Registering a Domain

By the end of 2004, over 66.3 million domain names had been registered worldwide. With thousands being registered everyday, it can often be very difficult to find a vacant domain name to register for your business or personal web site.

Choose Your Domain

Firstly, you must decide on a domain name. It is important that you choose a name which best represents what your web site is about. For example, if your web site was on crayfish, you might like to register crayfish.com.

Make sure that the domain name is not too long - visitors will not want to spend valuable time typing in a long web address such as i-love-freshwater-crayfish-world.com.

Also, try to avoid hyphens if possible. This will make the domain name more memorable and promotable. For example, if you were to tell a customer or friend about your new domain name, crayfish-world.com, you would have to pronounce it as crayfish hyphen world dot com, rather than crayfish world dot com for crayfishworld.com.

Finally, you must also decide what TLD (or top-level domain) you will use. There are dozens of TLDs available (com, net, org, tv, biz, info, us, ws...). My personal preference is .com - it is the most common and one of the cheapest TLDs to register (some TLDs cost over $100 a year, compared to $6-30 a year for a .com TLD). If your web site is targeted to a specific country, you may want to use a more expensive country-specific TLD (eg. .com.au, .co.uk).

Domain Names
How to Choose & Protect a Great Name for Your Website

In summary:

  • keep it relevant to your site's content
  • keep it short
  • choose an appropriate TLD
  • make sure it is easy to spell
  • avoid punctuation when possible

Try to have at least 3 or 4 different domain names in mind before you check their availability. You will often find that your preferred domain names are already registered, which is not too surprising considering nearly 67 million domain names are registered. You can check the availability of a domain name at any of the leading domain registrars - try GoDaddy.

If you are stuck for additional ideas, do not rely on the domain registrar's suggestions (eg. GoDaddy suggests crayfishworldhome.com as an alternative to crayfishworld.com, as is taken. Not a good domain name). Use a thesaurus to find alternative wording, or try NameBoy (NB. you do not have to purchase the domain name at NameBoy. You can find suggestions for free. For example, I typed in crayfish as my primary keyword, and found a great name - mycrayfish.com).

Once you have found an available name, DO NOT PURCHASE IT YET because you must...

Choose a Registrar

This an important step. You will save money (sometimes a lot) and time by choosing a good domain registrar. Some registrars overcharge for domain registration (one particular registrar charges 400% more for a .com domain than another leading registrar). However, price is not the only factor to look at. Good registrars are easy-to-use, provide good support, and quality features.

To find a registrar, look no further. NameBays provides user-ranked registrars. Find out which registrar provides good prices, features, usability and support. All reviews and rankings are determined by customers of the registrar. Just a tip: don't base your decision on one opinion. Several reviews with good ratings for a registrar would be a good indication that the registrar is a good company to register domain names with.

Once you have found the right registrar for you, register your domain names.


Next: Develop Your Website...

 

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