How to Get a .COM Domain Name
What's in a name?
On the web, a lot
As in, if you don't have one —a domain name, that is— it will be painfully obvious that you're really trying to do things on the cheap. You may be able to cut costs going after free web hosting
but you'll probably want to have your own custom .COM even if it's going to cost you. This is especially true since getting one these days is soooooo
cheap. Like $10 a year. But before we get into which registrar offers up the best deal, let's define exactly...
What is a Domain Name?
A domain name is basically the name of your website such as
. These are all handled by companies known as domain name 'registrars' who submit entries to an international database overseen by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)
The domain name that you select basically consists of two parts:
- Second level domain - The actual name of your website, e.g.,
- Top level domain (TLD) - The 2 or 3 letter suffix at the end of the domain name, e.g.
Choosing the Right Name for your Website
Second level domain names may not be repeated within
each top-level domain but may be repeated across top level domains. For example, as of this writing, there exists
. But within the
top level domain, there is only one
(yours truly). If you find that the domain name you want is already taken then try changing the top-level domain before changing the second level domain.
As for which second level domain name to choose (the actual name of your website), you could try to work in some keywords related to your niche to help gain higher rankings in seach engines. However be advised that there is much disagreement among the experts as to whether this is actually works.
For example, you may want to choose the domain name blue-widgets.com if your company sells 'blue widgets'. Personally, I think this has little effect on your rankings and you can prove this by just doing a search in Google for keywords related to your niche and see how many of the top ten results have those keywords in their domain names.
Also I'm a firm believer in using your domain name for branding purposes. I think it's much better to create highly memorable domain name than a blasť domain name that simply contains keywords related to your business.
For example, which name are you more likely to remember?
To register a domain name, it is simply a matter of performing a domain name 'look up' to find a name that isn't already taken (since all domain names must be unique), then finding an official registrar, laying the cash on the barrel and presto, you are the owner of an internet domain name.
Choosing the Right Registrar
The cheapest domain name registration (from a reputable provider) is currently hovering around $8 - $9 per year.
Here's some info on what to look for in a domain name registrar:
- ICANN-accredited domain name registrar — You can change web hosts from one month to the next but when it comes to your domain name, you're pretty much stuck with it for an entire year. This is something you don't want to mess around with and you definitely want to avoid petty hassles such as who actually owns your domain name once it's registered. Using a properly accredited registrar will ensure that you are doing business with a reputable company that has met a required set of standards as set out by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) which is the official body that oversees domain name registration.
- Easy domain name management interface — You won't be accessing this very often so you'll want to have your domain name managed by a registrar that provides an easy-to-use domain name management interface that speaks plain English. Some of the cheapest domain name registrars won't put much thought into this which will ultimately have you wasting a lot of time trying to plow past a bunch of technobabble like 'CNAME' and 'MX Record' when all you want to do is simply update your contact information. Typically you'll be accessing your domain name management screens to renew your domain name, update contact information or change your nameservers (switch web hosts).
- 24/7 technical support — This is self-explanatory. Like web hosting, domain name registration is now a highly competitive business. If your registrar can't offer you 24/7 tech support then they simply aren't in the game.
Third level domain names, a.k.a., host names
, are often used by free web hosts to create multiple free hosting accounts to allow users to have a little piece of the web without actually having to register a 'real' (second level) domain name. Subdomains usually look like this:
If you sign up with a free web host and you don't have your own domain name then they will assign you a subdomain name of this sort. As mentioned earlier, in this situation, it will be painfully obvious that you're using a free web hosting service. If you're serious about your website (and you want others to think so too) then you should definitely spend the few bucks a year it takes to have your own domain name.
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And by the way, in case you're wondering, my domain name registrar of choice is www.GoDaddy.com
They're highly professional, have an outstanding control panel and best of all, they're dirt cheap. :o)