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A domain name is your site address.
For example, www.websitesforarchitects.org
You buy a domain name from an internet domain registrar like GoDaddy. Once you buy it you redirect it to your hosting company where your website files are located. More on that below.
- Buy a domain name from a registrar, like GoDaddy
- Pick a name as close to your practice name as possible
- Choose a country specific domain name if you are outside the US. For example use a .com.au domain if you’re in Australia
Choosing a domain name
- Get a domain name as close to your practice name as possible, so if your practice is John Smith Architects try and get the domain johnsmitharchitects.com
- Stick to .com if you can, and .org or .net as a secondary option
- If you’re not a global practice then use a domain extension that matches your country. So if you’re operating in Australia get a .com.au, rather than just a .com. This is because it will help you rank higher for local search results and most people search for architects typing in a phrase like, Architect [city name]. You can find your countries domain extension here
- Including the word Architect or Architects in your name may improve your Google rankings. So Johnsmitharchitects.com may rank higher than just johnsmith.com if someone is searching for Architect Melbourne. I’d personally still prefer to shorter johnsmith.com because it’s easy for real people to remember and very neat for business cards, but if you find that your name is taken don’t feel like you’re missing out, you may get other advantages
- Avoid stupid characters like dashes in your domain name. It just makes it so much harder to remember
Get your domain name
If you need a domain extension for a specific country click on the more options button after you search for a domain name. This will allow you to refine your search for domain extensions like .com.au or .org.uk.
Direct your domain name to your host server
After you buy a domain name you need to connect it with your website. This is a two step process:
- You need to login into the control panel of your domain registrar (ie Godaddy) and point the domain name to your hosting company (ie, WPengine). (Instructions for doing this with Godaddy and WPengine can be found here.)
- Hosting companies get lots of domain names pointed towards their server so they need to know which domain belongs to which website. You do this part via your hosts control panel but if you’re using WPengine as your host then just follow the steps below (I couldn’t find instructions on the WPengine site for this, so I just wrote down what I did when setting up this site)
Tell your host that you own a domain name
These instructions are specific to WPengine.
- Login to your WPengine account at my.wpengine.com (This is not your site, this is the WPengine account page)
- Click on manage WordPress (it should be on the top left hand side)
- Click on Domains at the top of the page
- Enter your new domain name, eg www.johnsmitharchitects.com and press the Add New Domain button. Make sure you enter the domain name without any extra characters like http:// otherwise you’ll get an error.
- That’s it, now your new domain will point to your website. The only problem is that even though you’re getting to your site ok, the URL will still be www.yourname.wpengine.com. To change this follow the next step.
- Login to your WordPress admin panel (www.yoursite.com/wp-admin) and select general settings from the menu on the left hand side.
- Enter you new domain name into both these fields: WordPress Address (URL), and Site Address (URL)
- Your site with the adjusted domain name will now ask you to login. You’re all done. (This is probably the hardest part of the process, so if you’ve gotten this far pat yourself on the back and have a beer)
- Tips for architects choosing a domain name
- How to connect your Go Daddy domain name with WPengine hosting