How To Purchase a Domain Name for Your Website
AUTHOR’S NOTE: Purchasing a domain name can seem like a nebulous world for those that are new to the game. I know, I experienced it once upon a time. Some web developers will make it out to be more complicated than it is, so you cave in to letting them take care of it. And then they charge you for setting it up. But the truth is that it’s an effortless process – anyone can do it. And I’d be happy to guide you through it:
So, you’re embarking on a new business endeavour and your priority is to get a website up and running. But you have no idea where to start. Well, you’ve come to the right place.
Let’s get right to it. The first step in the process of setting up a website is to purchase a website domain name. This is the industry term for the url you want your website to be linked to. So, fortifiedmarketing.ca is Fortified Marketing’s domain name. In short, a domain is a unique website address or identity; it is your company’s trademark brand name on the World Wide Web.
Things to consider when choosing a domain name for your website:
What will your domain name be? Do you want it to be the same as your company name? Or would you like it to be different? For example, if I am founding XYZ Consulting, then I might want my domain name to be xyzconsulting.com. Or maybe I want my domain name to be more descriptive, I could try consultingthatgetsresults.com
Is the domain name you want available? Has someone else already purchased it? If so, you have 2 options. 1) You move on and find a new name, or 2) You *might* be able to try and purchase it from its owner, but this can get pricey and complicated. You’re best to go for option 1) and find a domain name that’s available.
Which domain name variation/ extension should you get? (i.e. yourdomainename.com, yourdomainname.ca, yourdomainname.org, etc.). The best answer here is to always go for the .com domain name. It is the most prestigious domain name extension out because it is recognized and trusted worldwide. But if you’re a Canadian-based operation, then you should definitely grab the .ca one too (.ca = Canadian domain name extension). You might as well purchase as many of the available ones that relate to your business as you can, to protect your online brand identity from being used or owned by someone else. If you don’t, and your business becomes successful, then you can be sure that someone else will grab it and try and sell it back to you for a hefty profit. Yes, however wrong it may seem, there are tons of companies that do this.
How to purchase a domain name:
You can purchase domain names from tons of sites; web giants and local service providers alike. Regardless, they both offer a similar service. You might be familiar with big names like GoDaddy and Host Gator, you can purchase domain names there. You can also consider smaller providers that are just as good, like Rebel.ca. I would recommend them. Although I no longer use their services, they are an Ottawa-based company that provides exceptional customer support and are priced very competitively.
Available domain names can cost between $0.99 and $19.99 per year, depending on the extension you choose. Sometimes, they go on sale and can be had for less.
So, go to one of these sites and from the home menu, you will be able to search for a domain name and see if it’s available. Below is a screenshot of me doing a search for the “bestwebsiteever” domain name at Rebel.ca:
To my surprise, it was available for most domain name extensions, except for .com and .org. Someone already grabbed those, unfortunately. So, if I really needed them, then I would probably search for another domain name altogether. Maybe “thebestwebsiteever” or “awesomewebsite”… You get the point. Otherwise, I could add any of the available ones to a cart and purchase them with a few clicks.
Once purchased, then you have the sole right to use them (for as many years as you’ve purchased them for).
Good to know:
It may take up to a week for you to be able to use your new domain name(s). It may take a while for some registrars (call them keepers of unused domain names) to transfer a domain name to your host (GoDaddy, Rebel, etc.). It’s something to keep in mind.
Here’s a tip: Purchase your domain name from the same provider that will host your website content. In other words, purchase a domain name from Rebel, only if you plan on having Rebel host your website content as well. There are additional fees and wait times for transferring a domain name from one host to another (i.e. from Rebel to GoDaddy).
To be safe, always purchase your domain names for 2-3 years at a time. This way, you don’t have to remember to renew them each year. If you don’t renew, odds are someone will snag them faster than you can say “I have to renew my domain names”! Then they will turn around and try and sell them back to you at a ridiculous price. The good news is most hosts will automatically renew them for you (should you forget to do it), to prevent these situations from happening.
This is very important! Make sure that you own the rights to and will continue to use the primary e-mail that is linked to your domain registration. So, register your domain names using your main personal e-mail account. This way, if any dispute arises as to who owns your domain name, it can always be linked back to you and you alone. This goes without saying, I would advise against having your web developer do this for you, unless 1) You trust him/her with your life 2) You have something in writing 3) And he/she registers under your personal e-mail, for which you should receive a confirmation e-mail. This way, if your business relationship goes sour, then the web developer can’t betray you by holding your domain name for a ransom. Trust me, I’ve seen this happen before and it isn’t pretty.
A domain name is a unique url that will link to your website. Do a search on GoDaddy, Host Gator or Rebel to see what’s available and purchase as many available variations (.com .ca .org .net, etc.) of the one you want to use, just to be safe. They cost anywhere between $1 and $20/year.
A few things to consider:
- It may take up to a week for you to be able to start using your new domain name.
- Purchase your domain name from the same provider that will host your website content.
- Purchase your domain name for 2-3 years at a time, so you don’t have to remember to renew them every year
- Make sure YOU purchase your domain names and register them using YOUR e-mail.
Do you have any domain name-related questions? Let us know in the comments below.
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