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This month we've released several exciting new products and services, which we'll be writing about soon. Today though, we're going to focus on something that's been in the works for a while. Something that gives an extra little something special to new Shared and Business hosting clients… When you sign up for any of our Shared or Business annual hosting plans, we're going to give you a free domain of your choice.
After all, you're going to need both to build your website and get it live, right?
You can choose from any of the TLDs we offer, with a value of up to $25. This domain will be valid for one year, at which point you'll need to renew it at the regular price. You can see all the details and how to qualify for our free domain offer here.
Today, many top-level domains are available (Or TLD, the extension of the domain name that comes after the dot). You have the traditional, better-known TLDs like .com, .net, and .org. But now you also have many snazzy new ones like .ninja, .coach, .cool, .shopping or .boutique. The list goes on and on.
But when registering your domain, we always recommend trying to get the .com of that domain name if it's available. This is the TLD that most people are used to. When someone wants to look you up online and visit your website, they'll probably Google you or type in your business name with .com.
It's the easiest for people to remember. It's also what pretty much everyone trusts.
Of course, if it ultimately makes sense to use one of the niche TLDs, then, by all means, use it. But be super careful about your marketing and branding to ensure people will remember the correct full domain name.
It's also a good idea to snatch up all the common TLD versions of your domain. If you register BobsBaseball.coaches, make sure to get bobsbaseball.com and BobsBaseball.net at least. Then redirect those domains to the one you want to use.
This helps in several ways. First, if people don't remember the TLD that's supposed to go with your domain, and they do try to go to BobsBaseball.com, they still end up on your site. It also prevents a competitor from registering up your domain and directing your potential customers to their site.
There are even people who buy domains to be spiteful or to make money. They'll buy it, then offer to let you have the domain if you buy it from them (much more than what it cost to register it). This is a type of "domain squatting" and is technically illegal. But it happens. It's easier to prevent this situation than try to remedy it in the future.
If you're a baseball trainer that works with coaches, you might initially want to see if baseballcoachtrainer.com is available. But if your name is Bob, BobsBaseball is shorter, easy to remember, and brandable using the example above.
Avoid hyphens in your domain, as well. You don't want to explain to people to include a dash or hyphen when mentioning your site. Or expect them to remember to use it or where exactly in the name the hyphen belongs.
Try to incorporate a keyword in your domain name that relates to what your site is about. BobsBaseball has baseball, for instance. This can help with your rankings in search engines because it helps tell them what your site is about. That is if the content on your site matches and your site delivers a good user experience for your visitors.
Simply throwing keywords into your domain name and then not giving your content, design, and navigation plenty of TLC isn't going to help at all.
Don't box yourself in. Staying with the BobsBaseball example, let's say you love sports. Baseball happens to be what you've focused on up to this point. What if you find yourself drawn to basketball next year and want to expand your training to include both? Well, BobsBaseball.com doesn't quite fit now.
So maybe you want to grab something that's not so inclusive. Perhaps you could go with BobsBallTraining.com instead. Then you can create a subdomain for each, and you aren't limited to strictly baseball. You could have baseball.BobsBallTraining.com and basketball.BobsBallTraining.com.
The last thing you want to do when starting a new site ends up in legal trouble. So before you finalize your domain name choice, do your best to make sure there's no way you're infringing on a trademark. Do a Google search for the name you're thinking about registering and see if anything comes up that looks similar within the same niche or industry.
The chances are that if you check the availability of the domain you'd like to register, it's going to be already taken. Don't fret. You have to get creative and think outside the box. If that's not your thing, there are several great (and free) tools out there that can help you. Here are just a few of the many online tools that can help you come up with a great domain name that fits what you need:
Thesaurus.com – Yep. One of the easiest things you can do is use a thesaurus to find other words with the same meaning and play around with combinations.
LeanDomainSearch.com – This is a free tool brought to you by the same company behind WordPress: Automattic. Searching for "baseball" automatically returned over 2,000 domain name ideas to consider.
Nameboy.com – This tool has been around for years. It gives you a little more fine-tuning control right from starting by entering both a primary and secondary word/keyword you'd like to include in your domain. And you can choose to exclude domains that use hyphens.
Namelix.com – This is an interesting one. Instead of including the name you search for in the domain, its AI gives you brandable domain/business name ideas. And if you save some of the results you like, the AI learns about you and your preferences. It starts fine-tuning to try to match results to what it thinks you'll like.
Once you have a shortlist of names you're considering, head on over to our domain availability tool to see if it's available. Suppose it is, then grats! Now you need hosting. Our Shared and Business hosting plans are sure to have something that fits your needs, and if you order an annual plan, your new domain is on us.
Written by Hostwinds Team / August 15, 2018