In a perfect world, setting up a blog and getting your content out to your audience would be a one-step process. The reality is, however, that there are many steps to complete before you even share a single post. Say you’ve put in the work and come up with an original idea, catchy title, and a beautiful theme. Now what? It’s time to take your blog from work in progress to an official website. The very first step is getting a URL for WordPress blog.
Being the admin of your blog and getting your domain, themes, plugins, and content done might seem complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. We’ll explain what you need to do step by step. Let’s dive in.
What is a Website Domain Name?
First things first – it’s important to understand what it is. Simply put, this is how your WordPress website appears in search engines. The name is what Internet users will search for and the first thing they see when they open your site.
It is made up of words that are easy to remember and works to identify a series of numbers known as an IP address. For example, it could look like this: “www.yourdomainnamehere.com.” Since it’s pretty hard for people to remember a bunch of numbers, the title makes connecting with the server much easier.
Every single one is a unique combination of words. It’s impossible for two websites to have the same name, as they can only be linked to one server. However, there can be different extensions such as “.net,” “.edu,” “.com,” etc. So while you may see a blog.com and a blog.net, you won’t be able to find two different sites called blog.com.
Domain registrars are companies that issue domains that work in place of thIPip address for your website. The actual servers that convert the words to thIPip address are known as nameservers oDNSns servers.
How to Register a Domain Name
Getting your site registered and ready to go requires a few steps, including search and registration. Here’s a complete rundown of what you’ll need to do to get it done right:
1. Make a decision and confirm that it’s available
Always have your number one choice as well as a backup in case the first is already taken. This happens more often than you’d think. You might have to get creative with it. However, make sure that your title is professional, relevant, and doesn’t include difficult spellings.
2. Choose a top-level domain provider
You’ll be given several options for providers. This is when you decide which extension you want your name to end in – .com, .net, .biz, etc.
Put simply: the top level domain is the extension farthest right of your name. For example, in the address, blog.com “.com” is the top-level. Some sites may also include a mid-level domain (for example “blog.co.uk” wherein “.co” is the mid-level). However, this is uncommon for US-based servers.
Dot-com tends to be the easiest to remember. Since many users will try searching for websites directly in the browser, it’s best to keep it simple.
3. Decide how long to reserve it for
The registrar or hosting site that you’re registering with will ask how long you want to reserve this name for. Depending on how serious you are about keeping up your blog, you can purchase a reservation for just a year or up to 10 years. If you’re just beginning and aren’t ready to commit to a lengthy reservation, look for auto-renewal options
4. Pay for your registration
To finalize your registration, go ahead and pay. Making the payment means you own it, at least until your reservation expires. When it expires, you can renew if you’d like. Automatic renewal is a great option to look for in order to ensure that your WordPress website doesn’t go down due to expiration.
Choosing a Domain: Why Is It Important?
Choosing the perfect domain for your site should be done in conjunction with picking your website or blog title. Usually, the URL and name of a site are the same, so that visitors or people searching for your site can easily find it.
You might want to cut costs as much as possible when you’re just getting started. Owning a name, however, is incredibly important if you’re serious about running a successful blog.
It gives your blog more credibility
In order to build trust and credibility with your readers, you have to make your blog look professional, even if it’s just a Tumblr blog you do as a hobby. This means avoiding generic titles. Choose a URL for WordPress blog that stands out in order to show that you’ve put in some serious work into the WordPress website and your work is of high quality.
When you’re networking and meeting in a professional capacity, it simply looks amateur to give your WordPress site name as “mysite.bloghost.com.”
It helps build your brand
The name is your site’s identity. It’s best to have your it be the same as your blog title. This way readers are more likely to remember it. Make sure that the name suggests what your blog is about.
Also, try to make it unique to your site and brand, but beware of non-traditional spellings and complicated names. Online visitors may not make it to your site as easily.
The name makes your site easily accessible at all times
Say you have to make some changes from the back end such as changing your web host. Your readers will still be able to access the WordPress site without you notifying them about the technical changes. When visitors type in your name in the search engines, they will see the most recent cached version of your site while you work on the newest copy.
If you didn’t have a name already secured and registered, you would have to create a whole new URL n case you decided to switch servers. This would create a lot of confusion for your readers. Some might even think that the blog is no longer active.
You’re more likely to attract advertisers
You can make money online through advertising. This is one of the top strategies bloggers use. You’re much more likely to get business if your site looks professional and has a great name.
Think of ad revenue on your site like a company renting a billboard or ad on a bus. They don’t want to put their nice new posters on a disorganized space where they can still see the last company’s name. Plus, when you have your own domain, you remain in control of any advertising or affiliate posting featured on your site.
Domain Name Privacy & Anonymous Registration
If you don’t want people to get your information from doing a registration search, most registrars provide the option to let you mask your personal information and preserve anonymity with privacy protection or private registration. This is usually at an additional cost from your registrar.
Domain Name Cost
Domain name registration is done in years. Usually, it’s not more than $15-30 per year, though if you go for a premium domain that’s one word the cost can get up to the many thousands of dollars.
Free Domain Names
Depending on how you plan to build your website and set it up, you could potentially get a free one and avoid paying a fee altogether. Many web hosting companies provide free urlURLsu can get your site live on however they’re usually not very user-friendly, easy to read, or easy to remember.
When people talk about premium domains, they’re referring to short urls, usually one word that are easy to type and easy to remember. When the internet first started getting a one word url wasn’t difficult, but since there are many millions of websites at this point, one word domains are extremely rare, and very expensive to register.
