Buying a domain name is a relatively simple process, but it can be confusing managing them. There are a lot of options to consider, and there are hundreds of registrars to choose from.
There are several important decisions you’ll need to make. It’s not enough to simply register a domain from the first place you find. You need to choose the best possible domain for your website, buy from a registrar you can trust, and manage it effectively.
You’ll also need to decide whether or not you want to use WHOIS protection, whether to park the domain, and how long to register it. Believe or not, these things do make a difference.
So let’s get started so that you can find out exactly how to register a domain and manage it correctly.
Choosing a Registrar
The first thing you need to do is decide which registrar you wish to use. GoDaddy is a popular choice, but I don’t recommend it. According to many people, they are prone to disabling domains even over false spam reports, and then charging a huge fee to reinstate the domain, even if you can prove you did nothing wrong.
NameCheap is a popular option. They have free WHOIS protection for the first year of each domain, and they have a coupon each month that lets you get a nice discount, making each domain less than $10.
I will use NameCheap as the example in this guide, because I consider it to be the best registrar. It is affordable, the support is good, and their interface is easy to use.
I don’t recommend using the domain services of a hosting company. They will often hold your domain hostage and make it difficult to transfer it if you decide to leave their hosting. Always register your domain yourself, and always do it directly through a registrar.
Finding a Domain Name
Many people believe all the good domain names are taken. This isn’t true. While it’s true that you aren’t going to be able to pick up books.com or anything similar, there are still plenty of great domains available.
In order to choose the right domain for your purposes, you need to decide what you’re going to use the domain for. There are two main classifications.
If you want to create a niche-based blog or website or you want to invest in a domain that you can sell for a profit later, you’ll want to buy a keyword-based domain name.
You should look for domain names that have high-traffic keywords. If you wanted to make a site about Discount Golf Clubs, you would ideally want to get DiscountGolfClubs.com.
Keyword domains, especially for keywords that get significant numbers of searches, also have great resale value. You could buy a domain for $10 and flip it for hundreds, or even thousands.
If you want to create a site that will be branded like Pinterest or Flickr, you can be a little more creative. You’ll want to get a one word domain (or two at most). But you can use creative spelling.
When buying a domain for branding purposes:
1. Look for a word that won’t be too difficult to spell. Flickr is relatively easy to remember, but Fotograffi might not be. Too many letters are changed. People might not remember which ones are different from the original word. It should be memorable.
2. Choose a word that fits your niche. For a site about golf, you might get something like Puttr.com, for example.
3. Integrate your branding. Make sure you can craft a logo that will help people remember your domain name.
Warning: Do NOT search for domain names on any registrar until you are ready to buy! Some registrars make deals with speculators to provide recently searched names to them. They buy the domains and then charge a premium for them later.
Registering a Domain
Once it’s time to register a domain, you need to keep a few things in mind. First, don’t use fake information during the registration process. You could get your domain taken away from you later, which would be a real shame if you’ve built significant traffic to it.
Second, you’ll probably want to register all of your domains with the same registrar. It gets tedious having to worry about your domains at multiple registrars.
You’ll also need to decide whether or not you want to use WHOIS protection, and how long to register the domain for.
Many people automatically opt for WHOIS protection, but this isn’t always the best option. Some SEO experts have suggested that Google and other search engines may penalize sizes who have their registration information protected.
Additionally, some customers may not trust you if you protect your information. This could result in lost sales.
However, if you are worried about people finding out what you’re doing or coming to your home, you may wish to use WHOIS protection or at least give a P.O. Box instead of a street address.
You can register your domain for only one year, or most registrars will allow you to register a domain for up to ten years at a time. If you can afford it, go for a longer registration period.
For one thing, you won’t be at risk of accidentally forgetting to renew your domain. You’d be surprised how often this happens. You may not get the reminder email, and if you don’t have it set up to automatically renew, you could lose the domain.
Another major reason to register for at least two years at a time is because some SEO experts believe Google may give a boost to sites with longer registrations. They believe Google may think a site is more trustworthy if it is registered longer, because spammers usually register for only a year, assuming they may get banned quickly, anyway.
In order to use your domain, you need to set up the name servers. This tells computers where to find your domain when someone tries to go there. It connects your domain with your web server.
I’m going to show you how to set up your name servers with NameCheap. You’ll need your name servers from your hosting company. You may be able to find these in your control panel, or in the welcome email you got from them. If you can’t find them, contact your hosting company and ask.
