Now that I’ve worn Zip out with a bunch of random blogging advice in the last post, we’re ready to get him going a bit on his blog. Let’s first help him with naming a blog and then registering a domain name. In this post, we’ll cover:
- Naming a blog
- Where to register a domain name
- Should I get that WHOIS guard thing that’s offered to me when I’m registering?
- A brief summary for those of you who can’t be bothered to read the full story about Zip getting a domain.
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Before Zip starts to blog, he has to come up with a name for his blog and, as he does that, I’m encouraging him to be master of his own domain (name.) Darn you, Seinfeld, for making that sound a little…off.
He’ll have to register his own domain, anyway, if he’s going to have a self-hosted WordPress blog. But even if he had ignored my advice and opted for another blogging platform, it would still be advantageous for him to register a domain.
The disadvantage of registering your own domain name, of course, is the cost. But it’s not very expensive to register a .com these days, and it gives your site at least an appearance of credibility. And before those of you with a wordpress.com domain name jump on me, I’m not saying you aren’t credible. Some of your blogs are in-credible!
Since we’re talking about registering a domain name, we’re also going to cover naming your blog. Those topics kind of go together. And, after we do that, we’ll talk a bit about where to register a domain name and then Zip’s going to try to name his blog, and register a domain. When he’s done, he’ll indeed be master of his own domain (name).
BLOG AND DOMAIN NAME CONSIDERATIONS
DON’T CHOOSE SOMETHING YOU’LL
REGERT REGRET LATER
As I advised Zip in the previous post, “Don’t glogg and blog,” and “Don’t drink and domain.” If Zip is like:
he probably shouldn’t be anywhere near WordPress.
And he should take his time (being a sloth, I’m sure he’ll be OK with that) to truly be sure of what he wants to name his blog and what domain name he wants to register before he does so. Do the alternative, and he may be like me, wasting money on domains that sounded like a good idea at the time and renaming my blog multiple times before settling on one. Talk about confusing your prospective audience! Again, don’t glogg and blog!
Ideally, his domain name and blog name should be the same or similar. Here’s some of my other unsolicited advice for Zip about choosing a name and registering a domain:
THINGS TO GO FOR
THE DOMAIN NAME IS AVAILABLE!
I’ve come up with some good names (I thought) for prospective blogs, only to find that the domain name wasn’t available.
THE .COM IS AVAILABLE.
So many more choices exist than the .com. However, people still try to put .com on the end of my .net email address, which shows you how much it still lurks in the public consciousness.
Google will find and index your site just the same if you have .net or .tv or .sloth (which I wish existed). However, unless I am an organization or educational institute, I’d still go for the .com.
If you’re like type A Tyrranosaur and greedily covet your “brand,” you might even register the same name with a different ending (which, by the way, is properly called a TLD for top-level domain.)
Zip probably won’t do that for now as he has no funds…but the annual registration for a domain name costs less than you probably spend on your favorite indulgence every week (mine is currently the Pumpkin Spice Latte on which I definitely spend more money than my domain name, Zip’s is cecropia leaves and crunchy bugs, which costs a lot less).
SOMETHING EASY TO SPELL.
I tried to call my little travel blog, “flâneuserie.com,” for a while. See anything wrong with this? Aside from the fact that I don’t live in Paris and get precious little time even to approach anything resembling flânerie in my daily life? I misspelled the word even now as I was typing it in this sentence. Spelled correctly, the word has a circumflex a, unusable in a URL. And I found that some people didn’t even know what the word means.
BRIEF IS BETTER.
If Zip can find a short and to the point domain, all for the better. It will be easier for people to recall and simply type into their browser bar. And along with this:
Ideally, I think it’s best to avoid a bunch of dashes in a domain name. Nobody should have to remember if you’re slothmakesablog.com or sloth-makes-a-blog.com or slothmakes-a-blog.com or…you get the idea.
MAKE YOUR NAME FIT THE SUBJECT (MAYBE).
If you can find something applicable to your blog subject, all the better! Still, plenty of companies exist who’ve come up with names that become memorable through repetition. Names that are either nonsense, have nothing to do with their subject, or both. Can you think of any?
I think the title for my little travel blog is kind of boring, but it describes what I’m trying to do. But I’m not nomadic- or adventurous- or wandering- First of all, while I’d like those things to describe me, they’d be a lie (well, maybe except wandering…my name and body do both wander frequently.) Names like that fit travel blogs well, but they’ve been used until they’re overused. Zip feels lucky that he doesn’t know any sloth bloggers, so he feels confident he might come up with something original, yet descriptive.
WHERE SHOULD ZIP REGISTER HIS DOMAIN NAME?
Zip has plenty of choices for domain name registrars. You’re probably aware of GoDaddy due to their TV advertising campaigns, but many alternatives exist that are just as good (and better.)
Many web hosting companies will also register domain names, and you can have your domain name and your web hosting at the same place. Suspicious Serpent rears his head at this point and says, wait! What?
At some point, I suddenly became suspicious about registering where I hosted. Why? I never really had any issues with it, but problems with a web hosting provider triggered the part of me that is Suspicious Serpent. I started thinking about if they had my website and my domain name. But I’m not paranoid!
