Picking the Right Domain Name Registrar for Your Blog or Website
Domain names identify you on the Internet to your customers and prospects. It's not a stretch to say that a great domain name is the first step towards a great website because a good domain name will tell your visitors exactly who you are and in some cases exactly what you do. With that said you should spend some time brainstorming a good name for your website and make sure you go with the best possible choice.
You want to make sure you purchase your own domain name from a domain name registrar (like GoDaddy) and not use any type of free domain you'd get from a free website or blog. There are several reasons for having your own domain name and not using a domain name that is a part of a free website service or blog, including:
- If you decide to change web hosts (e.g. switching from GoDaddy to Bluehost) the domain name stays with you. Regular customers and other visitors who are familiar with your name (ie: www.example.com) would not have to be informed individually or via a mass e-mail about the web address change (also known as URL). As before, they would simply type your domain name and they'd be able to access your new website as if no hosting changes had occurred. The main point here is that you want to actually own your own domain.
- As an online business, domain names give your company presence and credibility. People are less likely to do business with or trust companies that don't have their own domain name.
- If your business domain name alludes to your company's main activity, people will remember it easily and can visit your website without having to consult papers, business cards, or their smartphone. With a good name describing your product or service, you might attract people from Google searches and just plain luck. Think of your domain name as another way you brand your online business.
- Good domain names are almost a prerequisite if you are looking for advertisers. They will give your website respectability and credibility.
With all of that said, let's take a look at how you can find a domain name for your website.
How to Find a Great Domain Name
1. Conduct a domain search with your registrar/web hosting company. You can also get ideas, brainstorm, and find available domain names using a domain name generator.
The reason you want to do this, and possibly use a domain name generator to help, is that these days it can be especially hard to find an available domain name that you want right off the bat as many good domain names are already taken.
2. Choose a reliable company that won't compromise your digital identity. This company should give you access to the widest selection possible, including the hundreds of niche specific extensions (e.g. city, location, occupation, etc.) that are coming online by the hundreds.
3. When you choose a registrar, look for a simple domain set-up that does not demand any technical skills. It should also offer easy domain forwarding to any existing website, a good number of subdomains to customize your site and enough e-mail aliases (e.g. name @ example.com).
4. The ability to have real-time monitoring to make sure your website is up and running is also desirable.
Domain Privacy and Protection
A domain privacy plan protects against identity theft, prevents domain-related spam, and deters domain hacking. The cost of protection is usually the same as the domain name itself, but for ten to twenty dollars per year, a reputable registrar will offer as a minimum:
- Locked protection against personal information exposure.
- Masking personal details in the Whois directory.
- Prevention of domain-related spam.
- Deterrence against domain hijackers.
- Protects you from stalkers and harassers.
- Includes a private e-mail address that can be forwarded to you, filtered or blocked.
Many domain name registrars will even offer privacy protection for the life of the domain or at least the first year.
More advanced services suitable for businesses (e.g. credit card protection, Certified Protection seals, “deadbolt” domain transfer protection) are available.
Advanced Domain Name Registrar Services
An established domain name registrar will want to make things as simple as possible for its domain name customers. This may include some or all of the following services. Ask about them when investigating your domain options:
- Private Registration.
- Geographic domain-mapping tool that lets you to quickly search and secure a bunch of location-specific domain names.
- Internationalized domain names: Register popular domain names in scores of different languages, and allow searches for them in both English and native languages to work.
- Domain Backorders: Get on the waiting list for that special name currently owned by another business, and be in position to purchase the moment it is released.
- Access to bulk domain discounts and domain auctions.
Domain names, such a simple aspect of business, can make all the difference for your online presence. Whether you're looking for a domain name that will brand your business or one that is search engine friendly, the right one can put more money in your pocket, but the wrong one will drive customers away to your competitors, so choose wisely!