Registering a domain name is a simple process of acquiring and managing the ‘address’ of your website on the internet, in other words, what people type in their web browsers to get to your website. It may sound intimidating, but domain name registration doesn’t have to be complicated, having said that, it is something you want to get right the first time. In this article, you’re going to read about our top 4 tips for registering a domain name that works for your business, common mistakes to avoid and how to make sure that your site’s name is front and center in search results.
Why You Need a Good Domain Name
Millions of domain names are registered every month and not all domain names are created equally. Having a good domain name is important for several reasons. First, it helps you create a unique and memorable brand identity that distinguishes you from your competitors. Second, it enhances your credibility and trustworthiness as a small business, a professional, or a company owner. Third, it can help with your site’s visibility, potentially attracting more traffic and conversions.
Having a good domain name can help you boost your online presence, while having a ‘bad’ one can hurt your reputation and performance. Choosing a good domain name can help increase your click-through rate, customer engagement, and trust. On the other hand, using domain names that are too long, confusing, or misspelled can reduce your traffic significantly, as they are not memorable, even though your products and services may be.
How to Choose a Domain Name
Choosing a domain name that suits your market-sector, target audience, and goals can help maximize your online presence. Here are some tips to help you choose a domain name that can assist your website to make an impact on site traffic and SEO ranking:
Your company name
Start simply, the best domain for you to initially register for your small business, or professional consultancy, is your company name. It maintains your identity, is recognizable and easy to remember. Keep in mind, if your company name is too long, generic, or already taken, you may need to modify it or find a similar domain name that still clearly represents your business.
Use words that describe your business
Using the right words can assist in attracting the right audience because users will know what they can expect from your site when they click on it. For example, if you are in the fitness industry, you can add words like fitness, workout, health, or exercise in your domain name.
Choose an extension that matches your purpose and location
Extensions are the suffixes that come after the dot in your domain name, such as .com, .net, .org, or .edu. They can indicate the type and origin of your website. If you are targeting a specific country or region, you can even use a country code extension, such as .us for the United States. You can even be innovative and consider using a country code extension like Andorra’s .ad if you are running an ad agency.
You can use tools like domain name generators to find some inspiration and variations for your domain name. You can also try adding prefixes or suffixes to modify your domain name. For example, if you want to use the word comic in your domain name, but it is already taken, you can try adding something like go-, -ify, or -er, to create gocomic.com, comicfy.com or comicer.com.
Process of Registering a Domain Name
Now that you’ve decided on a domain name, the next step is to get it registered. Domain registration is a simple and straightforward process that you can have done in minutes using these tips:
Choose a domain Registrar
A domain Registrar is a company that sells and manages domain names. There are multiple domain Registrars selling the same TLDs, gTLDs and ccTLDs, so compare their prices, features, customer service, and reputation before you decide which one to use. Generally, the TLD Registry will set a wholesale price, and Registrars will be selling a TLD at the retail price if it is not a premium domain, look for a good, easy to use domain name registration and management platform.
Check domain name availability
Before you registering a domain name, you need to ensure that it has not already been registered by someone else. You can use a domain name checker or WHOIS lookup to search for yours and see if it is available. If it isn’t, you will need to change it or choose a different one.
Purchase and register
Once you have decided on your domain registration platform, enter your domain name in the domain search field on that website. Complete your account registration details, follow the secure purchase steps for the provider and pay for the domain. The domain registration will be processed through their domain portal to the Registry on your behalf. A Registry does not interface with the public. You will then receive an invoice confirmation with the details and proof of purchase.
Verify and connect to your site
After you have registered your domain name, you need to verify that you are the owner of the domain and connect it to your website. Your hosting provider should be able to do it for you, or if you are comfortable with IT, you can choose to do it yourself by following the steps that were provided. This may also be done via the domain management panel in the Control Panel, where you will have to update settings, such as the nameservers, DNS records, or CNAME records.
Renew your domain name
Domain names usually have an annual expiration date, although it is possible to register for more than one year at the time of purchase. It is important to ensure that it is renewed, and you will receive several domain renewal notifications prior to it expiring. Your domain will then go into Redemption. It is still possible to renew it when it is in the Redemption phase, however your renewal fee will now include the Redemption Fee. You can set up automatic renewal or manual renewal through your domain management account.
Common Mistakes to Avoid in Registering a Domain Name
As you can see domain name registration is not difficult, but there are certain aspects that can complicate matters if you are not careful. Here are some common mistakes to avoid when registering a domain name:
Registering a domain name that infringes on someone else’s trademark can lead to serious legal consequences, including lawsuits, fines, or even domain seizure. There is little chance these days of being able to register the large ‘branded’ names, but that is not always the case with lesser-known companies. Do your research first to avoid being sued for any possible trademark violations.
A spelling mistake in your domain name can make it harder for your visitors to find your website, but every piece of printed material, labelling etc. that references your domain name, including email addresses, will have to include that error. It is therefore recommended that you register the correct domain name, if however, it is already registered, consider a more creative option than a spelling mistake. Everything will literally be on the line, your brand, your customer trust, and your credibility.
Using hyphens and numbers
Hyphens and numbers are often used to modify domain names that may already be registered, or to create variations. But they can make your domain name less appealing, memorable, and SEO-friendly. For example, the domain name “b3st-website.com” may be available but the competition is using “bestwebsite.com”, it may be difficult to gain traction for your SEO ranking and user traffic may not find your website that easily. Avoid using hyphens and numbers unless they are actually part of your company name or add value to your domain name and you can use it in your branding.
Long or confusing names
A long or confusing domain name can make it very difficult for your customers or clients to remember or share your website. It can also reduce your brand recognition and impact in the marketplace. Long domain names, or names that are unrelated to your site’s content may confuse users, causing them to lose interest. Keep your domain name short, simple, and relevant.
- A strong domain name can help you stand out, build trust, and drive traffic to your website. A weak domain name can have the opposite effect.
- Your domain name should reflect your business, products or services, audience, and goals. Use a keyword, or extension, branding, and creativity to find a domain name that suits your business.
- Registering a domain name is easy: check availability, choose a good domain registration and management platform, purchase and register, verify and connect, and remember to renew it.
- Avoid spelling mistakes, trademark issues, hyphens, numbers, and long or confusing names in your domain name registration.