Guide to Getting Domain Names

by Sarah Dopp

Your domain name is the URL to your site (www."yourname".com). A unique domain name contributes greatly to being viewed professionally. It will also allow you to create email addresses ending with @"yourname".com

Cost

$8 - $30 per year

Smart Shopping Tips

Think about it before you buy, and buy as many as you want. Your domain name should be relevant, easy to say, easy to spell, and easy to remember. You've struck gold if people will remember it just from hearing it spoken. Of course, striking gold is hard to do.

Domain names are first come, first serve. Most of the good ones are already taken, so you may need to get creative. If "youname".com is taken, try "yourname".net or "yourname".org. You can also use ".biz," ".us," ".info," ".ws," or any other new suffix they've come out with. These suffixes are called Top Level Domains (TLDs). The less common TLDs will be harder for people to remember, so use them sparingly. Businesses who are concerned with their brand identity will often buy the same name in every TLD available. This prevents other websites from using a similar name.

It's okay to buy more than one domain name. One will be your primary address, and all the others can redirect users to your site.

Domain names are paid for on a yearly basis. Don't register yours for more than one year at a time. You never know what new deals you'll find in 12 months.

"But where do I buy these names?" you might ask.

There are thousands of domain name retails out there. Choose one with a low price (no more than $10/year for a ".com") and a good reputation for customer service. I often use GoDaddy.com. Their domains are inexpensive and they're very established in the industry. They also sell a spectrum of other products, but you can click "No Thanks" through all of their ads. Chances are, you won't need anything else that a domain retailer wants to sell you.

Some other good choices are Active Domain and Name Cheap. They also provide excellent service.