The steps are:
Step 1: Choose your top-level domain (TLD)
There are 3 main types of top-level domains:
- Generic top-level domains (gTLD) – Examples: .com, .org. .net
- Sponsored top-level domains (sTLD) – Example: .asia, .travel
- Country-code top-level domains (ccTLD) – Example: .us, .sg, .fr, .au
A suitable top-level domain will add value to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and drive traffics to your website. The decision-making process is certainly not rocket science but there are a lot of considerations to be made. When in doubt, always choose .com!
How to choose the top-level domain (TLD)
Consideration #1: Your Geographical Targeting
If you intend for your website or business to operate in only one country, you may want to consider a ccTLD for your website to end with .us, .ca, etc. A website ending with ccTLD will give a very clear message to Google that you are operating in that country.
For example, a .ca website will rank high for geo-targeting keywords such as “Laser Treatment Canada” or when the search is performed by a user in Canada.
The downside of choosing a ccTLD is that your website will rank badly outside the country.
Consideration #2: Business Niche
If your website or business falls within a niche business category such as travel, accountancy, law and so on, choosing an sTLD ending with .travel, .accountant and .attorney will add a fanciful feel to your business. The TLD is relevant to your niche and users will immediately associate you with what you are doing. In addition, it is easier to remember!
However, an sTLD does not guarantee good SEO and usually does not deliver good SEO.
Consideration #3: I do not know how to decide
Step 2: Choose your website name
Once you have decided on your TLD, use Internic to search for the availability of gTLD or your local registrars for ccTLD.
The common rules of thumb for the name are:
- Easy to remember
- Use keywords relevant to your business or website such as tech, design, clothes, clinic, etc.
- If your business function is niche, you may choose to be as niche as possible in your choice of keyword. For example, botox, plumber, gardening, electrician, etc.
- Try to be as short as possible. For use of short-form, do a Google search first to see whether your short-form is common.
- Avoid numbers and hyphens
Using a generic name
If your website is content-based and you want to attract users to your content, a generic name such as cryptocurrency, blockchain will be very useful.
Step 3: Research
Perform a Google search on your domain name to see whether it is copyrighted and whether there’s an existing online footprint. If you are using a generic name such as blockchain to build a content-based website, it is unavoidable to have an existing footprint.
Step 4: Act Immediately
Popular domains run out very fast. Act immediately to secure your domain!
General Price Guide for domains registration and renewal:
- .com: USD12 per year
- .org: USD12 per year
- .net: USD11 per year
- sTLD and ccTLD are usually more expensive than gTLD
- .business: USD18 per year
- .club: USD29 per year
- .us: USD15 per year
- .sg: USD33 per year