How to Find the Right Registrar
Finding the right registrar is an important aspect of registering a domain name, as many registrars have unfair terms and conditions and cannot provide all-inclusive services. Look for registrars that also offer web hosting services, and try to choose reputable companies that have a long history of being reliable and professional. When it comes to price, good domain registrars will provide discounts when you purchase more than one domain.
How to Choose a TLD
Choosing the right TLD (top-level domain), or domain extension, can be a difficult process, especially if you do not know what each TLD stands for. The most common TLD is .com, however .net and .org are close competitors and .co is increasing in popularity. Try to consider the intended purpose of your site before choosing a suitable domain TLD. Keep in mind that some TLDs cost more than others, with the .com, .org and .net domains being the most expensive at $10 per year of registration.
Keep the Domain Name As Short As Possible
There is a reason why the most expensive domain names have less than 6 letters. Short domain names are more memorable and can easily be branded. If you want your site to gain popularity quickly then you will need to choose a short and memorable domain name in a popular TLD like .com or .net.
Choose Popular Keywords
Try to register domain names that contain popular keywords, as this will give you the ability to rise to the top of the search engines with much less effort. Look for keywords that are commonly searched for, yet have the lowest amount of competing web sites. Using keywords in your domain name and in your site's content is the best way to gain residual search engine traffic with minimal effort.
Register Domains with Multiple Extensions
When you buy a domain from a registrar you should try to purchase more than one extension or TLD of the same name. For example, if you decide to purchase “example.com” then you should also consider “example.net” and/or “example.org”. Doing this will not only give you more web presence, you'll also relieve a discount from the registrar for all of the domains.
Always Try to Obtain .COM Domains
.COM domains should always be your first option when selecting a new domain name. Search engines tend to rank .com domains higher than any other domain extensions, and .com domains are currently the most popular domain type on the internet. If you're unable to find a .com domain then you may want to consider .net or .org instead.
Register Multiple Spelling Variations
Registering multiple domains that are similar to the spelling of your actual domain will keep your competitors from obtaining these domains and using them against you. People commonly mistype a domain name in the web address bar of their browser. To make sure you're getting the web traffic you deserve, you'll need to purchase the most common spelling variations of your domain name.
Avoid Too May Hyphens
Try to avoid using too many hyphens in your domain name, especially if the domain name contains several words. Contrary to popular belief, search engines do not favor domain names that have words separated by hyphens. In fact, these domains usually rank lower than those without hyphens. For example, the domain name “siteexample.com” would be more ideal than “site-example.com,” even though the latter is less aesthetically appealing.
Avoid Using Numbers for Words
Try not to use numbers as substitutes for words, as this is not how someone would type in a search query in the search engines. For example, if you were searching for “pants for men” you would not type in “pants 4 men.” Search engines tend to favor domain names that do not use slang or numbers to represent actual words.
Try to Register The Full Name and Acronym
If you can, try to register the full name of your site as well as any acronyms or abbreviations that are commonly used for your company. Although it can be difficult and expensive to acquire a 2, 3 or 4 letter domain name, it is possible and advisable, especially for larger companies.
Choose a Descriptive Domain Name
If you are unable to find a domain name that matches the name of your company, then you may want to name the domain based on what your company has to offer. This will usually help with keyword optimization as well. For example, if your company sells dog collars, then you could register the domain name “cheapestdogcollars.com”.
Don't Rush to Choose your Domain Name
The process of choosing the right domain is one that requires patience and determination, otherwise you may find yourself with a mediocre domain name that you'll want to change in a few months. Do not be afraid to devote the extra time to finding the right domain name that you'll be happy with for a long time to come.
Join a Domain Name Forum
One of the best ways to learn about domain names is through a web hosting or domain name related forum. These forums often have thousands of active members that can provide useful answers to any of your questions about domain name registration. You'll also be able to find out the latest information in the domain industry as a member of a domain name forum.
Get a Free Domain From Your Hosting Provider
Try finding a hosting provider that offers a free domain name with any hosting plan you purchase., this will save you money on domain registration, and get you set up with a hosting plan all in one step. It is important to read the terms and conditions governing the ownership of any “free domain," as it may actually belong to the web hosting company.
Use Private Registration
Private registration lets you keep the details of your domain registration out of the eyes of the public in the WHOis database. Private registration usually only costs about $10 at the average domain registrar. Consider opting for private registration during the checkout process of your next domain registration.
Certify Your Domain
Purchasing a domain certification for an extra $2 to $5 upon checkout is definitely advisable, especially for online business owners that will depend on their domains as a means of income. Domain certification can help you provide proof of ownership if you ever need to reclaim a stolen domain. Domain certificates can be printed, signed, notarized and put in plaque like every other certificate.
