Registering a Domain Name
Posted in Business on May 2, 2015
As a follow-up to my 5 Steps to Building a Website blog post, I would like to elaborate on the steps you need to get your website online. Integral Creative can offer you a turn-key solution and handle all of this for you. However, for those of you that wish to do this yourselves read on.
Finding a great Domain Name
You know what they say about first impressions, and your domain name is a part of the first impression a web visitor is going have to you and your business.
A great domain name is integral to your website. A domain name is what is displayed in the address bar at the top of your web browser. For example, this domain name is www.IntegralCreative.ca.
I recommend business owners register their company name or major brand name if available. Domain names are relatively cheap (about $15 to $20 per year), and you can always point several domain names to one website. For example, you can also reach my site at www.aVeryNiceSite.com or www.aVeryNiceWebsite.com. Abbreviations, common misspellings, or easily remembered names are also useful to own. You want to make it easy for people to find you online.
Another thing to think about, when registering a domain name is SEO (Search Engine Optimization). For example, if you specialise in selling large red Widgets, but have a generic company name like “ACME Enterprises”, then for search engine purposes it may be better to register a domain like www.LargeRedWidgets.com or www.WidgetsVictoria.com. These examples would include keywords (words people may enter into a search engine) inside the domain name.
You can register as many domain names as you feel like, and it is simple to forward the extra domains to your primary website address. Whatever you do, DO NOT copy your site, and run multiple installations of it, with a unique domain name for each one. Google will spot the same text on each website and penalise you for that.
Top-Level Domains (TLDs)
Top-level domains are the ending letters for your domain name. Most people choose to go with a .com, but the availability of most short .com addresses are almost non-existent. Some other alternatives are:
- .ca - the Internet country code top-level domain for Canada.
- .net - a generic top-level domain. This is a popular alternative if a .com or .ca domain name is not available.
- .biz - a top-level domain reserved for commercial entities.
- .mobi - Technically, this should only be used with mobile-compatible sites according to standards.
- .org - an open top-level domain, but an accepted practice is to use for non-profit organisations.
- .me - Originally the internet country code for Montenegro, but it is becoming popular for personal websites.
There are many other options. A comprehensive list of more TLDs is found on Wikipedia. Last summer (2013) over a hundred TLDs were released, such as .expert, .business, .dance, .hockey…
Once you have a name in mind, you need to check its availability. You can do this on Hover.com’s homepage (or any other registrar’s homepage). Searching for a domain name at Hover (or any other domain registrar) does not commit you to buying it.
Aof times, people will by a .com version of their domain name, as well as a few other TLDs, just to make sure competition does not buy them in attempts to hijack visitors.
Finding the Best Registrar
Selecting a domain registrar comes down to the tools they provided to buy and manage your domain name. Some registrar’s purchasing systems and domain management are incredibly cumbersome for those not familiar with it.
Of the three that we have used over the years:
Hover.com - Highly Recommended. Pros: Great customer service, clean interface, no hold policy for tech support on their Toll-Free number. Each purchase includes free domain privacy (meaning they will not post your name or billing address for the world to see). Other companies do offer this, but they charge extra for this feature. Cons: Have not found any.
Expiry.com - Pros: A Canadian Company. I have never had any problems with this company.
Godaddy.com - Not recommended. Cons: Purchasing system can be confusing if you are unsure of the items you need. A person unfamiliar with the choices out there could end up buying much more than they need because of the continual bombardment of up-selling options GoDaddy offers before check out.
Once you pick a domain name purchasing, it is as simple as any other online purchase.
I’ll cover pointing or forwarding a domain to a host or an existing website in a future post.
If you have any questions about this process, please feel free to contact Integral Creative, or leave a comment below if you have something to add.
Full Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links to Hover.com. This means that we receive a small commission if you choose to buy a domain through them. If you do, we appreciate your support!