Today, MyIdeaPark officially introduces the ‘Website Building’ series for beginners. Last month, I posted an article titled ‘Web Hosting Can Be Easy Or It Can Be Super Hard’. In the post, I outlined my then current struggles with getting the site migrated from a shared hosting plan to a virtual private server (VPS). What should have been easy, turned into a technical nightmare.

Luckily, InMotion Hosting (the VPS provider I was migrating to) was super cool about the whole ordeal. They provided me with a full refund since I had used the server for less than a month. Not to mention that all of the problems were more than likely self-inflicted. Obviously, I love their customer service department so far.

In the end, I purchased another VPS hosting package from InMotion after doing a bit more research on site migrations. My buddy, Justin, gave me tons of useful information, again, which ultimately made the transition fairly easy and simple.

This post, however, is an attempt at simplifying the entire process of building websites, for beginners. If you’re somebody who wants to create your own website, but you don’t know where to begin, then this series is for you. If you’re an expert programmer with a background in HTML, I’m guessing that you won’t find very much useful information in here. At least not just yet, anyway.

I won’t be able to explain the process of building a website from start to finish in one post, though. In order to keep things simple, the individual post narratives for this series are going to be focused on singular topics, today’s being how to acquire a domain name.

Okay, so where do you start? Well, simple, you need to decide on the domain name you want. Think of something simple and easy to remember. Keep in mind that people visiting your site aren’t as emotionally invested in the name as you are. That doesn’t mean you need to change a domain name you’ve chosen. It’s just something to think about prior to choosing said name.

When I decided on MyIdeaPark, however, it was non-negotiable. It was a name I had created when I was just a kid, full of imagination and creativity. The perfect name for a site which admires, appreciates, and encompasses the arts. My point is, just because someone doesn’t recognize your domain yet, doesn’t mean that you can’t make it a household name. At one point or another, every successful company was at first unheard of.

So pick your name, then buy it. Yes, you actually have to purchase your domain name (if it’s available). There are a multitude of companies who sell domains, but I’m only going to suggest one, Namecheap. I’ve parked my domains at GoDaddy, HostGator, and a few others, but to date my favorite and most preferred company to use for domains is Namecheap.

Full disclosure, the Namecheap links on this page are affiliate links, meaning I receive a commission on every successful sale I refer. That’s not why I recommend Namecheap, though. The truth about affiliate marketing is that you can choose almost any company you prefer to become an affiliate for. So if I liked GoDaddy, HostGator, or another company, I could recommend their products and earn commissions from them, instead. For domains, though, I like Namecheap, which is why I’m recommending them.

There are a few reasons why I prefer Namecheap for my domains over their competitors. However, I’ll discuss these reasons in future posts as they pertain to various other aspects of building a website. If you’re still skeptical, though, below are some non-affiliate links to a few additional domain registrars. Feel free to use them if you feel like they’re better suited to fit your needs.

Once you’ve chosen a place to park your domain, you’ll need to input your desired site name to see if it’s available. All registrars are capable of confirming a domain name’s availability. If your site name is unavailable, then you can try using a different extension. Most websites use a ‘.com’ extension, but ‘.net’, ‘.org’, etc. are great alternatives in the event that your site name is unavailable. Otherwise, you’ll have to get creative and slightly tweak your desired name or change it altogether.

In the process of purchasing your domain name, you’ll be asked to include information which will be included in the WHOIS database. Don’t worry, this is just information related to the site’s owner (you) in order that you can be contacted in the event that the need arises. Read more about WHOIS here. I’ll go into more detail about the WHOIS database in future posts.

Okay, great. You’ve purchased your domain name. Congratulations! What’s next? Well, now you’ll need to purchase a hosting package in order to get your site live (online).

Join me next time as I detail, as simply as possible, the various hosting packages and what to buy.

Feel free to drop me a line in the comments below, or shoot me an email here.

Thanks for stopping by!