These days, your domain name is a very important part of your business’ brand. Years ago, they used to be very expensive. Now, you can get registrations for just a few dollars a year, so anyone can have their own domain.
When you’re ready to select a name, 1and1 is offering .com registrations at $6.99 per year with no contract, including private registration (keep reading for an explanation). This is an absolutely phenomenal price. Private registration costs at least three times as much anywhere else.
Since many of the domain names are already taken, your first step is to decide if the name you want is available. Click here to check availability.
Some tips on selecting a domain name:
- Search engines do give weight to your domain name, so if it contains terms that you want your site to rank well for, try to include them in a tasteful way. The domain name qualityvinylsiding.com looks good and a user would likely go there; the domain name quality-vinyl-siding-contractors-fast-cheap.com screams “spam” and you’re not going to get very many hits. Your domain name does not have to contain terms you want to rank for. It’s helpful, but not necessary.
- Your domain name shouldn’t be excessively long. Choose something easy to remember.
- There are a lot of domain name extensions open to the public – .com, .net, .org, .ws, .us, and .biz to name a few. It’s usually a good idea to have a .com address, as it looks more professional. It’s also more easily remembered.
- If you want jonsusedcars.com but it’s taken, I don’t recommend getting another extension like jonsusedcars.biz. There will be no shortage of people going to jonsusedcars.com – your competitor – by mistake, because they’re used to .com names. If at all possible, choose a domain name that no one else is using.
- For sites that will be heavily promoted, it’s often a good idea to register the name in .com, .org, and .net extensions, because spammers will often throw up pay-per-click sites at similar sounding domain names, and this could potentially mislead customers who mistakenly visit yoursite.net if your page is at yoursite.com.
- Consider a private registration. There is a publicly-viewable “WHOIS database” that contains the name, address, phone number, and email address of the person who registered the domain. Private registrations hide this information from the public (WHOIS lookups are how spambots get many email addresses). For personal sites, I recommend private registration. For company sites, I recommend that you allow your contact information to be viewable in the database (it increases credibility).
- Make sure you know how to access and change the settings for your domain. For an explanation of why, and a brief overview of how domains, servers, and hosts work, click here.