I think we can agree that one of the most frustrating parts of being online is having to figure out what domain to use for your website. In the past, you might have had a few options in mind when you needed one — like.com,.net, or.org — but today, the choices can feel endless. And let’s face it: no matter what you’re looking for, there’s usually more than one domain extension that works great for you.

What if there was a simple solution to this problem? What if I told you that you could acquire a custom domain for around $12 a year, and that’s all you need to do to get started?

You may be thinking that this is too good to be true, but I assure you it’s not. With a little bit of research and planning, you too can be adding your own domain names to your site in no time! In this article, I’ll walk you through the steps to add a custom domain name to your website.

Why A Custom Domain Name Is The Answer

To begin with, let’s acknowledge that having a custom domain is a great way to brand your business. It’s fairly easy to find other businesses with the same or similar names as yours, which can make it rough for potential customers to find you. For example, let’s say you’re a flower shop and you choose to register the domain name florist-ca.com. A quick search on Google shows you hundreds of results, including a bunch of other flower shops. This is obviously not the kind of impression you want to leave prospective customers (or any customers, for that matter).

On the other hand, if you have a custom domain, you can use a tool like Google Apps to build out your website. Apps brings all the standard features you’d expect from a Google cloud platform, like Gmail, Drive, and Calendar, but with the added bonus of a custom domain name. You can use these tools to build out a mobile-optimized website that feels just as good as your desktop site.

How To Get The Best Domain Name For Your Business

The first step to adding a domain name to your site is to purchase it. In general, you want to look for a.com domain name that is as relevant to your business as possible. Also, make sure it is a name that is not already taken by another business. For instance, if you run a floral business and you choose florist-ca.com, someone else has already claimed that domain name. Better to choose a different.com domain name that is more closely associated with your business.

The second step is to pick out a web host. Remember: your custom domain will live on a server somewhere so you’ll need to choose a web host that is both affordable and reliable. A common suggestion is to choose the Amazon Web Services because of their generous.com plan. With AWS, you can get a dedicated IP address that you can use to establish yourself as an authoritative website for your business; and let’s face it, with Amazon’s prices, it’s a great value. Plus, with AWS, you’ll have the added bonus of being able to install WordPress to build out your website.

Step By Step Instructions

Ok, now that you have your domain name and your web host, it’s time to install WordPress to build out your website. In this case, we’ll be using a free WordPress host, SquareSpace, but it doesn’t matter which one you choose as long as it’s open source and has a fairly simple setup.

First, login to your web host and click on ‘My Sites’ to see your existing sites. Then, click on the ‘Dashboard’ button to get to the WordPress dashboard. From there, click on ‘Settings’ and then on the ‘Wording’ tab to start editing.

Once you’re on the Wording page of the settings menu, you’ll see a box labeled ‘Name This Site’. In this box, you can input the name of your website, followed by a hyphen and then by the domain name you purchased from GoDaddy (in our example, ‘florist-ca.com’).

Next, you’ll want to click on the ‘Save Changes’ button at the top of the page.

One of the great things about SquareSpace is that once you’ve entered the first couple of letters of your website’s name, you’ll see a list of matching domains with their prices. From here, you can either purchase one of the domains or you can continue to refine your search with the ‘Narrow By’ feature. When you find the perfect domain name, click on it to go to the next step.

Launching Your Website With A Custom Domain Name

Now that you have a functional website, it’s time to make it look amazing. One way is to install a custom theme that is optimized for mobile viewing. This way, you can assure users that everything they see is relevant to their needs and that your website is easy to navigate on a small screen.

To get started, click on ‘Appearance’ in the dashboard menu, then click on the ‘Themes’ tab. In this tab, you can download and install a WordPress theme that is suitable for your needs. In our example, we’ll be using the TwentyThree theme, which is free and open source, meaning you can easily modify it to fit your needs. Once you’ve downloaded the theme, you can either click on ‘Install Now’ to install it or you can click on ‘Preview’ to see the theme in action. Remember: for a mobile-optimized site, you don’t want to choose a complex theme that may not look the same on a mobile phone as it does on a computer. Choose a simple theme that will display correctly on both platforms.

Now that you have a custom theme installed, it’s time to configure it. In the dashboard menu, click on ‘Settings’ and then on the ‘General’ tab. In here, you can input the name of your new blog or website, the address (URL), and the email address associated with the blog or website. You can also set a password for this site if you don’t want to use the same password for other online accounts. After you’ve entered this information, click on ‘Save Changes’ to confirm.

Making Money With Your Website

Whether you monetize your website or blog with Google AdSense, you’ll want to choose an affiliate program that is relevant to your business. In our example, we’ll be using Amazon’s affiliates program because it’s one of the most popular ones. Once you’ve joined, you’ll see a dashboard with advertisements that are relevant to your niche. You can use these advertisements to earn a commission when a user clicks on a sponsored link or buys a product that’s promoted on your site.

If you’d like, you can choose to display these advertisements on every page of your site. When your readers click on them, they’ll be taken away from your content to a different website. However, if you’d rather keep your content uninterrupted, you can choose to have the advertisements appear only on the blog posts and pages where you’ve marked them as ‘Sponsored’. This choice is up to you.

The great thing about having a custom domain is that you can easily build out sub-domains to support additional websites or blogs. In our example, we’ll be creating a blog for our flower shop, so let’s navigate to the ‘Blogs’ tab in the dashboard menu. Here, we can use the WordPress dashboard to establish a new blog. To do this, click on ‘Add New’ to see a list of available sub-domains. In this example, we’ll use the domain name florist-ca.com to establish our blog, so we can create a blog for the flower shop called BLOORIST.com. To create a blog, all you need is a simple, descriptive name and an email address. Once you’ve created the blog, you can add content to it by using the ‘Write’ tab on the WordPress dashboard. You can modify the content on these pages as needed and when you’ve finished, click on ‘Save Changes’ at the top of the page to confirm.