Registering your domain name - a howto guide
Registering a Domain Name
There are many domain name registrars on the web. GoDaddy.com
both offer a simple domain search feature from their home page that allows you to quickly check if your domain name is available, and see a list of available extensions.
When registering a domain name for your business there are certain criteria you should follow:
Your domain name should be uniquely identifying, containing your business name or keywords from it. It can also include "inc" or "llc" to identify your business entity (i.e. "examplellc.com").
Letters (abc) and dashes (-) are allowed.
Numbers (123) are allowed, but strongly discouraged, as are dashes.
Avoid abbreviations, unless effective in reducing the length of your domain name, such as "bn.com" for "barnesandnoble.com".
Stay away from using abbreviations such as "4" instead of "for", "2" instead of "to", and "u" instead of "you". This has a childish and dated look. The only reason to use these would be if the full spelling of your business name uses numbers, or if this is appropriate for your audience.
Avoid lengthy names. Longer names become difficult to remember and are more prone to misspelling, for instance "somerandomdomainnameexample.com" is more complicated than "example.com".
In an effort to be unique, keep in mind that domain names do not have to be real words, however the best names are those that are pronounceable. Would you be embarrassed to say it out loud or spell it in public? (your dash name dash here dot com)
Most Common Top-Level Domain Extensions
represents the word "commercial", and is the most widely used and recognized extension in the world.
represents the word "network", and is most commonly used by Internet service providers, web-hosting companies or other businesses that are directly involved in the infrastructure of the Internet.
represents the word "organization", and is primarily used by non-profit groups or trade associations.
Most web hosting providers will include one free domain registration with the purchase of web hosting or do-it-yourself services. Typically, additional domain names can be purchased at reduced costs once web hosting services are established.
What If Your Desired Domain Name Has Already Been Purchased?
It happens to everyone at some point. If your desired domain name has already been taken, your options are limited. Get creative with name variations or keywords that can be used to support your business name, such as your state (oregonexample.com) or business entity (exampleinc.com or examplellc.com). If your business name is very specific however, the best alternative would be to use dashes to separate the name components, such as "domain-example.com". Dashes are browser and search engine friendly, but should ideally only be used as a last resort.
The downside of dashes is that they are harder for people to remember to type in at the address bar. If they're thinking of your business name "domain example", and type in "domainexample.com", without the dash and get a site other than yours, they might become confused or frustrated. You will become dependent on your marketing materials (including email correspondence) to promote the use of the dash in your domain name. Also keep in mind that some people confuse the dash (-) with the slash (/); most commonly confused when sharing your domain name verbally.
Should You Register More Than One Domain Name?
If you have multiple extensions available to you, such as .com, .net, .org and .biz, when going to register your domain name, it is usually a good idea to purchase all desired extensions at the same time.
By doing this, you:
Prevent the other extensions of your domain from being snatched up by "domain name squatters" who fill the page with links to other websites.
Prevent competition from registering your domain name with another extension that could potentially draw customers away from you.
Are able to maintain websites that promote the different products and services you offer (for example, if you run both commercial and non-profit businesses. See wordpress.com and wordpress.org as an example).
Can create distinct advertising strategies that reach different target markets.