Domain Name Guide
Here's what you need to know about choosing, registering, buying and selling domain names.
1. Choose & Register domain name 2. Buy, Sell & Park domain name
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Choose & Register domain name

Sections: Why you Need a Domain Name | The Best Kind of Domain Name | How to Choose a Domain Name | How to Register a Domain Name


Why you Need a Domain Name

You may be wondering whether you really need a domain name. These days every serious business has a website and some people have popular blogs that also have their own domains. The answer is that if you intend to do business on the internet or attract an audience on the web, you must have a domain name. Without it, no one will be able to find your website and you won't be able to do business. That applies whether you are a large company or an individual selling your web design services. A domain name is the only way for you to establish a presence on the internet.

The domain name you choose can fall into a number of categories. Many companies choose a domain name that corresponds to their company name, such as Microsoft. Others choose a generic domain name that corresponds to the business they do, such as writing.com. Still others choose a domain name that is their name, a practice adopted by many freelance professionals.

Domain names are also useful because you can have a unique email address along with the domain. This might be important in your particular business. In addition to these features domain names can be used to improve the ranking of a particular website in the search engines, because it is possible to incorporate the keywords that people are searching for in the domain name.

While it is possible to get a free domain name, this will impair your credibility when doing business. Buying a domain name is not expensive, so make an investment in your business and get the right one.



The Best Kind of Domain Name

Domain names exist in a hierarchy. There are top level domains (TLDs) and second level domains. In an internet address, such as getwebhosting.com. The last part of the web address, '.com', is the top level domain, while the 'getwebhosting' is the second level domain. Think of it as a postal address, with the top level domain being the country and the second level domain being the state. There are two types of top level domains. Some top level domains are two letter country codes, such as 'jp' for Japan or 'uk' for the United Kingdom, while others are generic, such as 'com' for commercial organizations. Generic top level domains can be combined with country codes as well (for example 'gov.uk' for UK government organizations).

With all these permutations to choose from, it is important to get the right kind of domain name for your website � and this is all about the right top level domain. For most people, '.com' is synonymous with the internet. We have heard of the dotcom revolution, the dotcom boom and the dotcom bust for that very reason. However, because of that, it can be difficult to find a '.com' top level domain.

In order to decide on the right TLD think about your business and see whether there is a top level domain that matches it. If you are running a charitable organization, .org might suit you. If you are running an internet business, then you might prefer .net or .biz or even .info. Choosing top level domains of this type will tell people who visit your site what kind of site they can expect.

However, there is another option. If you are selling products in different countries, consider choosing a country specific top level domain. Research shows that most people feel secure doing business with a site based in their country. While this may just be a perception, it can help you to connect with people, so getting a .ca or .au top level domain might be useful if you are doing business in Canada or Australia. Don't worry, this does not mean having to set up multiple websites as there is software around that will handle localization.



How to Choose a Domain Name

In addition to the selection of the top level domain, you also need to think about the second level domain when selecting the perfect domain name. There are many approaches to choosing the right domain name. The right domain name may be your own name if you are a self employed business person, or it might be the name of the product that you intend to sell. It might even be a generic one that describes the business that you are in, though not many of those are available these days.

When choosing a domain name, think about your customers and choose a domain name that is easy to remember. Although your domain name can be 63 characters, keeping it short and simple will make it easier for people to remember your web address and find your site. Using hyphens or zeroes in the domain name are best avoided as people can end up mistyping the web address and going to a competitor instead.

There are many online resources to help you choose a domain name. In fact most of the web hosts provide domain registration services and tools that will guide you towards domain name selection. Many of these tools will also search for variants of the domain name that you want. It's also worth considering getting several domain names, perhaps with different top level domains, to leave room for future expansion. You don't need to have a website for each domain name you buy � in fact, you don't need one at all � so there's no harm in this sort of future proofing. It will help secure your brand.



How to Register a Domain Name

Once you have decided on your domain name you will need to register it. There are two options for this. Either you can do it through your web hosting provider or you can do it yourself. The web hosting provider option is simple, because your hosting provider will provide an easy way to search for and register your domain through an online form. And it probably won't be too expensive. However, there are untrustworthy domain registrars out there, so check ICANN's list of accredited domain registrars before parting with your money.

When registering a domain make sure that your name is on the records as the person registering the domain. You should be down as the administrator and contact person. And a key feature to get is domain locking which is a security feature to prevent your domain from being hijacked. After all, you wouldn't want to spend months building up your business only to have a hijacker upload questionable content to your site.

Check to see whether your registration information can be kept private and have a look at your WHOIS records to see who the primary contact is. Make sure there are no errors in this information � if there are, get your domain registrar to correct them as quickly as possible.

Remember to register your domain name for as long a period as you can afford. That way you won't lose it if you don't make the annual renewal exactly on time. And even if you only have a one year scheme there is still a grace period of up to 45 days before your domain expires. Don't take chances, though. If your registrar only allows a one day grace period, you could find that your goldmine domain has been sold out from under you.

You can also register your domain yourself through InterNIC (at a cost of around $70), by filling out a form with your name and address. Once you have followed the confirmation process you will have an NIC handle and can use this when registering a domain. Your ISP may charge a few for setting up the domain on their system, though even if you buy a domain through one ISP you are free to host it elsewhere.