Your business is ready to go live. You’ve set up your storefront. You’re about to flip the sign from “Closed” to “Open” and get ready for the flood of visitors to come pouring in.
But wait! Your website needs to go live now too! You’ve been working with a website developer or have created a website on your own. The only thing left to do is register a domain name! But how? What is a domain name? Why do I need it? Where to start? So many questions!
Let’s start from the beginning.
what is a domain name?
A domain name is an identifying name that has authoritative control over a certain part of the internet. Simply put, a domain name is the name used to associate your business on the internet. Your business’ domain name is where your website will lie and will be accessed from.
Before starting, it’s important to understand the structure of a domain name. It consists of a label (CNN, for example), connected to the name of its parent node (.com) on the right, separated by a dot.
A subdomain might look like “sub.example.com” where the “.com” portion is the highest element, while the “example” is the sub-name of the .com and the “sub” is a sub of example.com.
Often, subdomains are created to redirect to important centralized information on a website or to make it easier for the user to read the URL.
Registering A Domain
When registering a domain name, it’s important to give it plenty of thought because it’s your online face to the world. Many factors come into play when considering a domain name for your company.
When choosing a domain name for your company, consider its naming convention when it comes to searchability and search engines. A strong factor for a high ranking on Google is the actual domain name itself!
Consider this domain: IceCreamParlorToronto.com
When you see the domain above, it’s fairly evident what the company does. The domain name lacks creativity but will be a force when it comes to a high ranking for the terms “Ice cream parlour Toronto” in Google. It’s a great solution for those looking to get a high ranking from the start and should be a consideration for those looking for a strong domain name.
On the other side, when registering TwoScoops.com, it might be catchy and there’s no doubt what the company does, its searchability might take a hit from the start.
Note that achieving a high ranking on Google isn’t predicated on the domain name alone. It’s just another way to increase your website presence on the search engines and should be greatly considered.
.com Is King Of All Domains
Truly the master of the domain is the .com domain name. When you’re thinking of domain names, many considerations for the actual extension will come into play. There is now a wide range of domain name extensions that go as far-reaching as one can imagine. Some wild examples are “.tattoo” or “.beer” but let’s leave those for now and focus on the main dot extensions you can register.
- .com– the true leader of domain names. When most people think of visiting a website, it is most likely a .com website. It’s started as the standard for all domain names and hasve remained at the top of the domain mountain.
- .ca– for Canadians, this one domain extension might take the top spot. Many companies Canada-wide take great pride in keeping their domains Canadian as well. Certainly worth a consideration if you’re conducting business in Canada primarily as it will solidify your location in Canada as well.
- .org– this domain extension is used mainly for charitable organizations and similar organizations. If you have a company, it’s best practice not to use a .org domain name.
- .biz – this domain isn’t as popular as the top 3, but have been used for businesses and will continue to do so.
A Domain Name That’s In Use
Often you’ll come across a domain so good – you have to have it! The only problem is that someone already owns it. What to do now? Not only do current domains hold more credence than new domains, they can also be worth a lot of money.
Most domains with three letters are taken and a lot of the catchy ones with great keywords may also be taken, so taking that extra measure to procure a great domain may be well within your grasp.
As mentioned earlier, it can get expensive when it comes to previously purchased domain names. There are companies that have taken domain name selling as a business in fact. They scour the internet for all the recent searches for domain names and gobble them up in an attempt to resell the domain at exorbitant prices. Be aware of this before going down this road.
Checking availability for a domain name
Once you’ve settled on a domain name, it’s time to check to see if that domain name is available. Domain names normally sell for anywhere between $10 – $20 per year. You can get deals through various sites and promotions, but that’s the general price for a domain name.
A few websites to look for domain name availability are:
Domain names are great when it aligns with your company name and keywords, but don’t get discouraged if your ideal domain isn’t available. You can also take the approach of waiting out until a domain name’s expiry date.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does the domain name need to be the same as the company name?
No. The company name can be different, but for branding purposes, it’s best practice to have the domain the same as the company name. In some cases, however, if the domain isn’t available, or if a company is aiming to increase their traffic, they can have a different domain name.
My company is located in Canada and the service that we provide are to Canadians. Should I have .com or .ca?
For SEO purposes it would be better to have a .ca as it validates that this is a Canadian market. Ideally, we recommend if at all possible, to purchase both .ca and .com and redirect the .com to the .ca
How to buy a domain name?
There are many websites that sell domains. Among the popular ones are GoDaddy, Hover, and NameCheap.
Do I have to buy a domain and hosting from the same company?
No. The domain can be pointed to the web hosting company.
What is a subdomain?
A subdomain is a domain under the main domain such as subdomain.website.com
Can I cancel my domain name?
Yes. You can cancel your domain name after one year generally. You can also let it expire at the time of expiration (usually a year after you’ve registered the domain)
How much does a domain name cost?
Compare prices between companies (GoDaddy, Namecheap, Bluehost) – they are generally $10-$20.
What Is Domain Privacy?
When purchasing a domain, you need to enter personal information such as name, address, and company. The information is public and available for anyone who is looking for information about a domain owner.
Hosting companies offer domain privacy. It changes the your personal details with the hosting company information. Normally, domain privacy as sold for around $10-$15/ year.
Is domain privacy necessary?
If you don’t want to show your information as the domain owner. Otherwise, you don’t have to purchase domain privacy.
Are domain names case sensitive?
No. Domain names can be used with uppercase, lowercase or mix of the two.
Are domain names intellectual property?
Domain names are not protected by an intellectual property right. However, the name that makes up the domain name may itself be protected by copyright, trademark right, a geographical name or consist of a surname, a trade name or a corporate name