If you are planning to put up a website, one of the steps you must take at the beginning is to register your domain name. A domain name is the unique name that will be used to identify your website like “yourbrand.com”, “yourcompany.com” or “yourorganization.org”. First we’ll take a quick look at the importance of domain registration, and then we’ll briefly discuss how to register a domain name.
A domain name is very important for the following reasons:
* Credibility. If you are a business owner, your domain name will help you to build trust and credibility with your prospects and customers. In fact, nowadays, very few customers will be willing to transact business with a company that has no domain name.
* Flexibility. Your domain name goes with you when you need to change your web host. Your customers will still be able to gain access to your site regardless of the hosting company you use. This gives you the freedom to change hosts or hosting plans when the need arises.
* Effective Branding. A company domain name enhances branding. It also makes it easier for your clients and prospects to find you online. In fact, if you are able to register your domain name early enough, people can find you easily by simply typing your product or brand in the address bar of their browsers.
To obtain a domain name, you need to register your desired name with the ICANN database, which is currently responsible for keeping track of domain names worldwide. You usually do this with the help of a domain registrar. They usually register domains for an annual fee of between $US10 to $US40.
There are other ways to register a domain name. For instance, you could choose to register it through a web hosting company. But if you are just establishing your online presence, you should start with a domain registrar. This is because domain names, that will effectively describe your products and services, can be taken up quickly by your competitors. Hence, before you decide on a hosting plan, you should take immediate steps to secure your domain name after you have gone through the steps outlined below.
Steps to Register a Domain Name
Select a Domain Registrar
Choose a reliable domain registrar that can register your domain for you and protect your personal and financial information. Do a quick search online and read the ratings of different registrars. Many registrars also perform dual roles as hosts. But at this point, you should focus on the quality of their domain registration service. Compare the fees and customer ratings of a few top registrars before you make your final choice.
Create an Optimized Domain Name
An optimized domain name is a name that can be easily remembered by your target audience. It should also be a name that will be optimized for major search engines like Google. You can use Google webmaster tools to do some research on search terms or keywords that are related to your brand or services when you are choosing your domain names. Make sure you put down several alternative names. This will enable you to proceed quickly if you discover that the first name is no longer available. Choose shorter names that sound professional and avoid using names of establish brands that can bring about copyright violations.
Select a Suitable Top Level Domain
A top level domain (TLD) is the part of the domain name that comes after the dot. The most popular TLDs are .com and .net. Non-profit organizations also use .org. You can also choose a country specific TLD such as .co.uk for the United Kingdom and .ca for Canada. Even though the most popular TLDs cost more than the others, customers are more likely to associate them with your domain name. So it is safer to go with .com or .net.
Check for Availability
The domain registrar will give you an opportunity to check for the availability of any domain name that you want to register. If the domain name is not available, the information about the owner of the domain will be displayed (as long as it is available for public viewing). You could make an attempt to buy your desired domain from the current owner. Or, you could proceed to register other alternative domain names that are still available.
Supply All Required Information
Next, you should fill out the online forms presented to you by the domain registrar. It is very important for you to put in accurate information and keep a record of what you filled in while doing the registration. At this point, you may also decide to make some information private (for an extra fee). This will prevent anyone, who uses the whois.com website to check the information attached to a domain, from viewing your contact information.
Pay for the Domain
Finally, you should pay for domain using PayPal or a credit card. Currently, these are the main options available for paying for domain registration. You can also indicate if you want to pay for more than one year or if you want your domain registration to be renewed automatically so that your domain does not expire and get sold to someone else.
That was a brief discussion on how to register a domain name. Before you leave, review the article again and bookmark it for future reference.