Your domain name (i.e. www.yourbusiness.com) is the first of three necessary pieces to have a website presence that’s publicly accessible. It’s the least expensive piece, averaging about $10-15 per year to register and renew – in fact, you shouldn’t really be paying more than $15-20 per year for each domain name. We provide domain name registrations and renewals for $12 per year.
Despite it being the least expensive component for a functional site, it’s an extremely vital and important piece because it’s how people find you online, and how they should be contacting you through email. It’s sometimes referred to as your URL or website address. It simply points to a numerical address on the internet called an IP Address, which would be impossible for humans to remember, especially when we need to access and remember thousands of different websites – even using bookmarks we’d have to remember which number (i.e. 100.100.100.100) goes to which website. That would be quite daunting. The domain name system helps alleviate this problem for us!
As with the other aspects, you want to be sure to use a reputable company to register your domain name, one that you can contact by phone and email at the very least. Do some research online to make sure they haven’t had a lot of complaints or issues. If your domain name is hard to get access to, or expires without you being able to renew it, it could cost you a lot of time and money, much of which will be lost revenue from the marketing you’ve done around your website address that no longer works.
Choosing Your Domain
One general rule of thumb when choosing your domain name is to keep it short and simple if at all possible, but remember that most 3-8 character domains are taken by now. However, you should avoid a 50+ character domain name if you can help it. When thinking about marketing your website and your domain name, keep in mind that it should be easy to type, easy to “hear” and understand, and easy to read. Unless you plan on buying the domain right away, don’t use the larger, more well-known companies who provide registration services, such as Godaddy.com, to actively search for a domain name because there have been cases where it was registered shortly after a search, and it wasn’t coincidental. Instead, do a WHOIS search on the domain name to see if there is an active entry in the database. One common site to lookup the WHOIS information is http://whois.domaintools.com, but doing a Google search for “WHOIS” websites will turn up others. Your website development company can help you look up domain names this way, too.
Dos and Don’ts:
- Do get a .com extension if possible. If you’re a non-profit organization, then a .org extension will work. Avoid lesser known extensions if at all possible, such as .biz, .info, .name, etc.
- Don’t use hyphens unless there is a hyphen in the company name. In which case, get both the hyphenated and non-hyphenated versions to be safe.
- Don’t use numerals/numbers when possible. Again, get both versions if you need to use a number (ex. 1stchoice.com and firstchoice.com, or 2doorsdowngrille.com and twodoorsdowngrille.com).
Lastly, make sure YOU own it, not the web developer or company providing the service for you. Many times a web designer or web development company will put the domain name in their name, with their email address tied to it, keeping you from having control over it. Make sure your email address is associated with the Administrative Contact for your domain name, so any important emails are sent to you, not the web developer.
If you would like help with this aspect of your website, we’d be happy to provide some guidance and answer any questions about selecting and buying your domain! You can shoot us an email, or call us at (865) 238-5600.