Your domain name is your identity. No one can ever hold the same domain name as you simultaneously; therefore your Internet identity is totally unique. If you have a website your domain is your own online brand, like an online business card. With your own domain name, the website and email addresses have that professional look for the business. Many people miss the importance of having one and keeping it until they lose it. Once this happens you can lose your whole online identity.
First, you need to know how a domain name works.
A domain name is an addressing concept, used for finding and identifying computers on the Internet. Computers use Internet Protocol (IP) Addresses. This is a series of numbers used to identify each other on the Internet; however, many people find it hard to remember IP Addresses. Domains were developed so that easily remembered names and phrases could be used to identify entities on the Internet instead of using an IP Address.
What should I use as a domain name?
Obviously, the domain name should be the business name. Try to use a domain that is relevant to your website. If your site is a personal site try to think of a domain name that is related to the topic of your website. For this, you can use a word or phrase. When thinking of a domain name, think of catchy words or phrases that are easy to remember and will bring more traffic to your site.
Keep the domain name as short as possible, around 5 to 20 characters is fine. The shorter the domain name the easier it will be to remember.
How do I acquire a domain name?
There are two main ways you can get a domain:
- Register your domain name yourself or
- Get your web host or ISP (Internet Service Provider) to register it for you.
To register a domain yourself you will need to select a Registrar. A Registrar is an ICANN accredited domain registration company. There are hundreds of Registrars on the Internet nowadays. The market is becoming increasingly competitive, you can now purchase domains for a low yearly fee.
Most web hosting companies will offer domain registration services to their clients. Registering a domain through a web host will get it registered through their own approved registrar. An advantage is that they have the knowledge and experience and necessary information ready at hand. This process will save you time and, as long as you give the correct domain desired, there will be no unfamiliar dealings with Registrars.
What is private registration?
If you ever received unsolicited phone calls, emails or mail? When you register a domain without private registration, your contact info (Address, Phone and Email) are entered into was is called the WHOIS record. If you do not privatise your registration information, it is public information. Companies have been collecting WHOIS contact info to send unsolicited mail, emails, and phone calls. At Certa we have an option at checkout to register your domains with private registration. It costs a little more but it is worth doing it.
Why is it important to keep my domain registered?
If you lose your domain you can lose your whole online identity.
You can only register a domain for a year or so, you will need to make sure that you renew it before the expiry date. Once your domain expires you will no longer own that domain. Your Registrar will then own it and be able to sell your domain to the highest bidder. To make sure you don’t lose your domain you will need to make sure you renew your domain at least two weeks before it expires.
Check that the information is registered properly, especially if you didn’t register your domain name yourself. Your information should be displayed as the registrant, administrative and billing contacts. It is very important to check the email addresses are ‘active’. An email will be sent to this address with information about your domain name, such as renewals, price changes, etc. If you can’t receive emails from that address, you are at risk. This could be of not receiving important notifications about your domain names. This will end up in losing your domain name.
People don’t understand the importance of having their own unique domain name for their website. A domain name represents you, your company and your online presence. If you don’t have your own domain name you won’t be able to promote your own online identity and website.