What to Think About When Picking a Domain Name
Starting a business and registering a domain name is exciting. It’s so cool to think about building your business and directing people to YOUR website.
Picking the proper name (one that is available, within your budget, SEO applicable, and that can help build your brand) can be stressful and can also make or break your business’ online performance.
A Good Domain Name Accomplishes Three Things
- Creates a lasting impression
- Defines your company
- Can help your SEO
Once you have brainstormed some domains, start telling people the domain name(s) you are thinking of using – then listen and learn. Ask them if the domain evokes a clear sense of what your business does, if it is easy to spell, etc. You may end up needing to re-think your choice.
As of the middle of 2020, there are 370.1 million domain names that have been registered. Be sure to check if the domain you want is available.
ATC Web Solutions can help with registering domains, renewing domains, moving domains from one hosting company to another, suggesting domain names appropriate for your business when building a new website, if extra domain protection is needed from the hosting company, and much more regarding domains.
The World of Domain Names
Navigating the world of domain names can be a daunting task if you’ve never registered one before. There are tons of companies that would be happy to have you register your domain with them. But don’t get lured in by a cheap domain price. It’s usually only low-cost for the first year and the price may be hiked way up when it comes time to re-register it in subsequent years.
After registering your domain name, you have to figure out where to have your website hosted. It can be a hassle if your domain is not registered with your hosting company, as you will need to transfer it or point the nameservers to where your domain name is registered.
To avoid such complications, it’s better to register it with the same company where you want to build your website.
Speaking of building a website, read more information on steps to creating a Business Website.
Domain Name Registrars
In order to register your domain, you need to work with a domain name registrar. A domain name registrar company is given permission by ICANN. ICANN is the oversight organization that sets the standards for coordinating these unique identifiers – domain names – for the web. Domain name registrars help to set up and make changes to your domain name’s information on your behalf.
Each domain registrar offers different services and ways to access your information along with the domain name registration. Some registrars may offer cheap domains as their promotional offer while others may give free add-ons to attract customers.View more information on how to choose the right domain registrar.
Domain Name ExtensionsThe top most common domain name extensions in the U.S. are:
- .com – most businesses today choose .com
We recommend trying to select a domain name with a .com extension since it is the most widely used.
Tips for Picking and Registering a Domain Name
- Put the most important keyword for your industry and/or your location in the domain name If your business is car repair and your repair shop is in Campbell then be sure to have the word Campbell in your domain name.
- The shorter the domain name, the better Aim for your domain name to be 6 to 14 characters long.
- Be sure it’s easy to spell and pronounce You don’t want to spend your life spelling your domain name to everyone
- Avoid using dashes, numbers or abbreviations in your domain name Since Google doesn’t like dashes or numbers in domain names, they discount those domain names in their rankings. To them, the more dashes, the more it looks like a spammy website. Also, if you use a character in your domain name, you may find yourself having to constantly clarity it using the words “dash” or “hyphen” when you tell people the domain name. If you end up using an abbreviation, be sure it’s a well-known acronym or part of your company name.
- Don’t waste your money on buying extensions other than .com If you want to keep the domain away from a competitor, then go ahead and register the domain you selected in addition to purchasing the .net or .co extensions. Otherwise, the reality is that you end up having to pay for each one of those domains when it comes to renewal time. Unless you really are planning on building out a website for each of those domains, save your money.
- Register yourself as the owner of the domain name with your own credit card You control the domain name when you register it. It’s just like a piece of property. If you don’t own the property, you can’t control it or sell it.
- Be sure to renew the domain name BEFORE it is due to expire I had a client once who had their domain name with a shoddy domain registration company. When they accidentally let the renewal go over by ONE day, the domain registration company transferred the domain over to an aftermarket marketplace for domains and it cost hundreds of dollars to get the domain name back. Make sure you have the domain name on auto-renew or that you’re with a reputable company that gives you reminders months ahead of time.
- Don’t buy a domain without checking into its past Be sure to check the history of a domain if you are purchasing one that has been previously owned.
Most domains should cost around $15.00/year and up unless you are competing with others for a particular domain. Read more about what it costs to have a website.
Fun fact: It is speculated that the most expensive domain ever sold is cars.com. It was reportedly purchased for $872 million by the company Gannett Co., Inc.
Recommended Domain Registrars
As stated above, there are many companies where you can register your domain. ATC Web Solutions recommends BlueHost, Start Logic and HostGator. We tend to promote BlueHost because their pricing is competitive, they have very good technical support located in the U.S. and they offer easy domain registration along with hosting. However, we have clients at many different hosting companies and are comfortable working with whichever one you choose.