Purchasing a custom internet domain name is a significant milestone in owning your own business. The domain name establishes your online presence, making a place for your customers to learn more about your product or brand. But what exactly is a domain name? A domain name is the part of a network address that identifies it as belonging to a particular domain.
To make the first impression of your organization's web page a good one, follow these simple tips. Once you have a name in mind, scroll down to learn the easiest and cheapest ways to purchase your domain name of your dreams.
Helpful tips before you buy a domain name
1. Make your domain name easy to typeYou want your domain name to be memorable, but you also don't want to miss out on valuable visitor traffic by making your URL too complicated or difficult to understand. With that said, avoid these in your domain:
- odd spellings of words
- hyphens, especially multiple hyphens
2. Don't make your domain name too long
Going back to tip #1, a memorable domain name is a simple domain name. A shorter domain name is not only easier to remember, but also reduces the risk of someone misspelling it when typing it in the address bar. Most single domain names are taken for this reason. If there is a specific word you want that's already taken, try getting creative by adding an adjective or verb before or after it. But make sure your domain name ultimately reflects your brand.
SEE ALSO: How do I identify my domain host?
3. .com or .net? Does it matter?
In summary, yes and no. 75% of domains have the .com extension, with .net and .org coming in second and third place, according to Registrar Stats research. With that said, most people are used to seeing com domain name in a web address and automatically assume that's the norm. However, there are other websites that succeed with other domain extensions like .net, .info, or .org (think Wikipedia.org). If your desired domain name is unavailable with a .com extension, and you really want it, then choosing .net or .org isn't the end of the world. But if you do go outside the .com norm, be sure to remind your customers that you have a different domain name extension.
4. Don't buy trademarked or similar domains
You don't want to be too similar to trademarked or big brand names when creating your domain name. If you are, you run the risk of confusing people or worse, having a complaint filed against you and having to forfeit your domain name. Avoid any legal challenges and competition by making your domain name unique in it's own right.
5. Check if your domain is available on social media
Part of a successful online presence is a social media presence. Your domain name is a part of your brand, so you'll want the name to be available as a username on social media so search engines and customers can put the two together. So you've read the tips above and applied them to your branding guidelines, and now you have the perfect domain name for your website. What next? Now, it's time to bring your website to life by purchasing a domain name.
How to purchase a domain name
Congratulations, you've made it this far. Now rest easy knowing that you've overcome the hardest part - choosing a domain name (that's available). Domain name registration is surprisingly simple.
1. Make sure you have a web hosting serviceTo get your website live, you need a web hosting service and a domain name. Ideally, you should get these two items together. If you don't have a service provider or a web developer, don't worry. Here are a few options that offer both services: If budget is a concern:
You'll need to provide basic information such as contact information (i.e. an email address) and possibly a phone number. Though these plans offer different things, any will be sufficient to bring your new website to life.
2. What if I want to change my domain name?To change a domain name, you need to change your domain name system (DNS). Simply login to the domain name registrar that you used to register your domain name. The process will vary depending on your registrar, but the steps will typically look like this:
- Find the DNS manager within your registrar
- Locate the DNS that you’d like to change
- Look for an option such as, “Use custom nameservers” and select it
- Then type in your desired new nameserver
3. Renew your domain name every year (or whenever it expires)
When you purchase your domain name, you'll get an option of how long you want to purchase it. Typically this begins at one year and goes as long as ten years, and the longer you purchase it, the cheaper the annual fee is. Most businesses recommend purchasing your domain name for at least two years. The longer time will help your SEO ranking in the long run and you won't have to worry about renewing it for a short time. However, make sure you don’t forget to renew your domain name or else, poof! Your website can go offline within seconds. And after a few weeks of going offline, your domain name will be available for purchase again.
4. Complement your new website with a professional business email
Every website has a contact section, whether it's a separate page or in the footer. Legitimize your business even further with a professional business email. With services like Google Workspace, you can have a business email like firstname.lastname@example.org instead of email@example.com. The former looks more official and will make your brand seem more accomplished. Once you secure a business email, we recommend that you keep your proprietary information safe with encrypted email. Not only will you protect your business against spam and phishing attacks, you will look more professional to your customers or potential customers with military grade encryption protecting both your outbound and inbound emails. Once you complete all these steps, then congratulations. You now have established your online presence with your own fully qualified domain name and professional business email.