You made the step to open a website for your business, but how do you go about getting a free domain name? Having a domain for your website is vital for your business. A domain elevates your business by giving your website credibility. Moreover, it’s a great advertising opportunity. Essentially, obtaining a domain for your website is a worthwhile investment. However, domains can be expensive and aren’t always practical for startups. So, you may ask yourself, “What should I do?”. Building a website isn’t easy and it can be confusing for newcomers. This article will aid you in acquiring a free domain name for your website so you can make the most out of your business.
Web Domain Names
Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s explain what a web domain is and why you should care about it. A web domain is the name of your website. For example, SEO Design Chicago’s domain name is seodesignchicago.com. Google’s domain name is Google.com. Wikipedia’s domain name is wikipedia.org. A web domain and a URL have similarities, but a URL is a direct link to a website. There is also a difference between .net vs .com domain names.
For instance, the URL for SEO Design Chicago’s home page is https://seodesignchicago.com. A subdomain is an extension of your primary domain. It functions as a navigational and organizational tool for your website. Subdomains usually consist of social media pages and other web pages on your website. Oftentimes, websites such as WordPress offer subdomains for free. To clarify, a subdomain for SEO Design Chicago would be our blog or seodesignchicago.com/blog.
Why You Should Invest
A domain name might seem insignificant in comparison to other elements of web design and web hosting, but it’s an element that will set your website apart from the rest. Having a domain name makes things easier for you in the long run. Most importantly, a domain name aids in your business’s branding. You should see a domain name as word-of-mouth. For websites that operate as a companion piece to a business, sharing the domain name can expand your audience.
Examples of Domain Name Use
For the sake of clarity, let’s say we own a popular hot dog stand called Tyler’s Hot Dogs. If all of our branding has our domain name, tylershotdogs.com, our customers are more likely to visit our website if they enjoy our products. Moreover, it’s easier to advertise our business and our website if they have the same or at least a similar name. A domain name, or for the benefit of this article, a free domain name is a marketing tactic.
In addition, acquiring a domain name sooner rather than later will benefit you in the long run. In the case you decided to switch hosts or servers, you can keep your URL. Let’s revisit Tyler’s Hot Dogs. If our first domain name is tylershotdogs.com but we have to change to tylersbesthotdogs.com, it can confuse our current audience base. If a customer wants to buy one of our products (let’s say we sell our special mustard on our website) and they visit our old domain tylershotdogs.com only to find it vacant, they’ll believe we’re out of business.
You don’t have to be a computer science whiz to register for your own free domain name. Luckily, there are a handful of services and sites that will walk you through the process and aid you in building and hosting your website. Now, what does it mean to register for a free web domain? While you can “own” a domain name, ultimately you’re only renting the name. To revisit our Tyler’s Hot Dogs example, we could have bought tylershotdogs.com from a previous owner. Likewise, if we chose not to renew our lease on the domain, someone else can take the name from us. We only own the name for as long as we pay for a monthly or yearly fee.
Free Web Domain Name Options
Domain names can range from a few dollars to several thousand per year. These prices depend on the format of your website and the rarity of the name. For a small or an up-and-coming business, an expensive name is usually not feasible. Thankfully, there are free web domain options you can choose from. Some services offer domain names alongside web hosting capabilities. You must understand what you need before you start shopping around. To have a website, you need to find a web host. A web host is where your website is “stored.” This is where all of your website’s files will be located. Try not to confuse it with a domain name. A domain name is what your website is called.
Free Domain Services
Squarespace is a service that offers website templates, website building, and web analytics alongside domain name registration and domain transfer. A domain transfer is when you import a previous domain name onto another web hosting site. Moreover, Squarespace offers customizable and free domain name registration. However, it’s only free for a year and is only feasible with the purchase of one of their annual plans.
WIX is a website-building service that gifts a free domain name for your first year as an annual subscriber. They have three different website packages: website plans, business and e-commerce plans, and enterprise plans. These plans range from $14.99 to $500 a month. Without paying for the web hosting service, the base pay for a domain is approximately $12.95 a year.
Weebly is a web hosting site that offers a domain name for free for its first year. Without an annual plan, a domain costs $19.95 to $49.00 a year depending on the domain. They do offer a free subdomain registration service but in the chance you decide to move to a different web hosting site, you’ll have to pay a transfer fee.
GoDaddy is a web hosting site that offers a free domain name with an annual subscription to its service. Their plans range from $1.00 to $12.99 a month with a subtle increase after the first year. Without their web hosting service, a domain name registration ranges from $1.99 to $14.99 a year. After the first year, there’s a subtle price increase.
WordPress is a website-building service. They offer a free domain name for one year with the purchase of one of their monthly or annual service packages. WordPress has four packages for sale on their website: personal, premium, business, and e-commerce. The prices range from $4 to $59 a month. However, their free service does not include a free domain name. Without taking part in their web-building services, the cost of a domain name ranges from $15 to $80 a year.
DreamHost is a web hosting and website-building service that is compatible with WordPress. They offer a free web domain name with their packages. DreamHost offers two packages: shared starter and shared unlimited. They range from $2.59 to $3.95 a month as of May 2021. They may be purchased on a monthly or yearly basis. Furthermore, they offer a separate domain name registration service. However, the prices range from $0.89 upwards to $40 for registration alone. There are renewal and transfer fees that have increased from the original registration price. DreamHost also offers an unlimited amount of subdomains.
Bluehost is a web hosting site that allows you to pick a domain name for free for the first year. They’re also a service that’s compatible with WordPress. You’ll have to pay for a web hosting package to get the free domain name. Their packages range from $2.95 to $119.99 depending on the renewal period. The packages are split up into three categories: shared hosting, dedicated hosting, and VPS hosting. Unfortunately, without the web hosting option, picking a domain name will range from $1.99 to $22.99 per year depending on the domain (.com, .net, .blog, etc.).
How to Pick the Best Free Domain Name Service
You might ask yourself, “Which free web domain name service is better? Is GoDaddy better than WIX? Is WordPress better than Squarespace? Should I use WordPress, Dreamhost, or Bluehost?” To answer these questions, it depends on your business needs. One of the most important things you can do when building a website is to research and understand what you want your website to offer. Are you an e-commerce website or a blog? Do you expect to have a constant influx of web visitors or is your website a companion piece to your business? In short, it’s subjective. Essentially, having a strong business plan is vital when picking the right web hosting and domain registration service for you.
Google Domains vs. Free Domains
While conducting your own research, you probably ran into Google’s domain registration service called Google Domains. Unlike Google Analytics, this service is not free. Moreover, unlike the options listed above, Google Domains is solely a domain registration service. Google Domains has its own array of perks such as a flat domain renewal rate of approximately $12 a year, integration into other website-building platforms, and compatibility with G-suite. However, to reiterate, this is not a free domain name service. Are you confused about which web hosting and free web domain name packages are right for you and your business? SEO Design Chicago offers an array of services such as marketing advice, SEO assistance, and web design capabilities. Contact us to schedule a consultation today!
- What is a domain?
- How to get a domain name for free?
- Is Google Domains free?
- How much do domain names cost?
- Are domain names a good investment?