The nice thing about doing business online nowadays is that you don’t have to know everything about how the internet works to use it effectively. So, no matter how technical your understanding of domain names, the main point is that your company needs one — and can benefit from buying and maintaining a good one.
By the start of 2020, the number of domain name registrations had jumped to nearly 367 million worldwide. To establish an online presence, your business must join the ranks of the many other individuals and organizations that have already staked out their own spot on the world wide web.
Here’s a rundown of some of the main considerations to keep in mind when buying a domain name for your company.
#1: Extensions Matters
Even if you haven’t heard the phrase “top-level domain” before, you’ve undoubtedly typed these extensions into the search bar. Examples include:
The challenge with top-level domains is that the most popular extensions have the most websites already. It’s like trying to create a username on a popular website — you may be frustrated to find your top picks are already taken. Still, experts advise avoiding alternate versions of extensions like “.biz” or “.net” for a few reasons, namely because you may cause confusion for visitors trying to visit your website who are accustomed to using “.com” as their go-to extension.
#2: Spelling Counts
Another way to avoid sowing confusion among well-intentioned searchers trying to find your company’s website is to stick to the most intuitive spelling of your business name or brand. You want to secure the most straightforward website name you can — avoiding numbers, dashes and wonky spellings if at all possible.
At worst, domain names with alternate spellings look a bit unprofessional. At worst they are unintelligible or even spammy.
#3: Explore Registrar Options
Where do you get domain names, exactly? Through registrars. Some are pretty well known; others are more obscure. One way to minimize your risk is to go with a well-established provider. Some businesses decide to streamline buying a domain name by choosing a web provider that bundles both the domain name and the website hosting service. After all, combining these functions means one less step you have to do as a busy entrepreneur trying to launch your company’s web presence.
#4: You’ll Need to Renew It
You just grabbed a great domain name. Now you can set it and forget it, right? Not exactly. When you purchase the domain name of your dreams, be sure to note how long the contract is for. You may actually be “renting” that domain name for some length of time between one and 10 years.
If you miss your domain renewal date, someone else — a stranger or perhaps even your fiercest competitor — could snatch it up. This means you need to be ready to act before your domain’s life cycle has expired. If you have the funds to do so, consider purchasing your domain up front for a period of time longer than a year. Not only may it be cheaper to buy use of the domain name for a longer period rather than renewing it each year, but it will make less work for you in terms of having to renew it.
Buying a domain name is one of the first steps you will take toward establishing a website for your business — which means you want to make it count. It’s worth getting the extension, spelling, registrar and renewal correct right out of the gate so you can hit the ground running.