One of the first steps to take when bringing your business online is securing a domain name. A domain name is your website name and acts like a unique street address using words instead of IP addresses (a series of numbers). Domain name registration puts your business on the “online map” so you can identify your unique space on the internet and attract customers.
Each domain name includes a generic top-level domain (TLD), such as .com or .net, and a subdomain. For example, in NetworkSolutions.com, the TLD is .com, and the subdomain is NetworkSolutions. Together, they form a domain name used to locate a website.
You must register your domain before you can use it. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is responsible for accrediting domain name registrars the authority to register generic top level domain names (gTLDs).
When you go to register your desired domain name, you select a subdomain name and pair it with a TLD. Sometimes you might have to choose an alternative subdomain name or TLD if your first choice has already been taken.
When you register a domain, you get the right to use that domain for a certain period. It’s as if you are renting the space instead of owning it. So long as you pay the recurring registration fee upon renewal, you’ll have full rights to the domain.
Once you’ve registered your domain name, you can build a website associated with that domain name. If you aren’t ready to build a website, web hosting companies like Network Solutions will provide a placeholder page with the message that the site is “under construction.” In the meantime, you can set up an email address matched to your domain name or forward it to your LinkedIn or Facebook page, even without building a website. Using an email address linked with your domain name looks professional and lends credibility to your business.
Because domain names are crucial to an online business, here are a few top tips for choosing and registering your domain.
Finally, be sure you choose a reputable domain name provider. Look for a stable company with a stellar track record of working with companies like yours.