They say first impressions are everything, and, with a website, people will make their first impression before they’ve even made an actual impression: they’ll see your domain name. Your domain name is your internet calling card. This makes it so incredibly important to buy domain names that are relevant to your service, as well as easy to remember, and, perhaps most important of all, available. This guide will walk you through the process.
When you buy domain names, the first decision you need to make is obviously what the domain name should be. You want something short and memorable that’s easily identifiable with your company, service, product, or cause. As the internet gets older, more and more domains are being snapped up, which makes this an increasingly difficult challenge. If your company is a brand-new startup, consider buying the domain name as early as possible, so you can change your company name should there be no domain name options available.
If your company name is already set, it becomes a bit more difficult, and may require a bit of creativity. You can alter words, such as changing ‘Company’ to ‘co,’ or dropping it entirely and simply going with a ‘.com’. Change ‘Simon And Sons’ to simon-sons. Just be sure that your newly formed domain is clearly identifiable as you. This can be tricky, as multiple words strung together canbedifficulttoread. Even if it makes sense to you, it doesn’t mean other people will understand it too. Once you’ve got an idea, ask a friend, co-worker, or other impartial observer if the domain makes sense to them.
If the domain you have your heart set on is not available in a .com, one possible option is to look into an alternate domain name extension. Each country has their own extension, such as .us in the US and .ca in Canada. Popular non-geographic extensions include .net and .info, as well as a variety of options that communicate specific messages, such as .fm, .tv, and .org (primarily used by non-profit organizations). Choosing a non-.com domain can actually help make your domain name more memorable and more descriptive of your service.
If you still can’t find an option that’s available, it may be possible to purchase a domain from whoever already owns it. This can become expensive, but if the future of your company depends on it, it may well be worth it.
Once you’ve decided on a name, it’s time to make the purchase. There are a wide variety of domain name registration companies that will allow you to buy domain names with little hassle and very little money. GoDaddy is one of the largest, with domains for as little as $10/year, but there are many other options as well. There are considerations beyond the cost of the domain, as well. Look at the terms of the contact. How long does it last? What happens when the contract is up? What happens in case of non-payment? Some companies will offer various types of searches and suggestions, to help you find a domain, which can be useful if your first choice isn’t available. You should also consider the company’s customer services record, in case anything goes wrong or you have further questions.