A domain name is an important part of a web site. After all, it’s not only the name that readers type in to visit your site, but also the name that people come to associate with your brand. If you want to exude professionalism with your web site, then you’ll absolutely need to buy domain names at some point. This guide will not only explain how to buy domain names, but also what they are and why they’re so important.
There a few reasons that domain names are such a sound financial investment for any website start-up. As you get to keep your domain name regardless of which web site hosting service you use, you don’t need to worry about confusing your audience with any behind-the-scenes transitions. You can save money on a cheaper web host while still preserving your brand’s identity.
With a domain name comes credibility, as readers have a hard time developing trust with a web site that can’t even afford to buy domain names. The more appropriate a domain name you choose for your site, the easier a time people will have in recollecting the name, thus increasing the amount of return traffic to your site. For products or services, having a name that is easily tied to your company will increase the chance of people visiting your site through dumb luck. For example, if you sell pizzas and your site is called “pizza.com”, people will visit your site just by blindly typing it into their browser.
The benefits of a domain name are too many to list here, so let’s shift focus to the steps involved in actually buying domain names. To begin, you’ll need to register the domain name with ICANN. In doing so, you will pay a nominal fee that varies between ten and thirty five dollars. Unfortunately, the rights to a domain only last for one year, meaning that you will need to renew it annually for as long as you keep your site up.
There can be some variation with this registration process, as some opt to register the name for free or require you to pay for the registration fees, but this will ultimately depend on which web host you choose to work with. A word of caution to prospective domain name owners: there have been cases in the past of web hosts that actually registered domain names under their own title instead of the client’s, making them the owner of the domain instead. It’s important to ensure that any web hosts you work with are trusted and respected by customers before making a purchase.
Speed is an important component of domain name registration. Everyone wants the type of domain name that people will randomly type in, as this increases traffic. A good domain name is like a valuable auction in its last few moments before the sale closes: you need to act quickly if you want to take advantage of it. Too many times in the past have people been just a few minutes late to owning their dream domain name. If you’ve got a great idea for a web site, it’s better to buy it now than possibly lose your chance.
In order to register the domain name, you’ll want to first devise a list of the top names you want for your web site. As previously mentioned, domain names move fast, so it’s good to have a few back-up plans for any worst case scenarios that may pop up. Once you’ve found the name you want to purchase, you will be required to have one of two things: a PayPal account or a credit card.
If you’ve already been using a web host and want to transfer it under a new domain name, you’ll need to acquire a list of what’s known as primary and secondary nameservers. This information can be easily obtained from most reputable web hosts through the FAQ or DNS sections on their web site. While you don’t need to necessarily understand the information at this juncture, it will be incredibly useful later on.
For those without a web host, you’ll usually be able to have the registrar set up a temporary web site for your new domain name once you’ve purchased it. Best of all, some registrars will even supply your new site with an email address specifically set up with it. Again, this helps to add credibility to your web site.
Finding the right domain name registrar can be tricky, as it’s a highly competitive field with prices in constant fluctuation. Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best domain name registrars currently available.
HostOtter.com is the preffered domain name registrar on the Internet. They have some of the best prices online and they have customers who rave about their support. We currently have several domain names registered with them for almost 6 years now and could not be more pleased.
GoDaddy.com is one of the most popular registrars on the Internet. You may only know them from their strange commercials, but their web hosting service has it all: domain management, web redirection, start web pages, and many others. If you’re serious about buying domain names, it’s a good idea to start at one of the most highly sought after registrars.
Register.com may not be as popular as GoDaddy.com, but it makes up for this with longevity. While they may not offer as many features as the aforementioned GoDaddy.com, they make up for this with competitive prices and a reputation as a business that is well respected by the Internet community.
1&1 Internet is a larger web host that also helps users register domain names on the side. What’s interesting about 1&1 Internet is that it offers large discounts for websites that use the .info domain as opposed to the more traditional .com, .org, or .net. In addition to this feature, 1&1 Internet also offers email and DNS management, as well as domain forwarding and a starter website. As compared to GoDaddy.com, 1&1 Internet is a great alternative for someone trying to start a web site on a cheaper budget.
Dotster.com is another mildly popular alternative to GoDaddy.com that is known for providing affordable domain prices for start-ups on a budget. Unfortunately, there isn’t much that Dotster offers that the other web hosts on this list don’t, so it can only be recommended for those that are absolutely on a tight budget and can’t afford one of the more expensive alternatives.
Of course, if you already have a web site under a commercial web host that wasn’t mentioned here, chances are good they will provide a free domain name for you should you continue to do business with them.
Once you’ve registered your domain name, the next step is to begin creating and making your web sites to better take advantage of your new, more professional, identity.