Picking and Registering Domain Names
Regardless of your reasons for wanting to get a domain name, finding an appropriate name is incredibly important. Businesses especially need to consider their domain name as it represents their brand on the internet. It needs to be easy to remember and easy to type.
Although imperative for businesses, personal websites and those that are personal but are used to generate extra income will also benefit from being properly named and registered. The easier it is for people to surf to the site, the better.
Choosing a Domain Name and the Proper Extension
If you are running a business, you will find that the closer the domain name is to your business name the better. It is also advisable to use the most common top level domain (TLD) extensions possible, sticking with .com, .net and .org whenever possible.
For example, Widgets, Incorporated needs a web site. They go through one of the domain registration companies and find that widgets.com is already taken. However, they can go with widgetsinc.com or widgets.net. Either are good choices but any time there is an option, the dot-com address is going to be the most memorable. Widgets.net may be forgotten and dot-com substituted, taking that company’s potential or returning customer to a different website. For Widgets, Inc., they should spend a bit of money to try to purchase the various extensions simply to protect their business identity.
Picking a domain name for an individual has a lot to do with personal preference. For individuals looking for bargain priced sites for their own personal space on the internet, there are many different options that will allow them to have the exact domain name they want, just without the typical .com or .net extension. For example, there is the new extension of .me which was actually created by the naming commission for people to use for individual websites. Non-profit organizations typically choose the .org extension even though there is nothing official stating they have to stick with it as their extension.
Business Tip — Start Scooping up Names before Your Business is Official
If you intend on starting a new business and have not incorporated yet, make sure to start procuring those domain names before you send in the paperwork to make your small business official. Business incorporations are public record and there are some with an entrepreneurial spirit who will buy up domain names of businesses that have recently incorporated.
These entrepreneurs will then mark up the cost of the domain name when they offer to sell it to your company. The mark up can be double, triple, one hundred times or more what they paid to register that domain. They can park whatever they wish on the site too, including links to competitors. It is legal and for the person doing the work it can be very lucrative so be aware of this when you are creating your business.
Researching the internet for your company name can prevent problems as well. There very well may be another company with the same name. As part of creating a business, you will be researching to make sure your name is not already trademarked; their web presence is a very quick way to check before delving deeper into trademark research.
The auto manufacturer Nissan, for instance, does not and likely will never own Nissan.com. The domain was registered well before the car manufacturers realized the power of the internet to sell cars. The person with the last name Nissan instead registered it in 1994 and has consistently kept it registered ever since. In naming your new business, be sure it is available as a business name before deciding on it.
Registering Your Domain
There are two ways you can go about registering your domain names and extensions you have chosen. You can use one of the independent registration companies or let your web hosting company do the work. There are benefits to each and depending on how you plan on using your site, you should consider them both.
- Benefits of Independent Registration – By registering your domains through an independent site they are truly yours. You will have ownership of the domains and extensions no matter where you go. If you start with bargain hosting for an up-start business and realize you need better customer support and decide to change web hosting companies, your domains easily and seamlessly are carried over to the new company. You control the domain and can sell the domain name at any time to anyone. If your business gets sold, the domain ownership can be transferred immediately.
- Benefits of Registering your Domain with your Web Hosting Company – Your web hosting company will often make the registration process easier and quicker. They will remind you when it is time to renew and often offer subsidized prices for domain registration and renewal. However, because they helped register the domain, they can cause some issues should you want to transfer the domain name to another web hosting company. In many cases, the hosting company owns the domain instead of the person or business and while they won’t sell out from underneath you, they can choose not to transfer it should you wish to change companies.