Domain Names Overview - Choosing or Purchasing Domain Names:
You will need 3 things for your business to be available to visitors worldwide: a website, a domain name and a web hosting service. These 3 things are the foundation of any online business and it depends on them to flourish and grow.
A domain name is your websites unique identifier on the Internet; It is how people will find your website. Just like postal addresses uniquely identify a place on Earth, domain names uniquely identify places on the internet.
A domain name is an unique combination of a custom name and a TLD.
A Top Level Domain Name (TLD) is one with .com, .net, .org, .uk, .au etc on the end, and it is commonly agreed that a .com address is the best for e-commerce websites, and it is a fact that most people searching for a business or website will usually use .com on the end of their Domain Names out of habit.
TLDs are like states are for postal addresses. If you're not familiar with TLDs (Top Level Domain Names) you can click here to see our list of all the different TLD's available Worldwide.
1./ Using Regional Domain Name Extensions...
If you live outside the US you may wish to register a TLD specific to your particular country or region (such as .uk or .au etc) as well as registering the .com version. This is a good strategy as it will likely benefit you locally, & can bring you traffic via local search engines too, but online business's should also register a .com version of their domain name for a number of reasons:
- It is better for your business's branding globally to have a Domain Name with a .com address
- Registering a Top Level Domain Name will also ensure that no-one else registers it (thereby "hijacking" some of your traffic when visitors look for your domain & type in the more commonly used .com TLD.....).
- People still tend to automatically add .com on the end of internet addresses when visiting sites they like, know or have read about....
2./ Multiple Domain Names, TLD's or Variations...
As stated above, you may wish to register a local version of your Domain Names such as .au etc to gain local traffic, or simply to protect it / them from being registered by someone else. You may also wish to protect your Domain Names further by registering other TLD extensions, such as .net.
You can re-direct multiple domain addresses to your main domain name (usually the .com domain). The visitor clicking on the regional link for example will then be directed to the .com version in an instant without usually even noticing the change and it is a good way of "funneling" many names or addresses to the one main address or site.
3./ Domain Names Registration & Registrars...
Registering a domain name secures your online name in the same way that registering an off-line business name in your local state or country does.
The registration of a domain name is the process of purchasing a domain name (if it's still available & nobody has registered it already). Companies that facilitate domain registrations are called 'registrars' .
You can check whether your chosen name is available from a domain name registrar or from a number of places on the net. Some web hosting companies also sell Domain Names & you can search for your chosen Domain Names availability via their site when you sign up for your hosting service.
Important: A word of warning when searching for domain names: Some domain name vendors / registrars are now using dishonest tactics to force visitors to purchase from them when conducting domain name searches from their site - When a visitor conducts a search for a particular domain name on their site, the domain name registrar website effectively pre-purchases it to prevent other registrars from registering it (and thereby preventing the visitor purchasing it elsewhere....).
4./ Choosing Your Domain Names....
You should prepare at least 3 names that you think you could use for your domain name, just in case some of them are already taken, and you should choose your name very carefully, as it is an essential part of your internet business and changing it later could be disastrous because you may lose any traffic you have built up.
Unless you have a (globally) well-known brand, Domain Names will usually attract more organic traffic if they include keywords that are common to your particular type of business (so for a plumbing business "www.joes-plumbing.com would be better than www.joe-smith.com......). This can make a huge difference in generating organic traffic to your website, and without it you will probably need to aggressively & constantly market your site, which can be very costly.
5./ Protecting Your Domain Names Once You Acquire Them....
You will need to ensure that you remember to renew your Domain Names registration in the future before they expire, or you may find that someone else has purchased them & you are unable to regain them. There is a flourishing market now for expired Domain Names - people buy and trade them, & will search for them daily because they know that by acquiring someone else's domain they are not only gaining the right to that business's "name", but are also gaining any traffic & links that were built up by the previous owner........
6./ Register Your Domain Names For As Many Years As You Can Afford....
As well as ensuring you don't forget to renew your Domain Names & then fall victim to some Domain Names Trader, it also makes good sense to register for a long time due to another lesser known fact - Search Engines such as Google are beginning to look more favorably upon websites with lengthy domain registrations, as the perception is that websites registered for multiple years are less likely to be "sham" sites or the like. By registering your Domain Names for a longer period, it shows them that you are serious about your domain, and your website.