The mere logistics of getting started with your website journey can feel completely overwhelming at the beginning. If you’ve seen someone on a forum casually mention “registering a domain name” and you’re not even sure what a domain name is, or how to register one, let alone how to choose a domain name or connect it to your eventual website, this blog post is for you!
I am here as your Website Doula to teach you how to register a doula domain name. I promise the day will come when you too casually encourage a new doula to "simply" register a domain name, having long forgotten how confusing it was way back in the day. Of course, registering your omain name is just the first step. Be sure to check out my doula website template packages, custom WordPress design options, and DIY website support for those of you building your own sites.
WHAT IS A DOMAIN NAME?
Just to be clear, let’s start by defining the term “domain name”.
Domain Name: The online address where your website content will live.
You use domains all the time - www.midwiferytoday.com, www.dona.org, and www.spinningbabies.com are all examples. You’ll also see domains that don’t start with the “www” - this is simply a different way of writing the same address. When setting up your actual website, you will be able to choose whether or not you want to include the “www” as a prefix.
HOW TO CHOOSE A DOMAIN NAME
Before you can register your domain name, of course, you have to CHOOSE a domain name!
I’ve already gone into this topic in depth in a recent blog post on how to find a good domain name for your doula business. As I shared in that post, finding a good domain name requires creativity and persistence, as often the first name you consider is already being used by another business.
HOW TO REGISTER A DOULA DOMAIN NAME
You have plenty of options on this one, and really it’s not your most crucial decision. Some people prefer to register a doula domain name when they purchase their hosting plan, and many hosting plans will include a free one year domain registration with that purchase. You may, however, prefer to register your domain name with a different company than your hosting plan. I recommend Namecheap for those of you wanting to do an independent domain registration. This would require then having your webhost (you'll find some reccos for doula website hosting here) point the domain to your outside hosting account, but it has the advantage of being able to change hosts without also having to decide whether or not to also move your domain.
Registering a doula domain name is as simple as going to your chosen domain registry website, selecting your name and confirming its availability, and confirming your selection with payment.
HOW MUCH DOES A DOMAIN NAME COST?
Most range from $10 - $20 / year, and require annual renewal to be maintained under your name. If you choose a country based domain suffix such as .ca for those of you in Canada, the costs tend to be higher and there are less registrars available to you. I highly encourage you to select “auto-renew” with your domain registration as missing that renewal notice can cause a major headache trying to retrieve your lost domain.
For your search engine rankings it is best to register your domain for a number of years rather than a short term registration. It's not a huge factor, but it's one more little thing that you can do to help you look "serious" and professional in Google's eyes.
DO I REALLY NEED DOMAIN PRIVACY?
This is one of the options that will come up in your domain registration process - sometimes called Whois Guard. I covered the topic of domain privacy in depth in a blog post last year, and it is well worth taking the time to read through what this add-on cost represents. The cost is minimal, and could save you some real headaches and prevent an influx of spam.