So you want to develop your own website? The first thing you need, beside a concept for the site’s content and purpose, is a domain name. To get you started, here’s your beginner’s guide to registering a domain name.

Step 1. Know the Definition

The domain name is essentially the address that you use to find the website. For example, if you type www.google.com into your browser, you’re going to get Google’s homepage. If you type in www.ps5home.com, you’ll get a website that’s all about the PlayStation 5. The domain name for your website is unique. No one else can use it or share it.

Step 2. Pick a Relevant Domain Name

When you choose a domain name, you need to select one that relates to the content or purpose of your website. If you’re running a florist shop, you need a website that uses words like flowers, arrangements, or the name of your business. A good domain name gives web users a clue about where they’re going. For example, the website for a funeral home probably shouldn’t have a domain name like www.daisyjoylife.com.

Step 3. Realize That You Might Need to Change the Plan

There are millions of websites out there. Someone else may have already picked out and registered the same domain name that you wanted. That’s why it’s ideal to have a list of various acceptable domain name options, rather than just one choice. For example, let’s say that you try to register www.daisyjoylife.com, only to find that someone else already claimed it. Have some other options ready to go in case your first choice is taken.

Step 4: Register with ICANN

Where do you find out which domain names are already taken? You’ll need to register for your domain name through ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. You probably won’t register with ICANN directly; instead, you’ll go through a domain name registrar, which is kind of like a middle man. Sometimes you can register a domain name through a web hosting service. After you type in the name of the domain you want, the registrar or hosting service will let you know whether or not it’s already taken.

Step 5: Pay for the Domain Name

Pull out your credit card or PayPal information! You’ll need to pay a fee to use the domain name for one year; after that, there will be an annual fee if you want to keep using the domain name. The fee is usually somewhere between $10-35 U.S. for just the domain name, so if someone wants to charge you more than that without including extra services, be wary and look for a different registrar.

Step 6: Protect Yourself

Before you go through a registrar or hosting service to obtain your domain name, do some research. Find reviews or ratings from people who have used that service before, and make sure that those users were pleased with the experience. There are malicious people who try to make money off of unsuspecting users, and you need to be sure that you are being treated fairly. Domain name registrars like GoDaddy, Namecheap, Gandi, HostGator, Sedo, and others have excellent reputations in the market.

What’s your favorite web hosting service or domain name registrar? Share your experience in the comments.