Day 8 of #the100dayproject - Choose A Domain Name
So this is where it starts to get a little technical but hopefully I can keep it simple for you. On day 1 you chose a business name. Today I want you to think about a name that will be used to find you quickly on the internet so that tomorrow we can look at creating your first website and starting to build your online presence. This is called a domain name (e.g. www.yourname.com). Imagine this like a telephone number but easier to remember because it uses text and words. You enter a domain name into your browser and it looks your details up at a domain registrar where you registered your name and then it can work out who is 'hosting' your website so that it can take you there. You pay a small fee each year to the domain registrar to register your domain and to register your ownership details and details of where your website is hosted. Its that simple!
To check if a name has been taken already go to www.whois.net and enter the domain you would like to use and it will tell you immediately which versions of the domain have been used and which are still available. Make sure the name is close to your business name, make sure it is small (ideally 15 or less characters), memorable, snappy and easy to spell.
What type of domain should you use, however, .com, .co.uk, .org, .net, .me etc? Initially most websites were .com websites. As names quickly got used up domain registrars created regional domains such as .co.uk, for example, and then many more specific to organisation types and so on. There are now dozens of types to choose from making lots of names possible, however, my advice would be to try to use a .com if you can. If people know your name as an artist, for example, but don't know your website address they might try www.yourname.com or even www.yournameart.com before anything else. This is because the .com domain type has been around for a long time and the one that people will always search for first before anything else. It is also used globally so if you are selling your work internationally it will help people to see you as an international brand rather than just selling locally within your own country. This domain might be marginally more expensive than other types of domain but is a good investment in the long term.
Once you choose a domain I recommend that you register it immediately so that nobody else registers it in the meantime. You might not use it right away but registering it keeps it safe for you until you need it later. There are many domain registrars. A popular one I recommend is www.godaddy.com. At time of writing a .com domain here in the UK costs £16pa, however, the first 12 months only cost £0.99, a great investment to hold onto it until you are ready to use it properly. It is really easy to purchase then keep the details safe until later. Click here to watch a short video from GoDaddy about choosing a domain name.
As you will recall if you have been following this project from Day 1 I am supporting Tabatha Gell, my partners daughter and young talented artist (age 15 at time of writing) to start her own online art business. On day 1 Tabatha came up with the name 'Tabatha Creates' to enable her to create in multiple disciplines, however, as you will no doubt do too as you work through this project, Tabatha has reflected on this and as she has a fairly unique short and memorable name and the .com domain name is available she has decide to simple use 'Tabatha Gell' as the business name and we have this afternoon registered www.tabathagell.com with GoDaddy for just over £1 including tax meaning it will belong to Tabatha for the next 12 months while she builds things before she has to think about renewing it.