Starting a Blog Step One – Choose and Register a Name
One of the most popular reason for starting a blog is to share and market an idea or product. In fact, blogging has proved to be very effective in creating awareness and building a market for thousands of products. Starting a blog may seem complicated or bewildering. There are so many things to think about, so many choices to make. You may think it is beyond your capabilities. Well, fear not. This is the first in a series of articles that will walk you through the technical process of starting a blog step by step. Are you ready? Let’s take the first step to getting you set up.
What’s in a Name
Before you can set up your blog, you need to have a name for it. Our site name was chosen based on a nickname, alliteration, and a description of what the site is about. You can pick a descriptive name, or you can even use your own name – which is what a lot of the top bloggers do. You need to find a name that isn’t being used and register it by buying the name from a domain registrar. That is how every website is made unique.
A domain registrar is an organization or company that is accredited to sell domain names. On their website, they will have a search bar where you can put in the name you’d like. If the name has not already been taken, you can purchase and register it. If a name you want is taken, there are several options available to you. You could use a different type of domain. The most popular is .com, but you could consider .net, .org, .info, .co, or one of the other twenty or so top level domain (TLD) possibilities. Short, easy to remember, and catchy names are scooped up quickly whenever a TLD is made available. However, .blog is one newly approved top level domain that might still have good names available that would be of interest to bloggers.
As mentioned, you could use your own name. That’s a great way to get name recognition! Another option would be to add an article or adjective to the name. For example, if bestblog.com wasn’t available, you could try thebestblog.com, or theverybestblog.com (all three are taken, btw). You don’t want to get carried away with this option, though, because the shorter names are usually the ones best remembered.
Where to Register?
The world’s largest domain registrar is GoDaddy (godaddy.com). They price domains reasonably, and often run specials on the different TLDs. We use GoDaddy for most of our domains. If you have multiple domains, it is easier to keep track of domain details, like renewals, when your domains are in one place. Most domain registrars also sell web hosting, but you don’t have to purchase those services when you buy and register your name.
Some web hosting companies offer free domain registration when you host with them – some for the first year only; some for as long as you remain with the hosting company. We do this for one of our domains. If you only have one domain, it can be easier to keep everything, such as billing for both registration and hosting, in one place. The drawback is that if you decide to change web hosts later, the original web host can make it very difficult for you to transfer. We’ll discuss nameservers and pointing to domains in a later post. For now, just know that it is easier to transfer web host companies when your domains names are with someone other than your web host.
Now what? Well, it doesn’t do any good to have a great name if nobody can find it on the internet. You need to find a way to get your ideas or products on the web. You do that by finding a web hosting company, which is just as the name suggests – a place to host your web site. The second post in this series will discuss what to look for in a web host. In the meantime, come up with that perfect name and get it registered!