WordPress Tutorial #1

I recommend Namecheap.com as a domain name registrar. Here I’ll step you through instructions for registering your domain with them.

If you choose a different registrar, follow their instructions. They’ll need the same basic information as Namecheap, though, so you can organize what you need ahead of time.

Here’s the screen you see when you first navigate to Namecheap’s website.

#1. Check to make sure your domain name is available

First we’re going to see if our preferred domain name is available. Here’s what you first see when you go to Namecheap.com.

Here's the first screen you see at Namecheap

Next, type in the domain name you want to check.

type the domain you want into Namecheap

I’ve typed in “wpbuildingblocks” in the space above. They automatically fill in the “www” at the beginning and the “.com” at the end.

If you don’t want a .com — maybe your site is for a nonprofit so you want .org — you can enter the extension you want, or click the box to select from a list of available top-level domains.

Namecheap lists available domain extensions

As you see, we get a message that wpbuildingblocks.com is not available.

domain not available message

Let’s try something else. Let’s search for MrEdTalkingHorse.com.

Namecheap tells us this domain name is available

Fortunately, this one’s available.

Notice that “MrEdTalkingHorse is also available for .net, .org, .info, .biz and other extensions. If you want to make sure nobody grabs up your business name online, you should register the name with all the most popular extensions.

Many businesses also reserve some of the more common negative variations of their business name — “MrEdTalkingHorseSucks.com,” ‘MrEdTalkingHorseScam.com” and so on. This can help down the road if a disgruntled customer, vendor or ex-employee wants to say nasty things about you online.

#2. Add to Shopping Cart

Click the “Add to Cart” button (#1).

Add to cart

Now you see that the domain was successfully added to the shopping cart.

successfully added to the Namecheap shopping cart

Click View Cart to see more details.

click View Cart to see more details

Click the dropdown to select a time period, from 1 year to 10. Toggle the auto-renew button if you want to renew your domain name automatically at the end of that time. Note that they’ll display your selected domain name with a different available extension – click the paperclip icon to save it for later, or the x to delete it.

Namecheap automatically gives you a year of WhoisGuard free when you register a domain name with them. I recommend enabling WhoisGuard, as it can cut down on the amount of spam email you’re likely to get.

They also offer you Premium DNS, a hosting plan and a few other goodies. We’re going to ignore those for right now. (In fact, even though it might seem easier, I don’t ever recommend hosting with your registrar.)

#3 Create Your Account

As soon as you click Confirm Order, Namecheap will ask you to log into your account, or create an account.

create your Namecheap account

At this point you need to create an account. Just fill in your preferred:

  • username
  • password (twice)
  • first name
  • last name
  • email

If you want their newsletter, leave the checkbox alone, otherwise just deselect it. Then click the big red “Create Account and Continue” button.

#4 Complete your Registrant Information

Notice along the top of the screen your username now shows up (I’ve blocked mine out here, but yours will appear in the area I’ve enclosed in red).

Namecheap now shows your username

Now follow the prompts to complete your registrant information.

The Registrant Contact information is important.

You have space for four contacts — they can all be the same, or each one can be different.

The registrant should be the business owner or his/her agent. It’s the person with the authority to make decisions about the business.

The Administrative Contact is the person you want to handle the day-to-day stuff like renewing the registration.

The Technical Contact could be the business owner, or the head of the IT or Marketing department.

And the Billing Contact, obviously, is the person who handles accounts receivable for the company.

Chances are, if you’re here learning how to build your online house with WordPress, you’ll put your name in all four slots.

When you’re finished with all the registrant information, click the “Save and Continue” button, then go ahead and check out.

Time to Check Out!

Double check for accuracy, then select your payment method. Follow the on-screen prompts for entering your credit card or PayPal information.

When that’s done, you’ll see a Namecheap confirmation screen, and you’ll also receive an email containing important information. File it in a safe place for future reference.

Once you’ve received your email, go ahead and log out of Namecheap.

What’s Next?

Congratulations! You’ve just completed the first, important step in establishing your WordPress website!

Now you need to sign up for web hosting. Click here to find out more.

Do you have a question about Domain Name Registration? Ask me here.