So, you have just gotten that perfect domain name for your web business—now you have to register it! Register a domain name is a little like registering a corporate name. Once you do, no one else can use that domain name for their website. It’s yours—for as long as you continue to pay the renewal fees. In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about register your new domain name.
There are plenty of domain name registrars you can use. Here are the most popular:
You can expect to pay $5 to $40 to register a domain name. However, the average these days is about $10 for a one-year registration. That’s not much more than a café mocha at Starbucks—and a real deal considering the value a domain name can represent for your business.
Once you register your domain name, what happens next? Most registrars will send you a confirmation e-mail stating that your domain name has been registered successfully. So watch for that happy news in your inbox. That e-mail will also contain other important information, such as a username and password to sign into your account and make changes.
Within the next few days, your registration information will appear on a public record called the Whois directory. This tells the world who owns the domain name, when it was registered, when it expires and other information. You’re required to keep the information in your Whois directory up-to-date, so if you change your company or contact information, be sure to contact your registrar and let them know.
Carefully Consider the Little Extras
Most domain name registrars are for-profit companies, so they are motivated to up-sell you a lot of additional services while you register your domain name. Don’t be surprised when, as you’re checking your domain name availability and going through the registration steps, you are offered all sorts of deals and options along the way.
- Discounts for registering your domain name for multiple years instead of just one.
- Deals on hosting your website.
- Options for registering your domain name with multiple extensions, such as .net, .org, and .mobi.
- Savings when you register variations on the spelling of your domain name.
- Offers to automatically renew your domain name at the end of each registration period.
- Opportunity to “private register” your domain name. This is an option that keeps your name and contacts information of the public Whois directory.
These “deals” can add hundreds of dollars to your domain name registration. But they can also save you money and help your business in other ways, too. So consider each offer carefully.
If it’s a great deal, and you really need the service or option, grab it. However, don’t be pushed into signing up for something you don’t need or understand. It’s perfectly okay to just register the domain name and worry about any other service or option you may need later on.
What If Your Domain Name Is Already Taken?
You select a terrific domain name. You go to a domain name registrar’s website, type it in, click check availability, and a message pops up on your screen saying that the domain name is already taken.
Just because a domain name has already been grabbed by someone else doesn’t necessarily mean there isn’t a way to acquire that domain name or use a variation of it. Take a deep breath. You still have options.
Using an Extension Variation
Say you’re planning to create an information website for people who want to experience the adventure of teaching English in China and other parts of the Orient. On your short list of domains is TeachInTheOrient.com. But when you check the availability of that name, you despair. It’s taken.
One possible solution is to use a different extension. The .com version of the name is gone, but the .net or .org versions may still be available. There are also .tv, .biz, .me, or .info. These can all be viable options, especially if the domain you want is registered but not being used as a website.
If your website is going to target only those who live in a specific country, then you might consider a country-specific domain name extension. In addition to the global extensions that we’re all used to seeing—.com, .net, .org—each country has its own unique extension. In the United States, it’s .us. In Canada, it’s .ca. In the United Kingdom, it’s .co.uk.
Using a Spelling Variation
An alternative spelling is another way to vary a domain name if the one you want is taken. Just because NeatKnitting.com is already registered doesn’t mean you can’t use the phrase “Neat Knitting” in your domain name. Here are just a few possibilities.
As you can see, there are dozens of alternative domain names that may be up for grabs. So turn on your imagination and do some brainstorming, using the previous list as a guide. You might be surprised to discover that an even more desirable domain name emerges from the exercise.
If brainstorming fails you, consider buying the domain name you wanted from its current owner. Our Quick Guide How to Buy a Domain Name shows you how.
Registering your domain name is one of the most important things you can do for your web-based business.