Activate Domain Notifications
After purchasing your domain name you should always activate notifications within the control panel of your domain registrar. These notifications will be sent via email, text or phone call whenever changes are made within the administrative interface of your domain registrar account. Activating notifications is perhaps the best way to proactively protect against domain hijacking.
Look for Recently Expired Domains
Recently expired domains provide a number of advantages in the field of search engine optimization. Some recently expired domains still retain some o the SEO benefits, such as a high page rank or even hundreds of backlinks still indexed and active on the web. Recently expired domain names can be bought at auction for slightly higher prices than the average domain registration, although some can cost much more, depending on many factors including the name itself.
Consider Registrar Recommendations
When you search for a domain name that has already been registered, most registrars will give you a list of recommendations to choose from that are similar to your desired domain. In some cases, these recommendations could prove to be more valuable than your initial choice. Try to consider all of the recommendations before moving on to the next idea.
Avoid Trademarked Terms
Never register a domain name that contains copyrighted term, as this can result in a lawsuit, and even the loss of the domain and the attached web site. In fact, many people have been sued because they purchased a domain name that contained copyrighted material. Never try to capitalize on the popularity of a well established brand or product, as this may cause legal issues in the future.
Never Wait on a Good Idea
When you have a good idea for a domain name you should immediately try to register it if you have the funds available. Waiting on a good idea will almost always result in disappointment in the domain name industry, as domains are being purchased at an astounding rate. A good name that is available today may not be available tomorrow.
Be Careful With Domain Back Orders
If a domain name that you want is not currently available, it is possible to put the domain on back order for a fee of about $20. Unfortunately, most people don't realize that putting a domain on back order does not guarantee that they will be able to buy it when it becomes available. In fact, there is a good chance that you will not obtain the domain even if you have paid a back order fee. There are much better ways to acquire domains as they expire than to place them on back order with the domain name registrar.
Create Domain Registrar Accounts and Use Them
If you have ever had to provide registration information to a domain name registrar then you know just how annoying of a process it can be. Creating an account with your registrar is a great way to save time by having all of your information stored in a profile within your registrar account.
Always Look for Coupons
Most major domain registrars online have coupon codes that you can use to get a significant discount on the cost of your purchase. Try doing a web search for the name of your registrar followed by the word “coupons” or the phrase “coupons codes.” In some cases you may be able to get free domains or even half off of you purchase by using a single coupon code during checkout.
Consider Country-Code TLDs
If you have a good idea for a domain and you're unable to register it in one of the conventional TLDs like .com or .net, you may want to consider registering a ccTLD (country-code TLD). Country code TLDs are just as cheap as .com domains, and in many cases they can rank just as high in the search engines, especially for regionally targeted keywords.
Take Domain Name Advice
Brainstorming is the key to finding the right domain name that you'll be satisfied with on a long term basis. Taking advice from a group of friends or family members is one of the best ways to generate ideas and find a name that is likable and memorable. Be open to all new ideas, and make sure you're patient during the name selection process.
Don't Hesitate to Try
A lot of people miss out on some of the best domain names because they automatically assume that there is now way it could be available. This is the worst mind state to be in when looking for a good domain, because you'll probably never find one with that type of attitude. If you have an idea for a domain name, even if it seems impossible that it could still be available, don't hesitate to try.
Avoid Domain Names that Contain Plurals
Although it may seem tempting to purchase a domain name that is the plural version of a popular term (I.E. “basketballs.com” instead of “basketball.com”), this may not be the best decision. It is important to note that a lot of people will forget to put the "s" at the end of the name, and will therefore be directed to a completely different web site. Thus, it is best to avoid plural domain names altogether unless you also own the singular version of the domain as well.
Buy Multiple Domain Names
Having multiple domain names is ideal in today's ever-changing internet industry. The longer you wait to purchase the domains you want, the more likely it is that someone else will purchase your domain. Having more than one domain will give you the flexibility and freedom to create new web sites whenever you're ready.
Use Domain Forwarding
If you decide that you no longer like your domain name then you should consider using domain forwarding rather than transferring the files to another domain. Domain forwarding is easier, faster, and will not have a negative effect on SEO like file transferring does. If you do decide to transfer your files to a new domain, keep in mind that the new site could be penalized with duplicate content penalties if the old site is already indexed by the search engines.
Study Domain Auction Sites
If you want to learn how to judge the value of a domain name then you should start studying domain auction sites on a regular basis. Becoming a member of one of these sites is also a great way to advertise your domain if you decide to sell it at a later date. Buying a used domain has its advantages over registering a domain with a registrar, which is another benefit of frequenting domain auction sites.
