Choosing and Registering a Domain Name

The internet houses a wide array of businesses. It has become necessary for nearly any business to have a website, but with so many new terms to familiarize yourself with, where does one start?

One great starting place is the domain name. A domain name could also be called the “address” of a website. Take Google for example: google.com is the address as well as the domain name. Domain names are essentially how people find the website they are looking for.

Most domains are divided into three categories:

  1. Generic domains- .com, .net, .org, .edu, .gov, .mil, .biz, and .coop
  2. Country code domains- . uk, .au, .co (and so on)
  3. Infrastructure domains- .arpa, .root

Your business or organization, though, is most likely to use one of the many generic domains available. If you wish to have the right website, you have to have the right domain, and while that may sound difficult, it is really easier than you think.

Making the Right Selection

Formatting your domain name is not a difficult task. First, there are a few general rules to keep in mind.

  • A domain name must between two and 63 characters in length, and may consist of any combination of numbers, letters and hyphens.
  • Hyphens may not be used on the first or last character.
  • No special characters such as %, &, or * are allowed.
  • Domain names are not case sensitive, so it does not matter if you capitalize a letter in the middle of the domain name. For example, newyork.com is the same as NewYork.com.

Choose a domain that truly represents your company or organization. If possible, pick something that is short. If you have a particular brand you specialize in, most experts suggest brand domain names are better than generics. Be careful, though, as using trademarks as your domain is not a good idea. Finally, be sure to ask others what they think of your selection. Your customers and coworkers may have some valuable input into the subject.

Registering Your Domain Name

Once you have chosen your domain name, you must have it registered with ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, before you can use it. Your registrar will be the hosting company or the company you bought the domain from. The length of time you choose to have your domain registered can vary from one to ten years, and it is renewable after the period has ended. Keep in mind that should you fail to renew, someone else can purchase your domain name.

As you register, expect to be asked for quite a bit of information, as the record of your domain name will be available to the general public in the “whois” database, which is maintained and mandated by ICANN. You will need to provide both technical and administrative contacts for your site in case difficulties or legal issues arise concerning your website. This process, though, is not something to be feared. Your registrar will walk you through it carefully to ensure that nothing is missed.

Having the perfect domain is essential to your business, so choose wisely.