How to Register a Domain Name

Registering a domain name for your online business or organization shows you are a professional willing to spend money to build and host a website. Many people try to start their business online with a free domain (e.g. and free hosting. This is a mistake as they have no control over their domain. If the company goes bust you lose all your content and your reputation.

Reasons to register a domain name

  • Professional presence
    People are more likely to do business with you if you have a real domain name rather than some obscure website address.
  • Professional email address
    Sending email from an email address that contains your domain name gives your business greater credibility than using gmail, aol, or hot mail address that often are used by spammers.
  • Permanent home for your website
    Even if you change hosting companies your domain name will remain the same. You can take it with you wherever you go.
  • Branding
    Your permanent website address will constantly associated with your business, therefore it will steadily build your brand on the Net.

How to register a domain name

1. Brainstorming

Create a list of possible domain names you wish to use as many of them may already be taken. Try stringing several words together, use numbers or hyphens between the words. Read my article “How to choose a good domain name.”

2. Check availability

Visit (or your favorite domain name registrar) and enter your suggested name in the “start your domain search here” box. It will immediately tell you if it’s already taken and suggest some alternatives.

3. Purchase your domain name

Depending on the suffix of the domain name you will pay approximately $10.00. Other registrars may charge up to $25.00. If registering with Godaddy they will try to add additional services during the registration process such as privacy, email, hosting, web design, etc). I suggest opting out of these extra services. You can always add them later when you can make an informed decision.

4. Change the name servers

You need to point your domain name to the server that’s hosting your website. Ask your web host for the name servers to use. The name servers for my hosting service look like this:

To change them in Godaddy log in to your account. Go to the domain manager to view all your domains. Check the box next to your domain, then click on name servers (top navigation bar). Delete the current name servers then enter the new name servers and click OK. It will take 24-72 hours for the changes to take affect.

5. Domain name parking

While you are waiting for your website to be built Godaddy will give you a temporary web page for your domain name (only if you are using their name servers). If you are using another web host ask your designer to upload a temporary web page to the server that tells visitors your web site will be coming soon or is under construction.

5. Web design and hosting

Some domain registrars (such as Godaddy) offer web hosting and/or web design services as well. I recommend only registering your domain name with them as I’ve received many complaints from clients about these extra services. Find a reputable web design and hosting company so you’ll be a happy online business owner.

Don’t delay registering a domain name. It may get registered by someone else if you wait too long.

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Herman Drost is the Certified Internet Webmaster (CIW)
owner and author of

How to Choose a Domain Name for Starting an Online Business

It’s not easy to choose a domain name these days because most have already been taken (especially a dot com name). This has grown the business of buying and selling domain names.

For example if you wanted to buy (if it was for sale) it would cost you millions of dollars to acquire it.

Why you shouldn’t get a free domain name?

If you wanted to save the $20.00 it costs to purchase a professional domain name you could use one of the services that offer a domain, web site and hosting for free.

For example you could sign up for a free blog at You could start with this if you’re short of cash. The problem with this method is that if the company goes bust you lose your online business. If you’ve created lots pages with optimized content that ranks well in the search engines, you’ll lose all your hard work.

How to choose the best domain name


If you wish to brand your company name (ie use it in the domain name. This will help visitors to easily identify your business online.

You may even use your own name to brand your business. Chances are, it may not be taken if it’s not too common..

Include keywords

People often associate the keywords in your domain name with the type of business you are in. For example I chose because I build web sites. I chose to offer my web hosting services.

Action steps

* Create a list of possible keywords that reflect the type of business you have.

* Visit and enter your suggested domain name. If it’s already taken it will offer many alternatives. It’s best to get a .com name because it’s the most popular for business names online however if you’re not particular try .net, .org, .info, .us.

You may have to try many different keyword combinations to find a domain name that’s available and reflects your company.

* Keep it short. Long domain names are them hard to remember. A short one is easy to type. When you add web pages your domain name already gets longer ie

* Make it easy to spell. Don’t keep your visitors guessing. They’ll avoid mistakes when typing it into their browser. A mistake on their part will take them to another web site.

* Avoid dashes. Dashes in a domain name makes it harder for visitors to remember and spell. Only use dashes after exhausting all your options.

* Register your domain name. Depending on the extension it will cost a little over $10.00. Godaddy runs you through mine field of features you can add to the purchase of your domain (ie privacy, hosting, etc). If you don’t need all these extra features opt for the quick checkout to bypass this.

If your chosen domain name is not available and is one that you have set your heart upon, you may be able to buy it from the owner. As I mentioned above, many people buy and sell domain names as a business. Be careful though..a domain name containing high ranking keywords may cost several thousand dollars.

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Herman Drost is the Certified Internet Webmaster (CIW)
owner and author of Web Design and SEO Services