In the first of our a four-part series in which we go from nothing to running an actual website, we look at buying a domain.

The very first thing you should do when you’re looking to set up a website is to decide what your website will be called. There are few basic rules that you should try to follow when choosing your domain.

Firstly, choose a domain that reflects your site. For example, if you intend to sell yellow teapots, you should try to have those two words in the domain name. This will make it far easier for people to find your site, and you are more likely to feature nearer the top of search engine results.

You should also consider your audience. If you intend to share your site with the world, you should considern a ‘.com’ domain. These are slightly more expensive than localised domains, such as ‘.co.uk’, but they do give a more professional impression. If you only intend to sell your teapots in your local country, for example the UK, a ‘.co.uk’ domain will be more suitable and also save you a little money.

It is quite tempting to buy ‘www.yourname.com’ and if it is available, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t – your friends and family will never have trouble finding you online again. But consider what your site will offer. Very few people will know your name at the start, and this means you will find it harder to get your content to a wider audience. If your aim is to create a well read blog, you’re putting yourself behind a hurdle before you’ve even started.

Finally, try to avoid hyphens, words spelt incorrectly, and things such as .net or .org domains. You should also steer clear of brand names and very wordy domain names. Also make sure you don’t have more than one meaning in your domain – I very nearly purchased BloggerMan.com, until I realised it could also be read as BlogGerman.com.

You can use this handy little tool to see if the domain you want is available. Once you’ve bought your domain, you’ll need to find someone to host it for you. Check back soon to read our article on hosting.

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