A Domain name is the unique name of a website, just like azhowto.com. There are many registrars around and the cost to register a new domain name can range anywhere from 4 to 30 USD per year. Domain name Registration and Web hosting is a different thing. You can register your domain name from company A and host it in company B. In simple terms, a domain name service provider stores your domain name and points it to the web host which stores all your web pages.
Instead of getting free domain names, we encourage you to get unique domain names. A unique domain name is something like azhowto.com wheareas free domain names are usually sub-domains, ie woocommerce.azhowto.com, testing.blogspot.com …etc. You can run your whole shopping cart in sub-domains but there are too many advantages in buying your own domain name. You have to trust me on this.
Choosing A Good Domain Name
Choosing a domain name is a serious business. A good domain name is easy to remember and contains the keyword that you want. You can choose to buy a new domain name or an expired one. Some expired domain names are well established and worth buying (They have many websites linking to it which is good for seo). flippa.com is a good website to buy old domain names.
Using Keywords in your Domain Name
If you buy a new domain name, basically you start everything from scratch. Google tends to prevent new websites from ranking well in search engine for a start. You have to build up your reputation in the web, built up good content and get people to link to you and so on. However, having said that, building a successful website from scratch often gives you great sense of satisfaction. You do not have to worry about the history of the website, anything about the previous owner and the domain transfer procedures.
If you want to sell php ebooks for example, your url should ideally be something like this: php-ebooks.com. Noticed that I put a dash “-” to separate the keywords. Though longer to type, the url will be stronger than phpebooks.com. The later url is shorter but harder for the search engines to decipher. However, it is said that search engines are getting more intelligent and able to decode the urls and extract the keywords.
There are other things that you might also consider when choosing domain names. Factors such as company’s prestige and whether the url is easy to remember are important as well. Take the previous url “php-ebooks.com” for example, we could also take the first letter of PHP and call it pebooks.com. In this case, the url becomes totally meaningless. If my company is already quite popular, I dont need to stuff keywords in my url because it will make my company look unprofessional. Take BMW for example, they just need to register for bmw.com instead of something like prestige-cars.com. duckduckgo.com is also a good example of how a wierd domain name (who would think that this is a search engine?) without good keywords can rank well in google.
In short, domain name containing keywords provide slight short term gain but good inbound links is more critical to rank well in google. Getting good links is a different topic altogether.
Does the extension matters?
Yes, it matters alot. Whether you choose a .com (general), com.au (Australia), or a .co.uk (United Kingdom)…etc depends a lot on the location of the audience you are targeting. If you own a web design firm in UK and your domain is a .com and hosted in US, it is harder for people in UK to find you because search engines know where people are searching from and tends to give priority to websites that are hosted in their location. This is call this geo-targeting. In short, a well optimised .com.au website can rank well both in google.com (Google General) and google.com.au (Google Australia). A .com website may loose out to a .com.au website in google.com.au. Furthermore, many companies bought large number of good .com, .net …etc doman names in order to sell them at a higher price, making it hard for you to get a good domain name. Though a country specific domain name can be more expensive, you often get better chances to choose a good domain name.
Depending on your budget, a .info, .biz, .me or some funny extensions might be cheaper to register but harder to remember. A .com, .net or .org domain name seems to be more popular and easily remembered.
So, please take some time to choose a good domain name before you start anything!