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Choosing an effective domain name is important to increase visibility, attract buyers, and inspire trust.
What is a domain name?
Your domain name or web address is a unique name, identifying a specific web site such as www.yourname.com.
For visitors to see your web pages on the Internet when typing in your web address, your domain name and web pages must reside on a server or host computer. Small businesses usually pay a hosting company to take care of that.
Why do you need a domain name?
Having your own domain name is a must for a business web site. Here's why.
. Your domain name allows customers to find you on the Internet. . Having an address that represents your business conveys a professional image and stability. . A domain name helps you market and advertise your unique company name. . A domain name increases credibility. Without a domain name, you will have a longer address that starts with the provider's name, e.g., www.yourprovider.com/yourname. This looks unprofessional and is difficult to type. . You can use your unique domain name in your email address, e.g., firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. You can keep the same domain name and email address when changing hosting companies.
Follow these tips when selecting a domain name
. Choose a descriptive domain name that conveys professionalism and is easy to remember and type. . Consider a domain name that represents your business name, product names, or type of business.
More tips about domain names
. A domain name can include up to 63 characters, not including the .com, .net, .org or other extensions. . Domain names are NOT case sensitive, so you can spell your domain in uppercase, lower case, or a combination of both, e.g., http://www.yourname.com or http://www.YourName.com. . Domains cannot contain spaces. . You can use numbers, letters, and hyphens (dashes) in your domain name. . Domains must begin and end with a letter or number. . Special characters such as ? ! @ # $ % ^ & * and ( ) are not permitted in web addresses. Neither are underscores or commas. . Avoid confusing characters like 0 (zero), l (one), 2, s, and z to minimize the risk of typos. The number zero (0) can be confused with the letter O, and the number "1" with the letter "l." . Include relevant keywords in your domain name to boost search-engine ranking, e.g., secretarialservices.com, secretarialbusiness.com.
Domain name variations
You can register your domain name with .com, .net, .org, .biz, .info, .us, .edu, or other extensions. Always register the .com name since most people are familiar with it. In addition, consider registering your domain name with .net to prevent competitors or speculators from registering a similar name. You can also register variations of your domain name like making it plural, adding hyphens, or underscores, e.g., www.yourname.com, www.your-name.com, or www.your_name.com.
You can register your domain name yourself through domain name registration services, known as registrars. Internic provides a list of ICANN-accredited registrars (the organization governing domain names) at http://www.internic.com/regist.html. When submitting a registration or transfer, the registrar will ask for the name of two domain name servers that contain your IP address. Your hosting company will give you that information. once your domain name has been registered or transferred, it takes approximately 72 hours to become active.
Parking a domain name
If you want to reserve a domain name but don't have a hosting company yet, you may have to pay a fee to a hosting company or registration service to hold or park your name. Some registrars charge $40 and others offer parking for free.
Fees for domain name registration
Each registrar sets its own price for registering domain names. The fees to register a domain name for one year range from $8 to $35 a year. It's a small price to pay to gain your prospects' trust. You can register a domain name for one or more years. Some registrars offer free or discounted registration services in connection with other offers, such as web hosting. Make sure they are reliable. Receiving a $10 discount is not worth the delays and hassles you may encounter. Ask your professional web designer for a referral.
To keep your domain name, you need to renew the registration and pay a renewal fee each year. If you let it expire, someone else can take your name.
Protect your business and product names by registering them as a domain name before someone else does.
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