It is an address that points to a place on the internet called a 'website'. Every website has it's own, completely unique address. In order to have your own presence on the internet that is uniquely your own you must have a domain name. The most common format is the.com but there are many other common names that end in .org, .net, .ca and more.
If you want to have a Web Design that is yours alone and not hosting on someone else's property like the free website builder then you need one. You can't have your website online without one. Once you have a domain you can then connect it to a hosting account and publish your website to the internet.
Ok so now that you know what a domain name is, why you need one and how to choose one let's get into where you can register one.
You can't buy one just anywhere. You must buy one from a domain name registrar that is appointed by the International Corporation For Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). There are many registrar companies out there. Some are credible while others use less than ethical means by which to sign up new customers. I would recommend you do your homework and even ask around for referrals to find out a good place to register your domain.
Some hosting companies will also register names for you. This allows you to save time and effort finding two companies to trust with your business. Some companies who host your domain will offer you a free domain registration when you sign up with them.
Do you want to build a website? Building a website is something that many people look at as a task that is not possible to them. They think there is a huge learning curve and that they don't possess the technical expertise to really put one together. Most people are very mistaken, once upon a time this was the case but in today's internet it is actually extremely easy to build a website that you can be proud of and actually will make you money.
In the past it was left to programmers and web techies to really understand the script necessary to build a website. These days however there has been a push to get more useful tools online that have really automated the process and as of late it is unnecessary to understand the tech talk. In fact you can put a webpage together in as little as a day, without having any background knowledge.
What's more, building a website is a skill. Once you learn this skill, which is easier than you think, you will be able to put these same skills to use and build a number of websites using the same steps you have learned in the immediate process.
There are a few basic steps involved in putting together a successful webpage. They are as follows.
1) Choose a Domain Name - This is the step where you decide what you want to call your site. Your Domain name is the words and phrases that you put into the browser to navigate around the web. You want to choose a domain name that is relative to your site concept.
2) Find a Suitable Web Host - This is really easy nowadays. There are a ton of webhosting companies and many like Go Daddy and Host Gator offer to let you buy a domain and add a hosting package for a single low price.
3) Download Your Web Content To Your Host - This is the most complicated part of the entire process. There are two ways of going about this. If you have a template that you wish to upload, you will have to down load a FTP software (filezilla is a free choice) and then upload your template onto the public domain of your host site.
The second far less complicated, and is one of the secrets to making a great website for un-teckie type people. You download a template that is offered on many hosting sites called Wordpress. Wordpress is a great tool to get you on the web is a fast way.