Selecting and setting up a domain name can be a daunting task for any store owner. To help you out, we’ve compiled a handful of questions that clients have asked in our regular Success Workshops. The workshops are open to all BigCommerce clients, and teach you everything you need to know to open your store. If you haven’t attended one yet, you can register for a session online.
1.) How do I pick and purchase a good domain?
Choosing a domain name should be the one of the first things you research when you are developing your overall store brand. Your domain name is a key element of your store’s branding. Choosing the wrong domain name can hurt your business before you even get it off the ground.
It can be frustrating to research domain names, as inevitably many of your first choices will be taken. However, there are tools like IWantMyName that make the research and discovery phase a little easier.
Here are a few tips to help you choose a domain name.
- Keep your name short.
- Stick with common spellings. (i.e. Couture starts with a “C” not a “K.”)
- Stick with .com domains. They are generally better than .net, .info, .biz, .co, etc.
- Don’t use dashes, abbreviations or numbers in your domain name.
- Don’t buy a domain without researching its past history: Was it involved in any legal or trademark disputes? Were the previous owners engaging in blackhat SEO tactics? You can use a tool like who.is to find some basic background information before you make the purchase.
2. How to use an existing domain with my store?
If you already have a domain name that you bought from your web hosting company, it’s very simple to move it to your BigCommerce store. The easiest way is to just change your nameservers in your domain registrar (ex: Godaddy). You will need to point your nameservers to: ns1.bigcommerce.com and ns2.bigcommerce.com.
In most cases, this will be set up within a couple of hours. However, it may take up to 72 hours for the DNS settings to fully propagate across the Internet.
For a step-by-step guide (with screengrabs), visit this tutorial in our KnowledgeBase. When using this method, it’s not necessary to transfer your full domain name to us.
3.) How do I keep my email at my current registrar?
There are two options for how you can handle this. The easiest method is to use a CNAME record to point to your BigCommerce store, which only works if your BigCommerce store is on a subdomain like store.mybusiness.com. If you are setting up your BigCommerce store without a subdomain (such as www.mybusiness.com) you will need to point your nameservers to BigCommerce, then edit your DNS records in the BigCommerce Control Panel.
To use a subdomain, you will first need to use the Move to Domain tool within your store’s control panel.
- Then, go to your domain registrar (the company you purchased the domain through) and create what’s called a CNAME, making the forwarding URL your temporary store URL.
- For a full step-by-step guide with screen grabs, please read this article.
To set up a store that isn’t a subdomain, you will first need to change the nameservers. (see answer to question #2.)
- Then, edit the MX records to point to your old email provider.
- The MX record indicates what controls your email for your domain, and can be found with your current email provider.
- For a full step-by-step guide for how to change your MX record, please read this article.
4.) How do I set up my store as a subdomain of my current site?
This is a very similar process to the previous question.
Your BigCommerce store can reside at any domain you own and can change the DNS records for. Many sites have multiple parts to it, for example a store and a blog, which are on different subdomains.
If you’d like to have your BigCommerce store on a subdomain, you’ll need to use the Move to Domain tool and then go to your domain registrar (the company you purchased the domain through) and create what’s called a CNAME, making the forwarding URL the temporary URL of your store.
For an example of how to do this through GoDaddy, check out this article.
5.) Can I use more than one domain name?
We only allow one domain name to be set up per store. However, if you have a domain set up, you can point another URL towards the first one through a third party registrar, like GoDaddy. This is known as domain forwarding, which will allow you to point the domain to another location.
Do you have a question related to setting up or choosing your domain name? Please leave a comment below or tweet using the hashtag, #BCSellMore.
Want to learn even more? You can register for one of our free Interactive Success Workshops, which we hold throughout the week.
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