Now I keep my domains in a separate place from my hosting. The two only meet in a third location, which is DNS (domain name server.) But, anyway, the hosting provider I use currently doesn’t even mess with domain name registration.
SO, WHAT ARE SOME OF ZIP’S OPTIONS FOR REGISTERING HIS DOMAIN NAME?
Out in the blogosphere, there live a whole host of domain name registrars competing for your business. I can’t review every one, as I haven’t used every one…but here are a few I do have experience with:
As the name implies, namecheap is cheap. (put price here) I ‘ve used Namecheap a great deal, never had any issues, and find their user interface easy to use. And, as their name implies, domains at Namecheap come at an affordable price.
I’ve used GoDaddy but not for some time. Prices were a bit better at Namecheap, and I found GoDaddy’s interface a bit more challenging to navigate, which made the change.
I list Register.com here as they’re a popular domain name registrar, but I can’t lie: I’ve only used them for looking up available domain names and never actually used their service.
Bluehostst is a hosting provider that also registers domain names. I’ll make more comments about them as a hosting provider when we get there, but, as far as domain name registration goes, I didn’t have any problems with my domains when they were hosted at Bluehost.
We’ll talk about Siteground again in the next post or two when Zip gets around to getting web hosting. I’ve had good experiences with Siteground’s hosting and, of course, most hosting providers also do domain name registration. That being the case, I haven’t transferred any domains to them but I’m sure it would be fine as they’ve been pretty responsive as a hosting provider.
SO LET’S NAME SLOTH’S BLOG AND REGISTER HIS DOMAIN NAME!
OK, so Zip is ready to register! But wait! What should he name his site?
Sloth.com immediately comes to mind. Perfect. Let’s look it up on Namecheap.
Zip goes to Namecheap.com, types sloth.com in the search bar and…
Oh, no! Zip finds that someone has already taken his domain name? And, holy cannoli, Batman! Someone is trying to charge over $10,000 for the .net form of the domain! What other sloth blogger is out there stealing his domain? Let’s look up sloth.com.
What the heck is this? Just a black with some colorful rainbows. Not a sloth in sight.
But oooh…what’s this? Sloth pictures? Free Sloth! Zip wants to click, but I tell him what my kids tell me: “Don’t click the clickbait!!!!”
But Zip slowly reaches out and…
Ugh! False Advertising! No sloth photos! And worse! NO FREE SLOTH!!!
But it seems like this domain name is for sale!
Let’s make an offer just to see what will happen. If those who are holding Sloth.com hostage will let it go for $100, I’ll buy it for Zip!
But, as Sloth.net is trying to get over $10,000, let’s go to Plan B. No free sloth, it seems.
How about…Slothery? But it’s not a word, you argue It should be! The act of Sloth! The Art of Sloth! The Science of Sloth! Let’s go for it.
So we go to Namecheap and put it in the search to and…it says that’s also unavailable.
Silly sloth…it is unavailable. Because I own it and will let you use it! (Again, see “don’t drink and domain.”)
So we’ll (just for now) put the .net and .dev in our cart, though we won’t actually purchase them. It’s pretty straightforward except for a couple of things:
Namecheap gives you all these choices before you go to your cart. You can probably just choose “none” here. I’ve used their private email as my web hosting provider does not offer an email account with hosting, and it’s been just fine. But many of the hosting providers Zip might go with will also provide email, so let’s wait.
When Zip gets to the next screen after this, he’ll see an option for WHOISguard which, at Namecheap, is included with the domain registration.
WHAT IS WHOIS AND WHY GUARD IT?
Whois seems like it would be an acronym, but it actually is just the question, “Who is?” And you guard it if you don’t want every spammer to know who you are.
If you have WHOISguard and someone looks up your WHOIS info, they get something like this:
…instead of something that tells them my real name and real email address. So, yes, I would always get WHOISguard.
After that, the checkout process is generally pretty straightforward. Most registrars will give discounts for more extended periods of registration (i.e., two years instead of one.) That’s up to you. You may want to start with a shorter period if you’re unsure about this whole blogging thing or a longer one if you have the funds and really want to commit.
And, afterward, Zip is the master of his own domain (name)…
…which gives him an immense feeling of satisfaction. So let’s let him back in it for now, and nap, and we’ll worry about those other fields here, like nameservers and such, later on in another post.
So, to summarize naming a blog and registering a domain name:
- Keep the name simple, stupid. And the domain name should be easy to spell.
- Consider the TLD. I’d consider the .com, though plenty of other choices are popular now and have gained increasing acceptance.
- Go to a domain name registrar like Namecheap to see if the domain you want is available. It might not be, so have a Plan B (and a Plan C and D) in mind.
- When you find an available domain name, go through the hoops on whatever registrar you choose and register it. I’d recommend saying “yes” to the WHOISguard option.
Zip made the mistake of peeking at Namecheap again and found that yet another Slothy domain, Slothverse.com, is available. And — get this — they had a “Birthday Promo.” Zip didn’t even know it was his birthday but, it apparently being so, he decides to register it.
Now, instead of being filled with satisfaction, he is filled with doubt. What should his domain name be? Maybe he’ll sleep over it. If you read the original version of this post in October 2019 and then the next post after that, you’ll know what his decision was.
But if not, you will just need to be in suspense. What will he decide? Wait and see.