Creating an online store means creating a name. This is important, as it forms the basis of your branding. If you’re serious about getting into e-commerce, then you need to purchase a domain.
For starting an online store, there are few options easier than Shopify. They’re user-friendly, a known brand, and quick to start-up. They even offer you the chance to buy your domain name.
You may be wondering if this is the right choice. For a long-term business, the domain will be tied to you forever. Is Shopify the way to go?
Should I buy my domain through Shopify?
You should buy your domain through Shopify if you’re looking for ease of use. However, if you’re interested in cheaper options, or hoping to one day expand the business, then purchase a domain outside Shopify.
When you first sign up to Shopify you’re offered a 14-day free trial. In that time you can design your store, and do everything necessary to prepare your brand. The domain you’re given will be a free sub-domain of Shopify.
You then have the choice to stick with the free domain, buy the domain via Shopify, or purchase a domain from somewhere else. If you have a previously purchased domain, you can use that as well.
The greatest pro of buying a domain via Shopify is that all the hard work is done. Shopify will provide you with the domain, and with unlimited email forwarding. With your store already built, all you have to do is start selling.
Convenient for a new starter, who may be unsure how the store will grow. If you want a low effort store, buying the domain through Shopify is the obvious option. It only takes a few minutes, and everything is done for you.
If you’ve never set up a domain before, this is very appealing. However, there are significant drawbacks to purchasing a Shopify domain.
For a start, it’s more expensive. If you shop around you can get a much better deal from other domain buying companies.
Perhaps more importantly, buying a domain from Shopify ties you to the company. If, in the future, you wanted to expand your business, moving away from Shopify would be difficult.
Transferring your domain away from Shopify is much harder than building your Shopify store on an existing domain.
Not to mention, your store relies on Shopify completely. Should Shopify close down your store, you’d lose everything. The extra effort of registering a separate domain is worth it to keep your services separate.
The easiest way to make the choice is to think about the long term prospects of your business. If you think you’d like to grow and expand, then register a domain outside of Shopify. If you see this as a short-term venture, or a small side business, then the ease of Shopify wins out.
Does Shopify provide a free domain?
When you first sign up for Shopify you are given a free sub-domain. This would be “storename.myshopify.com”. You’re allowed to use this for free. Shopify also gives you the opportunity to purchase your sub-domain.
This would look like “storename.com”. With this comes unlimited forwarding email addresses, tied to your domain. These would be “firstname.lastname@example.org”, for example.
However, you can also purchase a domain outside Shopify. Your store will still be hosted on Shopify, and built using their website builder, but it’s easier to expand.
All free Shopify domains are sub-domains. “Myshopify” will be tied into your brand name. If you want a free domain, you have to be prepared for this compromise.
Do I need to buy a domain for my Shopify store?
While Shopify does provide a free domain name, it’s better to purchase one. The free Shopify domains are sub-domains, and include myshopify.com. If you want people to take your store seriously, you need to purchase a domain.
You don’t need to purchase a domain to have a Shopify store, but a registered domain is standard for a professional look. Many sellers will feel a lack of trust towards a sub-domain.
It indicates that you don’t take the business seriously. Purchasing a domain is relatively cheap, and it’s a necessary step to creating a business.
Does it matter where you buy your domain name?
When you buy a domain name, all domain registrar sites are essentially doing the same thing. If a domain name is free, it should be available from any site. Once purchased, the domain is yours for a year (at minimum). When that year is up, you either pay to keep the domain, or let it go.
While they all have the same function, it’s still worth shopping around. You may find the same domain available for different prices across the sites. Check their renewal prices as well. You also need to be sure your domain host has an easy-to-use interface.
What you look for in a domain host will vary from person to person. Look out for the management features provided, email hosting services, domain privacy, automatic renewals, and expiration grace periods.
It’s also worth having a look at their domain name transfer policies as well. You may not be planning on a transfer now, but it’s reassuring to know the move will go smoothly should the need arise.
Some websites won’t be able to provide country specific extensions. If you’re interested in that service, then it’s best to shop around.
Some of the best domain registrars are: Domain.com, GoDaddy, NameCheap, HostGator, and Bluehost. They all have their advantages and disadvantages, so research what’s important to you before making a choice.
Purchasing a domain is essential to e-commerce. If you’re serious about your business, it should be one of the first things you do. For greater future flexibility, we recommended looking outside Shopify.
While they offer an easy system, in the long-term it’s not as good for your business. A little effort upfront will pay off in the long run.