your website. Thus, a lot of traffic that is supposed to be yours will simply go to waste.
- Avoid hyphens: Again, if users mistakenly omit a hyphen in your domain name, they may end up on someone else’s website.
- Use keywords if possible: To determine what your site is about, Google analyzes its domain name (among other things). A relevant keyword featured in your domain can improve your SEO and boost your Google rankings.
- Target the extensions your audience is familiar with: The most popular extension internationally is .com. However, getting a domain with that extension may be a challenge because they are in huge demand. Besides, they are more expensive. If you’re targeting your local market, it is a good idea to go for a regional extension, for example, .eu, .it, .de, .fr, .au, etc.
Claim your custom domain name ASAP!
The benefits of owning a professional custom domain name are hard to deny. However, obtaining one is not that easy, especially if you aim at a domain with a popular extension. So, if you have made up your mind to get yourself a custom domain name, you should hurry up before somebody else claims the one you like.
The easiest way to get a custom domain name and hosting services is by creating a website with NING. The platform offers an all-in-one package that includes advanced website building tools, as well as the possibility to purchase the domain name you like. You can also extend your hosting storage, use your own domain purchased from another registrar, etc. And you can do it all by yourself in a few clicks right from your user dashboard!