You’ll need two. They will look like this:
Log into NameCheap. Beside “Number of domains in your account”, click “view”. Then find the domain you want to modify and click it. In the menu on the left, click “Domain Name Server Setup”.
Click the selection field beside “Specify Custom DNS Servers (Your own DNS Servers). Then enter both DNS servers and click “Save Changes”. You’re done!
You may not always want to host a website or blog on your domain name. You might want to use it to forward elsewhere. For example, article marketers often use domains to forward straight to their affiliate links.
It’s very simple to set up domain forward with NameCheap, but you can only use it if you are using their default name servers. You’ll have to switch them back to NameCheap’s before you proceed.
Log into your account and select Manage Domains. Click the domain you want to forward and choose “All Host Records”. In the “@” field, enter your domain name. In the “www” field, enter the URL you want to forward the domain to (for example, your affiliate link.) Be sure it says “URL Redirect” under “RECORD TYPE”.
To transfer the name servers back to NameCheap, click your domain and select “Transfer DNS Back to Us” from the left menu. Then tick the box beside “Transfer DNS to NameCheap Default DNS and click “Save Changes.” Do this before you attempt to set up forwarding; otherwise, you won’t have the option available.
You can make money with your domain name when it’s not in use by parking it. You won’t make a lot unless your domain is visited very often, but it’s better than nothing if you aren’t currently using the domain, anyway.
As with forwarding, you can only park a page if you have changed your domain to NameCheap’s default name servers. Once you have done that, go to “Manage Domains”, click your domain, and select “Customize Parked Page”. You can then change your parked page to whatever you want.
Keep in mind that you won’t be able to add images to a parked page. You can only use text on it. But you can use various types of ads there. Just make sure they allow parking, because some companies (like Google AdSense) don’t allow their ads to be displayed on websites with no content, like parked pages.
Parking your domain can help you make a little money while you decide what to do with a domain, or while it is under development.
Do you know what you’re going to do with your domain name now? Are you ready to start your business online.
Join me and my students at Strategic Marketing Road Map where you too will learn how to start and grow your own business online
For further information about starting and building your business online please visit a leading web design and coaching company that offers professional website design and internet marketing coaching services tailored to suit your individual needs.
Faye Bond is the face behind Bond Global and she is the expert in helping women to start their business online and to take it to the next level. With several years of experience and specialized training, Faye knows exactly where to start and what steps to achieve to be successful online. With her extensive knowledge in Internet Marketing, comprehensive website design skills and her expertise in business start up, Faye has established herself as the Expert that women go to… to turn their dreams into reality and put their businesses online.
Domain Names 101.1: What Is A Domain Name?
A domain name is simply another name for your website url, or website address. For example: “http://www.domainname101.ca”. Domain Names 101.2: How To Buy A Domain Name?
There are many companies out there that offer great domain name registry services for a great price. If your paying somewhere between $20, to $30, to $40 per domain, you’re getting ripped off. The average price you should be paying for registering a domain name is around $10-$15 per year, per domain.
Step 1) You must search for an available name to buy:
Here are a couple of companies I would recommend to anyone.
- www.godaddy.com – Always have great deals.
- www.domainsatcost.com / or .ca – Great support & reasonable prices.
- www.afternic.com – Buy & sell “used” domains.
- www.netfirms.ca – Well established registar company.
Once you visit these websites you will need to look for their “search function” in order to search to see if the domain name you want is available for purchase. Within some industries like the real estate industry, you might have to search for hours before you find a suitable domain name for your business. Try mixing up the name in different variations, for example:
In this example I will use “Domain Names” for my search
As you can see, I’ve tried to mix up the words “Domain Names” as much as possible. In fact, there are many companies world wide that are deciding the name for their business by the availability of domain names. Sounds funny doesn’t it? Just try searching for a domain name for “Web Design”. You might be there for hours. It may take you a few weeks to find the right domain name for your business. Once you find it, buy it!
In the past, I used to recommend to my clients that they hold off on registering their business name before searching for a domain name. Domain names are valuable net-real-estate and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Things To Avoid When Searching For A Domain Name:
- 1) Avoid a lengthy domain: There’s nothing worst when you see someone with a domain that is way too long like; [http://www.this-is-my-domain-name-for-sale.com] . Try asking your clients to type that one in!!! The smaller your domain is, the easier it is to remember, and the less of a chance you have of someone miss typing your domain when trying to visit your website.
- 2) Avoid dashes if possible: Dashes are fairly new to the domain world. Most people don’t think about using dashes when typing a domain name for example; If you do use a dash, make sure to keep it to 2 words only, no more.
