Getting a domain name for your home staging business is the first step to getting a website. It is a fairly easy process, but one that most home stagers may not even know where to start.
First let’s define what a domain name actually is. The domain name is basically a website address. For example, the domain name for Stager Sidekick is www.StagerSidekick.com. The term “domain name” is often used synonymously with the acronym URL (Uniform Resource Locator), but there are some technical differences between a URL and domain name.
Now there are usually two questions that come up:
- How do I choose my domain name?
- How do I get a domain name?
How to Choose Your Domain Name
We’re going to assume that you already have a name for your business. It could be descriptive like “Super Fancy Exotic Vacant Home Staging”, or as simple as “Jane Doe Home Staging”.
The first thing you want to do is to write down a several options for your domain name on a piece of paper. Yes, paper. We’re going old school.
To illustrate how this works, let’s say your business is called “Jane Doe Home Staging”. Ideally, you would probably want your website address to be “JaneDoeHomeStaging.com”, right? That would be the first option that you write on your piece of paper.
That website address would be perfect if you could get it. But how do you know there isn’t a Jane Doe Home Staging on the other side of the country who already has JaneDoeHomeStaging.com as their domain name? Two businesses can’t have the same website address. So what do you do now? The answer is to write down a few more options. So your list might look like this:
They’re descriptive of your business, and fairly easy for people to type in to get to your website. So now we’re ready for the next step, which is the process of actually getting your domain name.
How to Get Your Domain Name
To purchase your domain name, you will need two things: your list of possible domain names and your credit card. The process is very simple:
- Go to NameCheap, which is the domain registrar that we recommend. A “registrar”, for your purposes, is simply a company that can sell you a domain name. For about the same price as other leading registrars, NameCheap includes privacy for free…and who doesn’t like privacy? We are an affiliate for NameCheap, because they are the registrar that we prefer and use.
- Type the first domain name from your list into the search box. In our example, that would be “JaneDoeHomeStaging.com”. Then NameCheap will search to see if your domain name is available.
- If your first domain name is available then great! Nobody else has it, and you can purchase it. If it’s not available, then NameCheap will let you know, and you will have to try the next domain name option from your list, like “JaneDoeStaging.com” from our example.
- When you find a domain that is available, select it to add it to your cart so that you can purchase it. Every domain registrar will try to upsell you on a lot of different services and features, but you don’t need any of them. You just need your domain name.
- NameCheap will give you the option to buy your domain name for just one year, or for multiple years. Do what you feel is right for you, but the longer the term you purchase for, the better deal that you get. You can always renew it at the end of the term that you pay for.
- And finally, pay for it. You are now the official owner of a domain name!
If you are making your own website, then you have completed the first, necessary step. However, if you are having someone else make your website for you, then you will have to give that person or company access to manage your domain through NameCheap so that they can change the necessary settings. Don’t worry, they will be able to explain how to give access for them to manage it.
What NOT to Do When Choosing a Website Address
You saw that getting a website address is a very easy process. But before you start the process, there are a couple of things that you should make sure that you don’t do.
First, there are few types of characters you should avoid using in your domain name, if you can. You’re not allowed to use special characters such as !, @, #, and $, so we won’t even discuss those. But the characters to avoid are a dash (-) and numbers (1,2,3,4… or one, two, three, four…). Here’s the reason why:
- A dash adds a layer of difficulty for someone going to your website. Consider the difference between telling someone to go to “Super Fancy Exotic Vacant Home Staging dot com” where they would type in “SuperFancyExoticVacantHomeStaging.com”, or to go to “Super dash Fancy dash Exotic dash Vacant dash Home dash Staging dot com” where they would have to type in “Super-Fancy-Exotic-Home-Staging.com”. Trust me, dashes in website addresses are no good.
- Numbers add confusion when giving out your website address. If you want your website address to be HomeStaging4Less.com, how does the person know whether to type the number “4”, the word “four”, or the word “for”? Don’t add any layer of difficulty for the potential client to get to your website.
Next, don’t choose a domain name that has a trademark or another company’s name. This can get you into trouble. For example, if you are a home stager and a Realtor, then don’t name your website “JaneDoeRealtor.com”. The name Realtor is trademarked, and the National Association of Realtors can and will force you to take down your website.
Also, don’t get anything except .com. Only in rare circumstances do you want to get a .net, .co, or .us. If the .com version of your domain name isn’t available, use the next domain name written on your list. That means don’t get JaneDoeHomeStaging.net if JaneDoeHomeStaging.com is already taken.
Finally, make sure it’s something that is easy for people to remember and type. Don’t try to get too tricky by using complicated words or names. Simple is better.
Final Thoughts on Domain Names for Your Home Staging Business
If you have a home staging business, you need a website. A domain name is the first step to getting a website. Since you will likely have your website for a long time, make sure you choose a domain name that you can live with, basically, forever. You won’t want to have to ever change it.
Buy your domain sooner rather than later. If you are Jane Doe the home stager, and your domain is available, then get it now. You never know if there will be a Jane Doe on the other side of the country that starts home staging soon and grabs the domain before you do.
Good luck with your domain purchase.