A business’s domain name is such a crucial aspect of its online identity. Domain names may be easy and relatively inexpensive to register, but many decisions have to be made before registering a name. Here are some of the most important considerations to be made by anyone who wants to register a domain name.
1. Choosing a Top Level Domain (TLD)
The TLD refers to the part of the domain that comes after the name. For example, .com and .net are both common TLDs. TLDs can be country specific. For example, .co.uk is the most common TLD used in the United Kingdom. If your business operates in a specific country, you may want to choose a TLD for that country. If you operate in various territories, you may want to register a different TLD for each one. In the United States, the most common TLD .com. Many people will automatically search for the .com version of a name, so choosing a different TLD could cause confusion.
However, if the .com for your name is already taken, don’t just choose the same name with another TLD. Most people will search for the .com version, so you could end up sending potential to another website altogether. Try choosing a different name. If the .com is free, you may want to use this as your main domain and then register other TLDs with the same name, such as .us and .net. You can then point these domains back to your main domain so that whichever version a person types into their web browser, they will end up at your website.
2. Deciding Upon a Name
The name that you choose for your domain is very important because this will be your online identity. The first option for your businesses is to simply choose your business name, or at least a shortened version of it. If you find that your business name is available, register it as soon as possible. One quick rule to remember is that short is usually better. A short name is easier to remember and easier to type into the address bar. If you have a particularly long business name, you may want to shorten it to the initials. Try to avoid using hyphens in your domain name as much as possible. Remembering to insert hyphens is difficult for people who are trying to find your website. Numbers are also best avoided.
Once you have thought of the name you want to use and know that it is available, show it to a few people first to see what they think. Some names may look confusing at first glance, especially if they consist of three words joined together, so you may want to change your name if this is the case.
3. An Option if Your Domain is Unavailable
If you find that your preferred domain name is unavailable, you may want to try to buy it from the current owner. To do this, either make contact through the website or search the WHOIS database to find out who the current owner is, and try to make contact with them this way.
4. Theft Protection
Another factor to keep in mind is that you may want to prevent your details being revealed when someone searches the WHOIS database. You can do this by applying Theft Protection. Domain registrars such as may charge extra for this service (IceStormDomains has it free), but it may be useful if you do not want your contact details to show up for any reason.
5. SEO Factors
If you plan to use SEO as a marketing tactic once your website has been launched, it is a good idea to keep this in mind from the moment you decide upon a domain name. You can do this by using one of your main keywords in your domain name, and this may help to make your website more visible. However, the SEO effect is not significant, so this is only a minor consideration.
6. Shop Around
Finally, go ahead and spend some time looking at various domain registrars before deciding upon one. Changing the registrar at a later date is possible, but finding the right one from the start is more convenient. Check not only the price charged to register a domain but also the ease of use, the customer service, and any special offers available.