Everything You Need to Know About a Custom Domain in 2023
Imagine if you had to type the IP address into the browser every time you visited your favorite websites instead of its custom domain.
That would be frustrating, right?
Because unless you're a mnemonist (individuals with the uncanny ability to remember long streams of numbers and data), you would need to carry a notebook that had all your favorite "IP addresses."
That's the beautiful thing about using a custom domain.
Read on to learn all you need to know about custom domains, including how to get one.
What is a Custom Domain?
A custom domain is your online address on the internet. A unique, brandable name that serves as your identity.
Unlike a subdomain, which you get when you host your website on a free blogging platform such as WordPress, you own and control your custom domain.
When visitors visit your website, they'll see something like www.yourname.com instead of abcde.com/yourname.
The best custom domain names for your business will be short, simple, and memorable. It should contain a keyword that describes what your company does. It's also essential to choose a name that's easy to pronounce and spell.
Features of a Custom Domain
A custom domain comes with a personalized name that is unique to your brand.
Also, with a custom domain, you can create and use a domain-specific email address. This means that instead of using generic free email services like Yahoo or Gmail, you can have your business email that carries your brand name.
This offers a level of professionalism that sets you apart from the crowd.
Benefits of a Custom Domain
The first significant benefit of a custom domain is branding. Using a short and sweet name is essential to support your branding efforts.
Potential customers can identify your site and not spend time worrying about why your URL looks suspicious.
Another benefit of a branded custom domain name is that you build trust with your customers.
Besides branding, a custom domain name helps you build your search authority.
As people search for your website or keywords associated with your custom domain, the search bots rank your site according to the quality of traffic (and backlinks) you get.
How Much Does a Custom Domain Cost?
The cost of a custom domain depends on the following:
- Your preferred custom domain extension (.com, .io, or .gov)
- The domain registrar
- Privacy and protection costs
- Someone else owns the domain
The .com extension is the most common custom domain name and will cost you between $10 and $15 a year. Yet, extensions such as .net or .name are sometimes cheaper.
But, it's best to buy a .com domain. A .com domain is easier to remember and faster to enter into your smartphone when you're running out the door.
How Do You Get a Custom Domain?
Now that you know all about custom domains, you probably want to know “How do I get one of those,” right?
Choose Your Domain Name
It is vital that you go with a name that isn't generic.
Pick a name that visitors can easily associate with your company. Also, keep it short, easy to type, and easy to pronounce. Avoid using special characters, numbers, and hyphens.
You can also use domain name generators like Wordoid or Looka to help you come up with suggestions.
Select a Domain Registrar
Several domain registrars are available to pick from, such as Name.com, Namecheap, Domain.com, etc.
Each of these domain registrars has its peculiarities. Some domain registrars don’t have the license to sell domain name extensions. For example, some domain registrars can’t sell custom domains with country-code extensions such as .ca or .in.
Or they might offer various services (free and paid) along with the domain name registration.
Once you have decided on a domain registrar, the next step is to search for the name you want.
Search for the Name You Want
On your preferred domain registrar, search to see if your desired domain name is available.
If it isn't available, you can either try to buy it from the current owner (this option can be expensive) or search for different domain names until you find one that suits your brand and is available.
Don't Forget About Privacy and Protection
After selecting a domain name, make sure to add domain privacy and protection. This protects your information (both personal and corporate) from being listed on public databases such as the WHOIS database.
That way, your business stays protected from attacks. No one can access any personal information about your company or its employees.
Another way to secure your domain name running on the server is to install an SSL certificate. You can choose, for example, a wildcard SSL certificate like Comodo wildcard SSL, Sectigo wildcard SSL, and GlobalSign wildcard SSL in case there are subdomains running under the main domain.
Purchase Variations of Your Custom Domain
Buying variations of your custom domain is a nifty hack for retaining all traffic intended for your site.
These variations include misspellings, alternatives, and relevant extensions.
For example, after purchasing a johnsmith.com custom domain name, you could also choose to buy a johnsmith.net or johnsmith.org. That way, when a visitor types in the wrong extension, your hosting provider redirects them to your website.
Extras & Add-Ons
As an extra, you can include how long you want your domain registration to last.
Most registrars allow you to set it up for many years, and they might even offer a discount for such a package.
Other add-ons include emails, SSL certification, hosting plans, etc.
Connect Your Custom Domain
Once you have bought and registered your custom domain, the next and final step will be to connect your custom domain to your hosting account.
It's an easy process that you can do right from the dashboard of your hosting account. Follow the prompts, and you will set up your custom domain in no time.
Are You Ready to Create Your Custom Domain?
Now you know the benefits of having a custom domain over a generic one and the steps required to create one.
You can buy and register a domain name, but when you consider all the time and effort that you've poured into building up your brand — take the time to get it right.
But once you’ve figured out the perfect domain name for your business, snap it up before someone else does.
So, get out there and get your custom domain now!
Dozie Anyaegbunam is a B2B content writer and strategist. A Cannes Lions certified storyteller, Dozie has crafted compelling content for brands such as Mirasee, SmartBlogger, Growth Mentor, and more. He's also Dodo and Ronan's dad, a proud flâneur, and a Felix Baumgartner wannabe. Don't miss his newsletter, Efikó, where he riffs about social and content strategy.