Domain Names 101.1: What Is A Domain Name?
There are many companies out there that offer great domain name registry services for a great price. If your paying somewhere between $ 20, to $ 30, to $ 40 per domain, you're getting ripped off. The average price you should be paying for registering a domain name is around $ 10- $ 15 per year, per domain.
Step 1) You must search for an available name to buy:
Here are a couple of companies I would recommend to anyone.
- www.godaddy.com – Always have great deals.
- www.domainsatcost.com / or .ca – Great support & reasonable prices.
- www.afternic.com – Buy & sell "used" domains.
- www.netfirms.ca – Well established registar company.
Once you visit these websites you will need to look for their "search function" in order to search to see if the domain name you want is available for purchase. Within some industries like the real estate industry, you might have to search for hours before you find a suitable domain name for your business. Try mixing up the name in different variations, for example:
In this example I will use "Domain Names" for my search
As you can see, I've tried to mix up the words "Domain Names" as much as possible. In fact, there are many companies world wide that are deciding the name for their business by the availability of domain names. Sounds funny does it? Just try searching for a domain name for "Web Design". You might be there for hours. It may take you a few weeks to find the right domain name for your business. Once you find it, buy it!
In the past, I used to recommend to my clients that they hold off on registering their business name before searching for a domain name. Domain names are valuable net-real-estate and shouldn't be taken lightly.
Things To Avoid When Searching For A Domain Name:
- 1) Avoid a lengthy domain: There's nothing worse when you see someone with a domain that is way too long like; [http://www.this-is-my-domain-name-for-sale.com]. Try asking your clients to type that one in !!! The smaller your domain is, the easier it is to remember, and the less of a chance you have of someone miss typing your domain when trying to visit your website.
- 2) Avoid dashes if possible: Dashes are fairly new to the domain world. Most people don't think about using dashes when typing a domain name for example; http://www.domain-name.com . If you do use a dash, make sure to keep it to 2 words only, no more.
- 3) Avoid domains where .com .ca .net and .biz are already taken: I made this mistake when I started out. I desperately wanted Smartads.info because smartads.com was taken. Over the years, I've had numerous people tell me that they couldn't find my company, or they didn't think I was in California. Many clients of mine were never able to remember that my domain was smartads.INFO. On top of that, I'm sure my efforts over the years have brought smartads.com a huge amount of traffic to their website from people searching online thinking it was my business they where visiting.
Domain Names 101.3: How Long Should I Buy My Domain For?
Most people register domain names for only 1 year. This is a big mistake for a couple of reasons:
1) The internet is full of scammers online who register a domain name for 1 year in order to spam, and scam as much as possible until moving onto another domain. At the same time, most companies rise and fall within 1 year. Because of this, Google and other top search engines look at this and weigh a domain name higher if the owner registers a domain name for more than 1 year. In fact, I recommend that you max out your domain name to a 10 year ownership if possible. This will tell search engines who are looking into it that you mean business, and that you're here to stay.
2) People all over the internet register their domains for 1 year and sometimes forget to renew their domain when the renewal is due. There are companies out there that have lost their domains from a service called "domain back-ordering" were an individual can order a back-order on a specific domain claiming ownership for that domain if it goes up for sale. This is a serious matter, I've lost 2 important domains because of this. Trust me, this is one mistake I will never make again. If you go on vacation, or don't pay attention, and you happen to miss the domain renewal date, someone might snatch your domain right from under your nose.
If your budget permits it, always try to max out the number of years you can buy your domain for. This way you'll ensure that you have that domain for a very long time.
Domain Names 101.4: What is A Domain Name Extension?
An extension is the 2, or 3 digits after your name for example; http://www.domainname.COM . For a long time .COM was the only extension a person, or business could use. Nowadays, there are many extensions meaning different things, let's take a look at the available extensions, and see what they stand for:
- .Com – Universal (Commercial)
- .Net – Network
- .Biz – Business
- .Org – Non-Profit
- .Info – Information
- .TV – Television
- .Ws – Web Site
- .Coop – Business Cooperatives
- .Name – Personal Use
- .Pro – Professionals
- .museum – Museum (Sources of information)
- .travel – Travel Industry
- .Us – United States
- .Ca – Canada
- .Uk – United Kingdom
To view all the domain extensions for each COUNTRTY, go here for the master list:
These extensions are reserved, and cannot be bought for personal use:
- .Gov – Government
- .Edu – Education
- .Mil – Military
Domain Names 101.5: How To Protect Your Domain Name?
This topic is a very serious issue and should NOT be taken lightly. 100's of companies across the globe are being used, abused, and scammed. The reason for this is because the owner of the domain name is sometimes NOT the real owner. If you pay for a service from your web development company that includes; your website, your hosting service, and your domain name, take action right away and make sure that YOU own the domain name rights. Many web design companies out there are registering their client's domain names for them which can ultimately give them all rights and privileges to that domain name. When a web design company registers your domain for you, they can change the ownership to them, not you without you knowing about it. If you fail to pay for their services for any reason, they can then go back and take down your website, and control who uses the domain name. I've had so many calls asking for help with their domain name because their web design company won't change the ownership for them. If your in this situation, you have a couple of options:
- Give up now and start fresh
- If the domain is valuable, take them to court right away
- Contact http://www.tucows.com with proof of purchase
- Perform a "WHOIS" lookup on the domain name (which tells you who owns the domain name)
- Go to http://www.whois.net and enter your domain name
- Save and print any information listed there
Also, try to avoid ANY company that you don't recognize either by mail, or by email that states that you need to re-register your domain name before it expires. Do not trust any organization you don't recognize. There are a number of companies that pool into the domain name data base in order to fish out suckers that might need to register their domains for another year very soon. I've gotten numerous direct mail stating that my domain is up for renewal, one of them even demanded $ 800 to renew my domain name. As you might know, I called this company and had a few words with them.