- 3) Avoid domains where .com .ca .net and .biz are already taken: I made this mistake when I started out. I desperately wanted Smartads.info because smartads.com was taken. Over the years, I’ve had numerous people tell me that they couldn’t find my company, or they didn’t think I was in California. Many clients of mine were never able to remember that my domain was smartads.INFO. On top of that, I’m sure my efforts over the years have brought smartads.com a huge amount of traffic to their website from people searching online thinking it was my business they where visiting.
Domain Names 101.3: How Long Should I Buy My Domain For?
Most people register domain names for only 1 year. This is a big mistake for a couple of reasons:
1) The internet is full of scammers online who register a domain name for 1 year in order to spam, and scam as much as possible until moving onto another domain. At the same time, most companies rise and fall within 1 year. Because of this, Google and other top search engines look at this and weigh a domain name higher if the owner registers a domain name for more than 1 year. In fact, I recommend that you max out your domain name to a 10 year ownership if possible. This will tell search engines who are looking into it that you mean business, and that you’re here to stay.
2) People all over the internet register their domains for 1 year and sometimes forget to renew their domain when the renewal is due. There are companies out there that have lost their domains from a service called “domain back-ordering” were an individual can order a back-order on a specific domain claiming ownership for that domain if it goes up for sale. This is a serious matter, I’ve lost 2 important domains because of this. Trust me, this is one mistake I will never make again. If you go on vacation, or don’t pay attention, and you happen to miss the domain renewal date, someone might snatch your domain right from under your nose.
If your budget permits it, always try to max out the number of years you can buy your domain for. This way you’ll ensure that you have that domain for a very long time.
Domain Names 101.4: What is A Domain Name Extension?
An extension is the 2, or 3 digits after your name for example; . For a long time .COM was the only extension a person, or business could use. Nowadays, there are many extensions meaning different things, let’s take a look at the available extensions, and see what they stand for:
- .Com – Universal (Commercial)
- .Net – Network
- .Biz – Business
- .Org – Non-Profit
- .Info – Information
- .Tv – Television
- .Ws – Web Site
- .Coop – Business Cooperatives
- .Name – Personal Use
- .Pro – Professionals
- .museum – Museum (Sources of information)
- .travel – Travel Industry
- .Us – United States
- .Ca – Canada
- .Uk – United Kingdom
To view all the domain extensions for each COUNTRTY, go here for the master list:
These extensions are reserved, and cannot be bought for personal use:
- .Gov – Government
- .Edu – Education
- .Mil – Military
Domain Names 101.5: How To Protect Your Domain Name?
This topic is a very serious issue and should NOT be taken lightly. 100’s of companies across the globe are being used, abused, and scammed. The reason for this is because the owner of the domain name is sometimes NOT the real owner. If you pay for a service from your web development company that includes; your website, your hosting service, and your domain name, take action right away and make sure that YOU own the domain name rights. Many web design companies out there are registering their client’s domain names for them which can ultimately give them all rights and privileges to that domain name. When a web design company registers your domain for you, they can change the ownership to them, not you without you knowing about it. If you fail to pay for their services for any reason, they can then go back and take down your website, and control who uses the domain name. I’ve had so many calls asking for help with their domain name because their web design company won’t change the ownership for them. If your in this situation, you have a couple of options:
- Give up now and start fresh
- If the domain is valuable, take them to court right away
- Contact with proof of purchase
- Perform a “WHOIS” lookup on the domain name (Which tells you who owns the domain name)
- Go to and enter your domain name
- Save and print any information listed there
Also, try to avoid ANY company that you don’t recognize either by mail, or by email that states that you need to re-register your domain name before it expires. Do not trust any organization you don’t recognize. There are a number of companies that pool into the domain name data base in order to fish out suckers that might need to register their domains for another year very soon. I’ve gotten numerous direct mail stating that my domain is up for renewal, one of them even demanded $800 to renew my domain name. As you might know, I called this company and had a few words with them.
The number 1 preventative action you can take, is by holding control over your domain name. Make sure to register the domain name yourself, once you have all control yourself, then hire a web design company. Do NOT give them access to it unless you really trust them. If you do give them access to your domain manager in order to point your domain name to your hosting services, try to immediately change the password after the service is complete. NEVER give out your password for your domain manager to anyone unless you really have to.
I’ll put it another way: Would you give the combination to your safe to anyone? This situation is exactly the same. Control over your domain name is sometimes as serious as controlling your business.
Domain Names 101.6: What Is A Sub-Domain?
