Building a Web Site: Choose and Register Your Domain Name
Your domain name is the "address" of your web site. You can check
what domain names are available by going to a registration service and
typing in your domain idea. Some places to register domain names are:
Choosing your domain name
When choosing your domain name, keep these things in mind:
- Easy to remember
Make your domain name easy to remember and easy to spell, if you
are able to (if you company name has unconventional spelling, you
can only do so much...). For example, www.kidcare.com is much easier
to remember than www.kindergartenandpreschooldaycare.com (plus, a
lot of people won't be able to spell "kindergarten!")
- Short and sweet
The shorter your domain name, the easier it is for people to
type (and the less chance there is of spelling errors!).
- Hidden words?
Check your domain name ideas to make sure that there aren't
'hidden' words that could be detrimental to your image. For example,
let's say there's a music company called "Sonic Rap." Registering
their domain as "www.sonicrap.com" ... well, do you see the
- Search engine issues
Some search engines use your domain name to help rank the
relevancy of your site. (Others, don't.) If a keyword phrase can be
incorporated into your domain name, it may help your ranking on some
search engines. (You have to balance this with the "easy to
remember" and "shortness" of your domain name - it's probably better
to err on the "shortness" side.)
- Try to get a "dot com" or "dot org"
Let's face it, everyone is used to the ".com" at the end of a
web address. You'll make life easier for yourself if you can find a
domain that has the ".com" available. However, if you're an
organization, you'll probably just want to register for the ".org."
".net" is also a popular choice, but we've seen that most .nets end
up purchasing the .com anyway.
- How long do you want it?
You can register your domain for at least a year, or save some
money and register it for several years.
When registering your domain name, the services often like to
"persuade" you to host your web site with them or sign up for some other
related service. This can sometimes be a little underhanded and tricky.
For example, they may add a "free month" of hosting to your shopping
cart automatically - the total cost that you pay for doesn't change, but
you end up signing up (and paying for) hosting. (If you want to
host with them, that's fine, but make sure that YOU are choosing to!)
Other companies may try to persuade you to "purchase" an email address
as well - there is no need to do this if you already have plans
to host your web site with someone else, because most hosting plans come
with email plans as well.
If you want to look for hosting elsewhere, you should probably
look into hosting first. Sometimes they can provide deals on
domain registration, or they register the domain for you as part of the
package price, so that it saves you time later! If you still want to
purchase the domain yourself, then be sure that you are ONLY paying for
the domain name and NOTHING else... not a "free month" of hosting, not
extra email addresses, etc.!
Finally, after you register and purchase your domain, you may start
getting a lot of spam emails. You'll get emails offering to put you in
the top search engine placements, emails offering to help you fine-tune
your keywords, and more. There are, however, some emails (and mail) that
use some under-handed techniques to try to extort money from you by
claiming to "help" you register your domain name if it is expiring. In
general, you should handle your own domain registration unless you know
of a reputable company that gets bulk registration rates. We've heard
lots of horror stories of people who receive emails offering to renew
their domain name registration and reply back to them, but the people
who sent the email purchase the domain themselves and then try to
make the original owners pay lots of money to get the domain back!
Unfortunately, these days, it's not wise to immediately trust anyone who
contacts you with a "deal." Do your research if you want to use their
services... or do it yourself!