How To Register A Domain Name
After working with clients from many levels of technology backgrounds I realize that there are many business owners out there who do not understand how or why they would want to register a domain name. It’s simple — you MUST have a registered domain name if you plan to have a website. If a website developer asks you where your domain is registered they want to know where you registered the rights to use that specific domain name. By domain name we mean the URL (i.e., www.originalginger.com). What do you mean you haven’t registered a domain name yet?! You’d best get on it. Even if you don’t have a website right now and aren’t planning to implement one for a while – you still need to reserve a branded, easily remembered, compelling domain name before someone else takes it. In fact, you may find that you’ll have to be super creative about coming up with a branded URL that ISN’T already taken and makes sense.
Would it surprise you to know that there are people out there in cyberspace buying up domain names? Yeah, and they do it just so that people like you will have to pay them to buy it back when you finally do decide to implement a business website. It doesn’t matter that you’ve registered the business name or incorporated your company, the online URL is up for grabs by anyone who cares to purchase it. Our advice — put some thought into your brand early on. Determine a business name that makes sense to your brand personality and then register your domain name NOW!
How do you know if the domain name you want to use is taken?
- Do a Whois Lookup. Visit www.whois.net for example.
- Try looking up variations of the domain name you are considering.
- Consider the suffix you want to have in your url (.com, .ca, .org etc.). We recommend a .com suffix where possible.
Where To Register A Domain Name
There are many online companies that reserve domain names. It should cost anywhere between $10.99 and $15.99 per year to register a domain name. If you happen to also be purchasing website hosting at the same time, some providers will throw in the domain registration for free. Companies we can recommend are as follows:
We also recommend the above listed companies for website hosting, which we’ll talk about in a later article. It’s a good idea to register the domain names in the same place you’ll have hosting. Then, everything is all in one place.
Domain parking is when you register an internet domain name without using it right away for e-mail or a website because you want to maybe reserve it for future development, or protect against the possibility of cybersquatting. It’s also a way to protect against inappropriate association with your business. More on that below.
Should I Reserve More Than One Domain Name?
So you’ve chosen a company name and domain name and it is registered with a reputable company like one of those we’ve listed above. Now, you need to consider if it makes sense to reserve any other domain names that might be considered closely related to yours in spelling or connotation.
For example, if our chosen domain name is www.saralynnmusic.com we might want to also register the domain name of www.saralynn.com, and maybe a variation of the spelling www.sarahlynnmusic.com. We can then set up those domain names to forward to the website we ultimately want them to visit — www.saralynnmusic.com. This enables traffic to reach the destination even when the url is misspelled. Registering domain names closely related to your main url is a great way to keep others from obtaining it — maybe you don’t want an online adult or gambling website to have a url closely associated with your business website url.
Whether it be domain registration or website hosting you’re after, do NOT just choose the cheapest one. All you have to do is google “GoDaddy” and see the horror stories that appear about problems with transferring domains. You’ll also find blogs and forums recanting negative customer experiences regarding stability, security, and customer service. Our advice – visit the ICANN Accredited Registrars to see if the company you’re considering is on the list.
If a developer you trust and respect recommends you switch hosting providers or transfer your domain name, and has a reasonable explanation why — be ready to accept and embrace the change. After all you have hired them for their expertise. There may be some little hiccups in getting used to things, there may be a slight interruption in email service, or some tweaks that need to be made but sometimes the little bumps are worthwhile as a trade-off to better service and pricing.
Lastly, once you have registered a domain name, OR someone has registered it for you, make sure you get the password and id and keep it in a safe place. We cannot stress that enough. If you switch web administrators at a later date and you do NOT have this information, and cannot obtain it, there is nothing to be done but to choose and reserve another completely different domain name. Don’t learn the hard way! Take ownership of all accounts related to your online presence. You’ve paid for it – it’s yours!
At Original Ginger we take care of domain name registrations and hosting for you as part of your web design and development package. Call us now at 778.800.9667 if you’re ready to get started!
This article is just one in a series about websites for small businesses. Interested in other articles from ‘Fresh Ginger’? Subscribe now and choose topics of interest for delivery straight to your inbox.
Original Ginger is a Digital Agency located in the heart of historic Fort Langley, a hip and artistic suburb of Vancouver BC.