Why should I buy a domain instead of using a free one?
Example of a free domain: minimalistbaker.blogspot.com
Example of a purchased domain: minimalistbaker.com
Short answer: It’s more professional. It’s easier to remember.
Long answer: If this is a site you are going to take seriously, you want it to be setup correctly from the start. Although it is possible to transfer some information on your free website to a hosted domain, it’s a serious headache. Start right and save the trouble.
How much does it cost?
Typically, you’ll spend $12-$20 to register your domain. That’s a small investment for a year’s worth of professionalism. Realistically, it’s not worth hours of research to save $5. More importantly, I’d suggest registering your domain where you end up hosting your site.
Even better – Dreamhost registers your domain for free when you purchase a hosting package.
Bluehost also allows you to get the domain for free when you purchase hosting.
Hostgator will charge you $15/year.
Again, I’d suggest registering your domain with your hosting provider.
How do I choose a domain name?
You want three things in a domain name: Easy to remember, relevant to your content, as short as possible.
I’ve bought a lot of domains. I think of it like naming a business. My goal is to choose something as simple as possible that also accurately describes what’s going to be on the site. (Like minimalistbaker.com).
Develop a list of at least 5 ideas. See if they are available names using dreamhost’s domain checker.
Of course, .com domain names are much more scarce. That being said, I still prefer them and try to get one when I can. There are many large sites that operate on a .net domain as well. However, your first goal should be an easy to remember domain name.
Ok, I’ve got the name, how do I buy it?