How to Register a Domain Name for the Small Business Owner

Having a website is a must for every small business owner. Not only is a website a place to showcase the products and services offered, a website means the small business owner can expand their customer base beyond their own geographic area. Having your own domain name also lends credibility to a small business. A crucial part of having a website is choosing and registering a domain name.

The process of registering a domain name is easy. Here are the steps involved in registering a domain name.Step 1. Before visiting any registrar’s website, choose a name for your domain. The name you choose should be easy for a customer to remember, be fairly short and also reflect the business. Come up with a few, in case the one you want is taken. There is some disagreement on whether a domain name should use SEO keywords or if it should be short and brandable. Other experts recommend that your domain name should be a combination of keywords and reflect your brand.

Another good tip to follow when choosing a name is to write down a potential domain name on paper. This way you can see what the name will look like on promotional items you may purchase to promote your business such as coffee mugs or t-shirts.

It is not recommended to search if the domain name you want is available until you have chosen a registrar and are actually ready to purchase the name. There are scam artists out there who will try and snap up your domain name by monitoring these searches. Some will allow you to buy the name, but only from them and only at their price. While evidence of this happening is anecdotal, it is still a good idea to exercise caution.

Step 2. Choose a registrar. A registrar is a company that registers domain names. Some web hosts will also register a domain name for you. Prices and services vary between companies, so it is best to do research to find the registrar that is the best fit for your needs and your budget. Take the time to read through the company’s website and their policies. It is also important to investigate if the company has had customer complaints lodged against them.

Step 3. Check your domain name’s availability. If it is not available as a .com or .net, consider registering with another extension like .biz or .info. It is a myth that .com ranks higher on search engines. The new extensions were created because the availability of names with the .com and .net extensions was diminishing.

Step 4. Choose your options. Several other options will be offered to you. Take time to decide if they are right for you.

While a one year term is widely available, some registrars offer the option for domain renewal on a multi-year basis. It may be more cost effective to choose a multiple year term for your domain.

The privacy option is also one to consider. For a nominal charge, you can keep your name and address out of the WhoIs database. This is done to prevent spam e-mails. WhoIs is the database of registered domain names and their owners.

You may also be offered the option to park your domain name. This is useful if you have not chosen a web host. Parking keeps the domain name for you and prevents others from taking it. Some registrars may do this automatically for you.

Step 5. Once you have paid for and registered your domain, make note of the primary and secondary name servers. This is important information to have, particularly if you registered your domain name separately from your web host. This information is necessary to point your domain name to your web host. If you have registered your domain with your web host, they do this for you.

Something else to consider in the process is to buy up any variations on your domain name. This is to prevent other people from buying these names and using them to redirect potential customers to their site. This can happen when someone misspells your domain name in their browser. Some businesses will buy all the available extensions as well and redirect them to the main domain name. It is less expensive to snap up the variations on your domain name than it is to have to buy it from a domain squatter or hire an attorney to work on your behalf to stop unscrupulous people from using your name for their own gain.

Purchasing a domain for your business is a simple and wise investment for all business owners. A domain name lends your business credibility and allows your business to have a presence beyond your physical location.

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SMBReviews is committed to providing small and mid-sized business owners with the information and resources they need to select the best service or product for their company.

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