How to register a domain name for your business

The do’s and don'ts of creating and registering a unique domain name.
by
Legal
October 30 | 6 min

The digital landscape is more frequented by the average human than any state institution. Whether you’re scrolling through Google’s search results or scouring social media platforms, a business’ online presence creates arguably the most effective marketing channel to promote a product or service. One key ingredient to every successful website is a domain name.

Once you’ve thought of a domain name that’s both easy to type and easy to remember, the next thing to do is make sure that it’s accessible. To ensure that your potential clients land on your business’ digital page, make sure that your domain name is registered. Here are some tips for successfully registering a unique domain name for your business:

Come up with Your Domain Name
When naming your website, it’s valuable to consider that it will be permanent (until you decide to register a new one), so be very careful to choose the perfect one to carry your brand. Here are some things to consider from The Balance Small Business to help think of the perfect name:

  • Pick something short
  • Use something easy to spell
  • Make it unique and memorable
  • Consider SEO
  • Make it relevant to your business

If your business is specific to a certain geographic location, try to incorporate that into your domain name. With the number of websites out there, you may not be able to secure the exact domain you want, but considering the above factors will help significantly in coming up with some options for your business.

Be sure to have at least two or three options in case the first one is already taken. Also, each option should include the top keyword for your industry in your domain. If you’re having a hard time finding the domain name you want, here are a few tips to consider. Expiring domains (those which have not been renewed) can also be purchased, just be sure to be sure to check WHOIS to see if they are still in use.

Register Your Business Domain
When you have finally decided on the perfect available domain name, do not hesitate to register it right away. You don’t need to worry too much about changing your mind in the long run because the process of securing a domain costs about $10-35 USD annually. The prices of annual feels vary depending on the domain registrars. Here are a list of some accredited hosting companies you can use:

As soon as you find the best domain registrar or host, be sure to have a credit card or PayPal account ready to process your payment and remember to pay annually to renew your ownership. After small business owner Nick Hoffman lost ownership of his website domain because he missed the renewal period, he suggested buying your business domain up front for at least 5-10 years or setting up an auto-renew payment program. When you forget to renew ownership of a domain, it returns to the market for purchase

Once you have your domain registered, double check that the business domain is registered under your name or the business owner’s name. Entrepreneur Graham Hunt realized this the hard way when he commissioned web developers for his real estate firm’s new website without making sure that he was the registered business domain owner. This resulted in lawsuits regarding website ownership, which caused $6,000 in sales commission fees, when the actual website domain only costed $15!

David Bates of The Business Journals advises that, when registering your business, whether you do it yourself or you hire someone else to, list your name as the “registrant” or legal owner of the domain name, the “administrative contact” or individual with rights to alter the domain record, and the “technical contact” or person in charge of any technical issues with the domain.

After following those steps, you’re all set to create the perfect website for your business. You can now start building your online presence and figuring out what types of content or functionalities you want your website to feature. But, before you start, here are a few important things to avoid when registering your domain name:

Avoid Unnecessary Characters/Abbreviations or Combine Names
Since you are trying to build your business on the web, the last thing you would want is to register the wrong name for your website. You want people to easily remember your website name, so don’t confuse them with unnecessary hyphens, abbreviations, or numbers. Also, be sure that if you use more than one word, the words don’t spell out something unintended, like whorepresents.com or childrenswear.co.uk. Be cautious when thinking of catchy, easy to remember domain names.

Also try to avoid using words like “a”, “an” or “the” to start your domain name, as it tends to add unnecessary length. Same goes with using “to”, “but”, or “or” to connect words.

Don’t Forget to Use the Appropriate Domain Extension (if necessary)
If you are building your site as a small profit business, you can stick to the usual .com, as most extensions require extra cost that may be a waste of your money. It is only necessary to purchase other extensions if you are trying to trademark or patent your brand (which could be something to explore in the future), but for now, just stick to .com.

If you are building a site for a non-profit organization, you can use the extension .org and, if education related, you can use .edu. This solely depends on the nature of the website you’re creating. Check out a list of all web domain extensions here.

Check The Previous Owners of Your Domain
It is possible that the name you purchased has already been used in the past and is expired, which is why you’re allowed to purchase it. Be sure that your chosen domain name is not too similar to others, as that may cause trademark infringement issues. If you want to take the extra measure, consult with a lawyer and make sure the domain name is not tied up with any legal issues. If this isn’t an option for you financially, check on your domain through https://whois.domaintools.com/.

You can find out more about WHOIS and FAQs about registering your business here.

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