The number 1 preventative action you can take, is by holding control over your domain name. Make sure to register the domain name yourself, once you have all control yourself, then hire a web design company. Do NOT give them access to it unless you really trust them. If you do give them access to your domain manager in order to point your domain name to your hosting services, try to immediately change the password after the service is complete. NEVER give out your password for your domain manager to anyone unless you really have to.
I'll put it another way: Would you give the combination to your safe to anyone? This situation is exactly the same. Control over your domain name is sometimes as serious as controlling your business.
Domain Names 101.6: What Is A Sub-Domain?
Sub-domains are exactly that. [http://sub.domainname.com]. Sub-domains are typically used to separate a section of your content online to target a specific area. Sub domains are also used to store information that you want no one to see. Yahoo is a great example of using sub-domains. When you go to the "Canada" side of Yahoo, you're actually going to http://ca.yahoo.com/ . "ca" for Canada .yahoo.com. This helps them to separate all information for their Canadian website.
Domain Names 101.7: How To Forward A Domain Name?
Domain name forwarding can be a useful tool to use. Again, I will use Yahoo for the best example of this. I just mentioned to you how Yahoo! Uses a sub-domain "ca.yahoo.com" for the Canadian content side of their website. Most people don't know about going directly to ca.yahoo.com, most people associate Canada with the extension .CA. Yahoo uses this knowledge by registering http://www.Yahoo.CA and forwarding the domain name to> ca.yahoo.com. Try it out yourself, in your browser address bar, type in http://www.yahoo.ca and see where it takes you.
Sometimes you need to protect your name by registering different domain name extensions, if you don't want to build a website for each extension, and you don't want each extension to go to a blank page, simply forward your other domain names to your main website. Another method of forwarding is by registering domain names that have a small spelling mistake which people might make all the time. Spelling mistakes are common, people are ultimately human. I know of some companies that register domain names with their company name, but that have spelling mistakes in them. They then forward> these domains with spelling errors to their main website. This ensures that there's no loss of potential business.
Domain Names 101.8: How To Setup Your Domain Name?
This section above all has baffled a lot of people. Many of you might think that by registering a domain name, you can now show your website. This cannot be farther from the truth. Sure, you just registered a domain name, but your domain is like having an address without a house. In order to have the house, you need to have a "hosting service" in place. Without getting into what is a hosting service, I will tell you this; A hosting services is basically a "holding place" for your website files so that people can see your website online. Hosting is storage for your website. Your domain name needs to point to that storing place in order for the general public to view your website files.
If you don't have any hosting services in place, try searching for (depending on your needs):
- Small business hosting services
- Affordable hosting services
- Secure hosting services
- eCommerce hosting services
- Dedicated hosting services
Changing The DNS:
Once your hosting is setup, now you need to point your domain name to your hosting services (storage). We do this by changing the "DNS" Domain Name Servers that tell the internet were to look for your hosting service.
Step 1) You need to find out the "addresses" to your hosting service, they usually go like so: dns1.hostingservice.com, dns2.hostingservice.com. If you don't know where to find the DNS addresses, simply contact your hosting service for them. This is typically the # 1 reason why your web design company needs access to your domain manager. They need to get in and update the DNS addresses in order to point your domain name to their hosting service. I highly recommend that you learn how to do it yourself in order to keep control over who uses your domain name.
Step 2) Within your domain name manager, you'll need to look for a link that should say; Change DNS, Update DNS, Manage Domain, etc. Once you find this area, simply type in, or paste the 2 DNS addresses within slot # 1 and, slot # 2. Click on the update, change, or submit button. That's it. Within 24-48 hours, your domain name should be pointed to your hosting service.
Domain Names 101.9: How To Protect Your Company Name Online?
This step is not needed for all companies, but if you plan to do all of your business online, this may save your company name later on. Branding online is very important. If by chance you do become very popular, there are going to be individuals who are going to try to use your success for their own advantage. When I started out, "Smartads" was a word that was really well known. Over the years, companies have been popping up with "Smartads Banners Ads", "Smartads This", and "Smartads That". They did this because I did not secure all of the domain name extensions across the board.
Make sure that these extensions are available …
- .whatever your country is (Ex. .CA for Canada, or .US for USA)
If all of these extensions are available for your business name, make sure to buy them all !!! Use .com as your main website, and forward the other domains to .com. Trust me, this will help to protect your branding online by not allowing for Joe Shmo's to take your good name and use it for themselves. If you truly have a big budget, and your business has offices across the globe, make sure to buy all the domain names that you can, including every country extension your business operates in.
Some people online might advise you not to buy all of the above extensions, but I want you to think of this. Let's say years down the road your company launches a new amazing product or service, and you need to build a new website for it, you now have the ability to use one of your domain names to illustrate this new product or services and keep your company branding tight!
A domain name is your website address. You can buy domain names from domain register companies. Make sure to max out the amount of years you claim ownership for your domain name to 10 years. Avoid using lengthy domains, or too many dashes. Learn about the domain name extensions and see if they apply to you. Protect control over your domain to avoid losing it later on. Use sub-domains to illustrate different content not related to your main content. Forward other domain names if needed until you want to use them. Setup your domain name by getting a hosting service to store your website files, and change the DNS info to point your domain to your hosting services. Protect your company branding by buying up all the extensions possible for your domain to prevent anyone from using them against you.