Best Domain Registrar
The best registrars have competitive pricing, great customer service, and an easy to use account dashboard. There are a lot of options out there, but I like Namecheap or Godaddy the most.
Cheap Domain Registration (But Still Good Quality)
Since most registrars offer basically the same service, I like to go with the cheapest that still offers good quality. Again, I’ve found Namecheap or Godaddy to offer the best service for the price.
Who Owns Domain (Whois Domain)
A good way to check who owns a specific URL is to use whois.icann.org. Icann is the international governing body of the internet and they have a good tool to let people search for who has registered a domain. The only hitch with this is that if the owner of a URL has purchased privacy for their domain, you will not be able to see who the actual owner is.
Names expire, so it’s important to make sure you renew yours before it does if you want to hold onto it. Most registrars have a setting that lets you automatically renew your domain. This is a good option if you know you want to keep it long term and don’t want to worry about loosing it through expiration.
Just don’t be surprised when the automatic billing kicks in and you get automatically charged for the renewal!
How to Get an SSL or Let’s Encrypt Certificate for Your Domain Name
Let’s Encrypt works as an SSL certificate authority and is run by the Internet Security Research Group. It will automatically send out free SSL certificates that are already trusted by the major web browsers. This is all free to use in an attempt to keep the Internet safer.
Here’s a quick overview of how to get SSL for your domain name:
Download Let’s Encrypt
First, you’ll need to download Let’s Encrypt then install it on your computer. Once you’ve got that done, you can begin the process of getting a Let’s Encrypt certificate for your domain name.
Setup the SSL certificate domain name
This is actually quite simple. For the most part, we recommend that you use the official Certbot tool when installing Let’s Encrypt. It automates the entire process and makes it super simple to use. It will also automatically update the configuration of your server.
Once Let’s Encrypt is up and running, it will prompt you to select the kind of certificate you want to install. It will also ask you to select the domain name you wish to install it on. Select the name and click “install.”
Https and Domain Encryption: Being More Secure Than the Older “Http”
The Internet was originally built to use the HTTP method to transmit information. However, the protocol is actually quite outdated. The HTTP system was created in a time when cyber attacks were thought a negligible threat. The HTTPS system served as an answer to rising cybersecurity concerns and attacks from the dark web, and therefore includes security protocols.
This is why using the newer HTTPS brings a lot more WordPress security when it comes to keeping your blog safe. This is especially important once the site goes live.
HTTP doesn’t encrypt data
Since HTTP doesn’t use any data encryption when transferring data, it leaves your personal data and info susceptible to being intercepted or changed by third parties or hackers, while being transmitted. Hackers are able to find usernames, passwords, credit card information and more.
Hackers tend to use sniffing attacks as the most common method. They do this by waiting at either end of the communication channel, either the web browser or the web server. As you connect and transmit your personal information, that’s when they attack. They will then intercept the information while it’s being transferred.
To give you some idea of how out-of-date HTTP is, it was created in the early 1990’s. This was when the Internet was still in its earliest phases.
HTTPS uses encryption
HTTPS does a much better job at protecting information while it’s being transferred. The added “S” actually stands for security. SSL or secure socket layers give your information three different layers of protection from third-party hackers. Those include authentication SSL, data integrity and encryption.
Encryption protects you and your users from sniffing attacks by concealing and masking the meaning of any of the transferred information. It’s sort of like a secret code that nobody can read.
While not everybody may know the exact definition or mechanism of HTTPS, most people (especially WordPress users) know that it’s more secure than the older version. This is why your readers would feel safer if your site uses it.
Protection on mobile devices
As the use of mobile devices becomes more and more popular, the risk of being hacked increases, too. It’s very likely that both you and your readers will be using smartphones to read your blog posts. HTTPS will keep your devices safer.
Improved Visibility and SEO
Aside from providing your visitors with safer Internet experience, using HTTPS can also improve your SEO. Google announced that HTTPS is actually a ranking signal. Ever since then, SEO experts have observed that companies and websites that utilize HTTPS have more page visibility and a higher ranking online. HTTPS make search engines detect your site better.
Buying and Selling Domain Name
You can buy and sell URLs, or bid for them when they get put up for auction. Most registrars will have the option to let you buy or sell, or put a URL you own up for bidding.
A word of Advice
Setting all of the above up can seem quite overwhelming. The good news is though that some hosting providers will help you set up a domain name.
Hosting packages can save you a lot of time, money and hassle. They’ll let you search the registry for the name you’ve chosen. Then, you can register it right there on the same page if it’s available. This is a complimentary service that you should look for when deciding on a web host.
Some less reputable web hosts can register the domain name as their own, taking away your ownership. This can allow them to charge you to use the name in the future and there’s really not much you can do at that point. So be sure to choose a reputable web host or registrar.
A URL for a WordPress Blog
Most web hosting providers nowadays offer you free SSL protection (and some offer free domain registration) for your WordPress site, as well as an easy 1-click installation of WordPress. You can go this rout with your hosting provider, or register a URL separately through a domain registrar and hook it up to your WordPress site.
Running a successful blog requires a lot of work, far beyond great content. Registering your domain name is one of the most important steps to for any beginner. You have to get the right domain and protect your website and visitors.
A good domain name will show your credibility and build trust in your existing audience, as well as bring in new readers to your posts. It has to be creative and explain what the site is about. While it can be difficult to think of a domain name that isn’t already in use, this is crucial, so take your time. Once you register it, you wouldn’t want to change the name.
Another important step to remember is making sure that you’re using HTTPS instead of the older HTTP. This offers the best protection from hackers and will build up your credibility even more. If you’re just starting out, learn what tools we recommend for beginner bloggers.