There’s no place like home
To make this a little fun, let’s create a scenario. Let’s assume we’re building a site for Dorothy’s Pet Shop, an already up and running brick and mortar business that has no presence on the web. Dorothy’s goal right now is to simply establish a web presence with a simple brochure-like website so that her customers and prospective customers can find basic information about her business easily.
What’s in a name?
So, let’s go for the obvious domain name: dorothyspetshop.com (apostrophes are not allowed in domain names). In order to determine if this name is available, we need to check with a domain registration service. There are tons of these out there; we’ll use Godaddy.com.
Below are the results. Fortunately, our first choice is available. GoDaddy also suggests other, similar domain names that are available. This is very handy if your first choice is already taken (which is often the case). GoDaddy will also show if your domain name is available under what’s called a different “top-level domain.” That’s the “dot-com” section of the domain name. It’s worth considering a “dot-org” address if you’re running a nonprofit, and there are several others (“dot-biz”, “dot-info”, etc.), but it’s generally best (a matter of opinion) to find a “dot-com” name.
Let’s continue to registration. Here’s where things get a little confusing and annoying. Bottom line: you don’t need anything else! You just need to register the domain name and pay the basic fee. In this case, as a new “dot-com” domain, the fee is $11.99/year. So, in spite of the fact that we can save 63% on additional domain names, we only need one. Just click “No Thanks.”
Now that we’ve made it safely to Step 2, we can make another adjustment. The default is to register the domain for 5 years. That’s not a bad idea, but you could register for less. If you’d like to save a few bucks now, choose a lower number. Registering for at least 2 years is a good idea, as there are certain benefits in how your site is evaluated by search engines like Google.com (more on this in later posts), but you can also register for just one year.Step 3 offers more opportunities for add-ons and specials. These all relate to privacy. The data you submit when registering a domain name, like your business address, is stored in a public database. These add-on features provide some privacy options. However, if your business is already listed in the phone book then there’s really no need to worry about your address being public.Step 4 offers more services. I’m going to suggest that you use a separate provider for these services and to use the registrar simply for reserving and managing your domain name. Also, I’m not going to cover email in this series, so in this example I’m not going to select an email service. Rest assured that you can always add any of these services on later, so it’s ok to just stick with a basic setup if you’re unsure of whether or not you need the things offered in this step.
The last step is just a confirmation that you don’t need any of the add-ons offered and to verify that your domain name registration fee is simply $11.99 times the number of years you chose to register for.Now you can go ahead and complete the transaction at the checkout. Congratulations, you now have your own domain name!
Photo credit: drurydrama