What is so common about local real estate brokers, teenagers, and amateur photographers? They all have a website. Like them, if you have a website too, you probably know the first step in establishing your online presence and reach out to thousands of potential customers is to register your domain name.
In this post, I will show you 10 things to consider before you register your own domain name and avoid some of the common mistakes.
What is Domain Name?
Your domain name is your identity on the Internet – the name that will go between the “www” and “.com”, “.net”, or “.org”.
Individuals, try to use a unique name for your domain name, because it will be less likely already taken. Use your own name or nickname – (abiwrites.com, for example) – or somewhere in between.
Businesses, try to use your business name for your domain name. This way, it will help your customers to easily locate you online. If your first choice is already taken, try using alternative domain names using the methods described below.
Dot-com or Dot-net or Dot-org?
You can choose any top level domain (TLD) at your own preference. But, consider these things first:
- Dot-com – This is the most common TLD, and is more preferably than other TLD types. However, many good dot-com domain names are already taken, especially if you are in a very competitive niche.
- Dot-org – Go for this TLD type of you run a non-profit organization.
- Dot-net – Preferred choice for Internet Service Providers (ISP).
- Dot-biz – This is for businesses.
- Dot-info – This TLD type could be for information based sites, such as reviews site.
These domain types are also known as “Generic Domains,” meaning they are available for anyone throughout the world.
In addition to these TLD types, there are also country-specific domains, such as “.us” (USA) or “.fr” (France).
Note: The “.co” TLD is really strange, as “.co” could mean “commerce” or “commercial” and could also be a country-specific domain for Colombia. This TLD type is also available to use for anyone. If you are living in UK, you probably know about “.co.uk” – a commonly used TLD.
10 Things to Remember Before Registering a Domain Name
This is because it will represent your business or your hobby for years to come, so look how it reads without capitalization. For example, “www.wearemu.com” could mean “We are Mu” – just another organization – or it could also read “Wear Emu” for animal rights activists.
2) Expect your domain name to be already taken.
If this happens, domain registration companies will allow you to search for available domain names, and also give you suggestions if there are.
There, you can do a free search for the domain you have chosen to ensure it is available. If it’s already taken, they will also a list of similar domain names for you.
3) Compare prices.
As far as domain name availability is concerned, almost all domain registrars display the same results (from ICAAN).
Prices will vary, so it is wise to research for the best price before purchasing your ideal domain name.
For searching your domain name(s), use GoDaddy as they provide a range of alternatives if your ideal domain name is not available. For illustration purpose, we will name your ideal name as John Doe.
So, you will want to register “jondoe.com.”
Unfortunately, the domain name is already taken.But a number of alternatives are also given to you in the results page. If any of those resembles closely with your business or your personality, go ahead and register them.
4) Try using different “suffixes.”
In this example, there are several available, including .net, .biz, .paris, .mobi, .today, and many more. GoDaddy is awesome as it lists all available suffixes for you to consider and lets you know if it is available.
5) Use hyphens to find your ideal domain name.
For example, if jondoe is not available, try jon-doe, or j-doe, and then go through each of those with the list of dot-coms and dot-orgs. Sometimes, the name could be very popular and you won’t be able to find any variation of that as they are all seems to be taken.
6) Try using another name entirely.
If none of the suggestions works for you, your best bet would be to come up with another name altogether. It could be something simple as JohnMarkDoe, or something that suggests your profession, as in JohnDoeWriter, etc. Continue to use different variations and soon you will find a suitable domain name.
7) See if your domain name is actually being used.
If your desired domain name is already taken, check to see if it being used. Sometimes, many people will have registered a domain name in order to sell it in higher price later time. Others might have simply dropped the domain name and no longer been using it.
8) Compare domain name prices.
Not all services are the same. Some do offer special offers on domain (buy 2 in a price of 1, for limited time, of course – just like 1and1 does).
9) Only purchase services that you need.
A lot of registrar offers a domain name package for you to help design a website and market it, and some even provide search engine ranking services. These services can be useful, and if you feel that you could benefit from them, go ahead and use it.
However, by no means go for it if you don’t need them now. Only use what you need (you can always upgrade later).
10) Register your domain.
Now that you have found your ideal domain name, go ahead and register it.
Registering a domain name is only one part of having your own website. You also need a company to host your website. That means paying for a company for using their resources – server space, bandwidth, and website building tools, etc.
Web hosting companies keep their server up and running almost all the time. They are connected to the Internet 24/7 so that your visitors can always access your website. Many web hosting company also host websites. They often host WordPress, for example.
- Read reviews and forum posts to find the best web hosting company.
- Look for user’s feedbacks.
- Know that prices may vary as do quality.
TLD’s on different web hosting companies may have different pricing, capacity, or functions. For instance, WordPress sites under dot-com TLD’s are often cheaper, but they have more limitation than dot-org TLD’s.
- Use “whois” service to know who owns a domain name. HostGator, for example, provides this service for free. If a particular domain name is not available, then “whois” service will let you know the owner and the address of the person so that you can contact them, and offer to buy a domain name.
- Beware of those sites promising you free domain names. These sites often offer you a domain name if you buy web hosting from them. If later, you decide to switch hosts, you won’t be able to retain the ownership of your domain name.
- Avoid sites giving you a domain name at the tail end of the website. For example, if you were promoting a computer games business, the domain name “www.tripod.com/pcgames” will not lend you any credibility. Your people often trust the domain name.
Over to you
Have you thought about these issues before registering your domain name? Did it work for you? Did I miss anything important while registering a domain name? Please share your ideas in the comment below.
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