Sub-domains are exactly that. [http://sub.domainname.com]. Sub-domains are typically used to separate a section of your content online to target a specific area. Sub domains are also used to store information that you want no one to see. Yahoo is a great example of using sub-domains. When you go to the “Canada” side of Yahoo, you’re actually going to “ca” for Canada .yahoo.com. This helps them to separate all information for their Canadian website.
Domain Names 101.7: How To Forward A Domain Name?
Domain name forwarding can be a useful tool to use. Again, I will use Yahoo for the best example of this. I just mentioned to you how Yahoo! uses a sub-domain “ca.yahoo.com” for the Canadian content side of their website. Most people don’t know about going directly to ca.yahoo.com, most people associate Canada with the extension .CA. Yahoo uses this knowledge by registering and forwarding the domain name to > ca.yahoo.com. Try it out yourself, in your browser address bar, type in and see where it takes you.
Sometimes you need to protect your name by registering different domain name extensions, if you don’t want to build a website for each extension, and you don’t want each extension to go to a blank page, simply forward your other domain names to your main website. Another method of forwarding is by registering domain names that have a small spelling mistake which people might make all the time. Spelling mistakes are common, people are ultimately human. I know of some companies that register domain names with their company name, but that have spelling mistakes in them. They then forward > these domains with spelling errors to their main website. This ensures that there’s no loss of potential business.
Usually you can forward a domain name within your domain manager from the company you registered the domain name with.
Domain Names 101.8: How To Setup Your Domain Name?
This section above all has baffled a lot of people. Many of you might think that by registering a domain name, you can now show your website. This cannot be farther from the truth. Sure, you just registered a domain name, but your domain is like having an address without a house. In order to have the house, you need to have a “hosting service” in place. Without getting into what is a hosting service, I will tell you this; A hosting services is basically a “holding place” for your website files so that people can see your website online. Hosting is storage for your website. Your domain name needs to point to that storing place in order for the general public to view your website files.
If you don’t have any hosting services in place, try searching for (depending on your needs):
- Small business hosting services
- Affordable hosting services
- Secure hosting services
- eCommerce hosting services
- Dedicated hosting services
Changing The DNS:
Once your hosting is setup, now you need to point your domain name to your hosting services(storage). We do this by changing the “DNS” Domain Name Servers that tell the internet were to look for your hosting service.
Step 1) You need to find out the “addresses” to your hosting service, they usually go like so: dns1.hostingservice.com, dns2.hostingservice.com. If you don’t know where to find the DNS addresses, simply contact your hosting service for them. This is typically the #1 reason why your web design company needs access to your domain manager. They need to get in and update the DNS addresses in order to point your domain name to their hosting service. I highly recommend that you learn how to do it yourself in order to keep control over who uses your domain name.
Step 2) Within your domain name manager, you’ll need to look for a link that should say; Change DNS, Update DNS, Manage Domain, etc. Once you find this area, simply type in, or paste the 2 DNS addresses within slot #1 and, slot #2. Click on the update, change, or submit button. That’s it. Within 24-48 hours, your domain name should be pointed to your hosting service.
If you have any problems with this step, simply contact your hosting service provider, or contact your web design company in charge of your website.
Remember, if you give someone access to change the DNS for your domain name(s), make sure to change the password for your domain name manager right away to ensure security over your domain name(s).
Domain Names 101.9: How To Protect Your Company Name Online?
This step is not needed for all companies, but if you plan to do all of your business online, this may save your company name later on. Branding online is very important. If by chance you do become very popular, there are going to be individuals who are going to try to use your success for their own advantage. When I started out, “Smartads” wasn’t a word that was really well known. Over the years, companies have been popping up with “Smartads Banners Ads”, “Smartads This”, and “Smartads That”. They did this because I didn’t secure all of the domain name extensions across the board.
If you’re just starting out, and you’re very serious about big business online, I recommend that you search for a domain name that has most extensions available, for example:
Make sure that these extensions are available…
- .whatever your country is (Ex. .CA for Canada, or .US for USA)
If all of these extensions are available for your business name, make sure to buy them all!!! Use .com as your main website, and forward the other domains to .com. Trust me, this will help to protect your branding online by not allowing for Joe Shmo’s to take your good name and use it for themselves. If you truly have a big budget, and your business has offices across the globe, make sure to buy all the domain names that you can, including every country extension your business operates in.
Some people online might advise you not to buy all of the above extensions, but I want you to think of this. Let’s say years down the road your company launches a new amazing product or service, and you need to build a new website for it, you now have the ability to use one of your domain names to illustrate this new product or services and keep your company branding tight!