Your domain name is your web site address. A domain name is what people type into their address bar that then “drives” them to your website and it similar to you finding a street address. For example, 123 Jones Street takes you directly to that location, your browser finds locations by domain name.
Your domain name is sometimes the same as your business name or perhaps your own name, but not necessarily an exact match. In some instances, the domain name that matches your business name may already have been purchased and registered by someone else. If you have a domain name in mind, you need to find out if it’s available and if it is, register it for yourself immediately.
Tips for Choosing a Domain Name
A domain name should not be to lengthy. You want people to be able to easily remember it so something catchy is good depending on the site topic. Although not easy anymore due to the number of domains already registered, do what you can to keep your domain name from being to similar to another. Obtaining exactly the one you want may be impossible but creativity can play a role in getting something close. If you need it, your web designer may offer assistance in selecting your domain name.
Many people think that their business name absolutely has to be the same as the domain name. Good luck matching these up! This wasn’t hard to do many years ago but today, there are so many web sites on the Internet now that it may be impossible to match your business and domain names exactly. As if that’s not bad enough, there are companies called “Domain Name Brokers” who run around snatching up domain names so fast it makes your head spin. What do they do with them? They sell them. Oh, so you can still get the one you want if you buy it from them? Sure … if you’re willing to pay their price. Got a few hundred or a few thousand bucks to spare? No, I’m not kidding. If you can’t match your domain name up exactly with your business, it’s not the end of the world so don’t be to disappointed. You just have to learn to be a little creative!
Registering Your Domain Name
You must register a domain name before you can have a functioning web site on the Internet. Always, always, always use a reputable registrar! Our favorite is GoDaddy, but there are other good registrars out there. We do also recommend that if you are going to register the domain yourself, contact your designer first about your choice in registrars. It’s very important that the domain name be registered to you or your business rather than the hosting company, the designer or anyone else.
There are times that you or your designer may need to make changes to the required registration information or DNS nameservers. Allowing a third party (example: a web hosting service) to register your domain can lead to problems down the road. Some use a “bulk registration” service which means they register your domain with whatever registrar is the cheapest and tracking it down later could be a problem. Not only do you or your designer not know who the actual registrar of record is, there are dishonest registrars who will register the domain in their own name. Getting “your” domain back later could prove to be a costly nightmare and sometimes is impossible.
It’s imperative that your domain be registered correctly! If you’re not familiar with domain registrations, we recommend you have your designer register your domain for you. In many cases, it’s a free service or for a nominal fee some designers provide as part of your site development process.
Reputable designers and registrars will have security measures in place to keep your information safe. You and your designer are the only people who should have access to this information. We have literally had to transfer domains to another registrar that were originally registered by a third party because we could not access the information. Incorrect domain registration can create delays in site development, live date, cause you to incur unexpected costs and other problems. Think of your domain name as something that needs to be protected. If you lose it, you may never get it back.
How Much Does a Domain Name Cost?
Purchasing a Domain Name is the smallest of all your web site expenses. I mean we’re talking dirt cheap here! Or at least it should be. If your purchase your domain name from a reputable Registrar you can currently expect your cost to run about $16.00 per year plus any service fees. If you go to register a domain name at a cost that exceeds this by more than a few dollars annually, you need to find a new Registrar.