Choose the Right Domain Name
Search for and check domain availability
Domain names were invented to make any web resource easier to remember, find, and access. This is the most important factor to consider when choosing which domains to purchase.
One thing to note when registering a domain name is that you need a web hosting account to house your website and emails. A domain alone with not provide you with the tools to upload your website or create personalised email addresses.
Domains for websites are by far the most common. Your site’s domain is the name people use to find your site. So it is important that you choose the right domain the first time because changing it can be disastrous to your website’s search engine rankings and subsequently, your business.
Choosing the right domain name doesn't need to be a daunting task. That's why we've put together a quick guide to help you make an informed decision to register the right domain name for your business.
Factors to consider when choosing a domain name
First and foremost, make sure the name you have in mind is not trademarked. These infringements can result in the owner of the trademark claiming your hard work and sometimes profits from the website as their own. This will also rule out many unavailable options.
Make it Memorable
Now, for the creative part. Make it memorable and ensure that it’s easy to pronounce. Unique, brandable names are much more memorable and likely to be shared. A domain name cannot contain spaces your can however use underscores and hyphens.
It’s also important to be clear. If possible your domain name should immediately convey what your website and business is about. Including niche appropriate keywords in your domain name can signal to Google how your site is relevant.
Finally, choose an appropriate domain extension. A .com domain is a universal choice but depending on your needs or nature of business, you might have to choose a different option. There are geographical domains like a .co.ke domain, or a category for example, .pro .guru .space and so on.
How to get a domain name
The domain name process can be broken down into the following 5 steps. Here's what you need to do:
Choose the right domain name
The first step is to decide which domains you would like to purchase. Keep them short and easy to remember as you'll probably be using these for email purposes as well.
Check if the domain is available
Next you'll want to check if the domains are available to buy. WHOIS servers provide a record of all domain registrations. Use our WHOIS lookup tool to see if your domain is available.
Choose a domain registrar
The third step is to choose a domain registrar. A domain registrar is typically a hosting company with the authority to sell domains. Prices will vary at different hosting companies and some hosts may provide a hefty discount up front. While this may be enticing - be sure to check the renewal fees before purchasing a domain.
Buy your domain
The fourth step is easy. Simply add your chosen domains to the cart, complete the checkout process which includes adding your details, and pay the invoice which has been generated. Be sure to add hosting for your domains if you don't already have hosting.
Wait for dns propagation
Once our system registers the domain(s) there will be a period where DNS needs to propagate world wide. This can take up to 24 hours to complete. Once progation has completed, your domain will be ready to use.
Domain name strategy
More than 110,000 domains are registered every day. Consequently, the number of domains available dwindle with each passing day. When you’re planning which domains to buy, it’s critical that you act quickly. Then, once you’ve registered your business name and domain name, it’s essential to protect your brand online.
The average online customer cannot distinguish official domains and websites from fake ones, so there are countless opportunists who capitalise on this. They leech off successful brands by buying similar domain names to steal clients who are none the wiser. Unless you’ve trademarked your brand name, it’s near impossible to get these counterfeit sites removed.
Hence, a domain name strategy can safeguard your brand from current or future competitors.
This entails buying as many variations of your domain and brand names as you can to prevent others from abusing them.
First, buy all popular extensions to your domain name, such as .com, .net, .biz, and .co.ke. For example, we own hostafrica.co.ke, then we bought hostafrica.com, and hostafrica.net. This is most important, because if you own mybusiness.com and someone buys mybusiness.net, most people wouldn’t notice the difference in the extension and think it’s your brand.
Then, buy domain name variations of your brand name that might apply. For instance, buy hyphenated versions of your original domain name, like host-africa.co.ke. Lastly, other adaptations include misspellings like mibusiness.com , plural or singular versions, and names that sound the same but are spelt differently.
The top domains to buy for your business
A root domain consists of two parts within your website URL that you can choose and register. The first part, a domain name, sits in between the two dots. Our domain name is “hostafrica”. The best domain names to buy are names most relevant to your website and easiest to remember. As our name conveys, we are a hosting provider in Africa.
The second part of a root domain is called the Top-Level domain (TLD) or domain extension. This helps categorise domains to show further relevancy. Our extension is .co.ke, which shows we are a commercial company based in Kenya. .co and .com are now known for commercial purposes, specifically for-profit business entities.
As you know, .com is the most popular extension in the world, and therefore the most memorable and trustworthy. However, the .com domain space is so saturated that there are few .com domains available.
Other prominent TLDs are .org for non-profit organisations, and .net for networking purposes. Along with .com, these are known as generic top-level domains, best for business websites with an international target audience.
There are also country code top-level domains (ccTLD) such as co.ke for Kenya, .uk for the United Kingdom, and .de for Germany. These extensions are generally restricted to residents or businesses based in these countries. In some countries like Kenya, ccTLDs carry just as much weight as .com.
In fact, Google considers a country code extension is a strong relevancy signal for the local audience. Hence, having a ccTLD can help your business website rank better in that specific country. Google also prioritises websites with a local server IP address.
So, if your target audience is in Kenya, .co.ke would be the top domains to buy for your business, and HOSTAFRICA’s local servers would be perfect place to host your business sites. However, it’s important to note that a country-specific extension can limit your website from ranking worldwide.
Frequently asked questions
If you still have unanswered questions, please reach out to us and we’ll be happy to assist.
In layman’s terms, a domain name is most commonly a website’s ‘address’ online. In our URL www.hostafrica.co.ke, the domain name is “hostafrica” and sits between the two periods.
More accurately, a domain name can be thought of as a word-based address used to locate any resource on the internet.
Buying a domain name is a fairly straightforward process:
- Choose a domain name: The first step is to decide which domains you would like to purchase.
- Check domain availability: Next you'll want to check if the domains are available to buy. Use our WHOIS lookup tool to see if your domain is available.
- Register your domain: Simply add your chosen domains to the cart, complete the checkout process.
Simply type the domain name into our search bar at the top of any of our domain pages and click the "check domain" button.
If the exact domain you're looking for has been registered, our system will display a few other options for you to choose from.
Once you find a domain you'd like to purchase, simply click on the "order now" button and proceed to checkout.
Domains are purchased on an annual basis. When you buy a domain, it is only yours to own for a year. If you don’t renew a domain, it will become publicly available for anyone on the planet to snatch up. Enabling the auto-renew feature with us will help to prevent this from happening.
At HOSTAFRICA, we don’t offer DNS management as a separate service for domains registered with another company. If you’d like to buy domains without hosting and manage your own DNS records, make sure to purchase your domains with us.
If you bought a new domain with us with no hosting plan, our system registers the domain and sends you a registration confirmation email. By default, your new domain will point to our name servers. If you specify custom name servers that have no records, your domain will then be placed in a ‘Hold’ state, which means it’s unusable until it’s pointed to name servers.
If you’re unhappy with your first-choice hosting/domain provider, transferring your domain is a relatively simply process. However, it should be noted that a domain cannot be transferred if it is within its first month of registration. Contact our helpful support for expert guidance.
Brand new, the price of domain names depends on the top-level domain or domain extension chosen with the domain name. Country-specific TLDs like .co.ke can be affordable at KSh999 per year. Whereas popular generic extensions like .com, .org, and .net are almost 3 times the price. Novelty domain extensions like .pet, .organic, and .guitars can range from affordable to very expensive.
Purchase any of our web hosting plans and get a free .co.ke domain name. The domain will be free for the first year, and will be renewed at the normal renewal price thereafter.