One Of The First Things To Do
How to get a domain and choosing your domain name are two important things you need to do when starting your online side hustle.
Before I tell you HOW to get one let’s talk about choosing your domain’s name. It is an important decision and there are a few things to consider before making your final decision.
- There are differing views on this but I still think a “.com” is the way to go. It’s not the end of the world if you do one of the other extensions but I personally think most people assume URLs end in “.com” and will go searching for you with that extension. You could well find yourself sending traffic to an entirely different website (even a competitor) because someone assumes your domain ends in “.com”.*
- Another important factor is that whatever your domain name is, you should not have to explain it to people. Spelling it should be easy and obvious. Something like food2go may look cute but you will forever be explaining how to spell it. (As an aside, if you can purchase “foodtogo” AND “food2go” that problem is eliminated by using something called redirection).
- Short is good. This is probably the hardest criteria to meet because people have been buying up anything they can think of for years. You have to be very creative to get a short domain name these days.
Don’t paint yourself into a corner! Your business will very likely have changed in a few years. You don’t want to have a product-specific domain address for your main business domain. It won’t make sense as you and your side hustle evolve or expand.
You can also get a domain that is totally irrelevant to the business. Putting together two words that don’t seem related to each other OR the business is a way to sometimes score a URL no one else has purchased.
I know this sounds crazy. You want the name to reflect what the business actually does, right?
Do you think “google” or “yahoo” had anything to do with Internet search back when they were getting started? No! Now both of those words are synonymous with search because they basically defined the business. Luckily they resisted the urge to select something like “searchinternet.com”
TIP: Have a brainstorming session and make a list of possible names before you go to the registrar site. Then you can go to something like godaddy.com and enter them in the search one at a time to check availability. They will make suggestions for alternatives if your choice is unavailable but be cautious. Their suggestions may not follow the rules we have recommended.
Finally, once you do decide to buy the domain they will try to sell you add-ons like hosting, security, and other bells and whistles. I’d suggest holding off on those. They can be added later. For now, you just want to nail down your URL.
Deciding on hosting is a very important decision you want to get right the first time around. In my post on hosting I give you some tips on this that will save you some money and heartache down the line.
* A lot of your traffic will be generated by links and this will not be an issue.