Q: I have a new business and I’d like to get a domain name for my business. How do I register a domain name?
A: Registering a domain is the process by which you “rent” or “lease” a domain name such as www.helpspa.com or www.classicalweekly.com for a period of time. Registering a domain is easy and inexpensive, and it’s important to understand that even though you will have exclusive rights to use a domain, it’s never “yours”. You cannot purchase a domain name to keep in the same way you purchase a digital camera or purchase a house. For all intents and purposes, however, as long as you keep renewing the domain, it will remain yours.
The least expensive and in my opinion, most reliable registrar is GoDaddy at www.godaddy.com. I’ve been using them for years and so far I’ve never had any trouble (and no, I don’t work for them or get a discount for this article). Domain registration at GoDaddy.com runs around $10 per year for a .com domain, so don’t spend more! Other registrars will charge upwards for $30-$40 per year for the SAME thing and it’s just not necessary. And before you buy, do a Google search for “GoDaddy coupon codes” and you should be able to save a few bucks.
A few other tips:
1. NEVER purchase a domain name from your web host. ALWAYS purchase a domain name for a vendor that is independent from your web hosts. Many web hosting providers will give you the domain name for a very low price per year, but tie you into hosting at the same time. If you later decide to change web hosts, you will likely have a very hard time taking the domain with you to the new host.
2. Always make sure the domain is registered in YOUR or YOUR COMPANY’s name and not the name of your web developer, friend, etc. When push comes to shove, if there’s a problem, you want to control the domain. I’ve had clients in the past who have had developers register their domain names, and probelms ensued when changes needed to be made and the developer is no longer available (and doesn’t return calls). The client is stuck — it’s the clients business but LEGALLY, because his developer registered the name, the client has no recourse.
3. If you are serious about your business, consider registering your domain for more than one year. Search engines like to see domain names that are registered for longer periods of time because spammers will often register a domain for a year or so and then dump the domain. If Google, for example, sees that you’ve registered your domain name for 5 years, it’s thought that this longer registration terms gives your site reputability.
4. Also consider scooping up the .net and .org versions of your domain (they often cost less than the .com version). If you’ve got a great idea or service, you don’t want your competitors swooping in and confusing your customers with a .net or .org with the same name.