Buy Domains in Bunches
A lot of people choose to purchase domains one at a time, as they come up with the idea. However, purchasing domains in bunches is the best way to get discounts and save money in the long term. If you're planning on buying several domains you may want to buy them all at once from the same registrar.
Use Reliable Domain Registrars
Never purchase domain names from domain registrars that are not reputable. Some companies include questionable terms and conditions in their contracts that actually prevent you for switching web hosting providers without losing ownership of the domain. To avoid being entrapped in a n unfair contract it is best to only buy domains form reliable and reputable registrars.
Consider Business Registration
If you are an online business owner then you may want to consider the benefits of business registration, which increases visibility and puts your site and information about your registration in an open business database that can be reviewed by potential clients and business partners. Business registration is only a couple extra dollars upon checkout at most domain registrars.
Consider Protected Registration
Protected registration is the safest type of domain name registration available, because it not only keeps your registration information safe, it also protects you from domain expiration, and unauthorized domain transfers. If you're serious about the security of your domain then you should definitely consider protected registration.
Consider .info Domains
Although they cost very little, often only a dollar from some domain registrars, .info domains have the potential to rank just as highly as .com domains in the search engines. In fact, some .info domains are ranked number one for competitive keywords! If you're looking for a cheap domain name that can still be successful, then consider .info domains.
Try Domain Monitoring Services
If you've been waiting on a particular domain to expire so that you can scoop it up as soon as possible, you may want to try domain monitoring services. These services are usually offered by domain registrars, and are a great way to keep an eye on a domain that you've put on backorder. Most domain name speculators utilize this service to get information on domains that are about to expire.
Register Domains with Your Hosting Provider
Most web hosting providers are also domain registrars, or have connections with the domain registrars. If you're only going to buy a few domains then you may want to consider purchasing the domains from your hosting provider, as this will simplify and centralize the process of registering your domains and signing up for a hosting account simultaneously.
Try Local targeting with Your Domain Name
If you own a local business and you're trying to expand your local outreach then you may want to consider purchasing a domain name that contains local keywords, such as the name of the town you live in and/or the type of service or products you're selling. For example, if you own a bicycle store in Miami then you could choose a domain name like “bicyclerentalsinmiami.com.”
Join Domain Discount Clubs
There are a lot of sites and forums on the internet that are related to domain name registrations and finding the best domains. Some domain registrars also have domain discount clubs that send out newsletters with coupons every month. Joining one of these clubs is one of the best way to take advantages of the latest promotions from domain registrars.
Look for Transfer Out Fees
Some domain registrars include unfair terms in their contracts that will automatically charge you a credit card fee when you decide to transfer your domain to another registrar. Some of these fees are incredibly exorbitant, and some registrars will even completely restrict you from transferring your domain to another registrar!
Look for Whois Edit Fees
Every domain registrar is required to publish your domain registration information in a publicly viewable database called the WHOis database, unless you purchase private registration. Unfortunately, some domain registrars will charge a fee when you decide to edit some of this public information, try to steer clear of these fees by examining the fine print every time.
Look for Any Hidden Fees
Beware of “Free” Domains
There are a lot of domain registrars, hosting providers and other companies out there claiming to offer free registration for certain customers or for certain domain types. You have to be weary of these offers, because in most cases there are fees charged later that completely negate the free registration. Some registrars will even keep you from transferring your “free" domain, or claim complete ownership of the “free” domain within the fine print of their contract.
Only Buy Domains from Registrars that will Provide the Domain Auth-Code
Some domain types like info, .org and .biz domains require an 8 digit code to be transferred to another registrar. Unfortunately, some registrars will withhold this code from you until you pay a fee, which basically equates to a domain transfer fee. Make sure you can access this information by only purchasing domains form reputable registrars.
Don't Spend Too Much on One Domain
If you are buying and selling domains for profit then it is important to keep in mind that quantity is usually better than quality in the domain name industry. Even the best domain names can take months to sell for a satisfactory price, which is why it is necessary to have several cheaper domains than to have one extremely expensive domain.
Avoid Domain Parking Registrars
Some domain registrars offer dirt cheap registration prices because they're actually making money by parking their customer's domains. Domain parking is the practice of leasing the domain to an advertising agency so that they can put contextual advertisements on the home page of the site. If you just purchased a domain name and your home page is being used by another company other than your registrar then you may want to buy your next domain form another company.
Use a Real Email Address When Registering
Always use a real email address when registering a domain, as this will be the primary contact method that the registrar will use to send important emails to. If you give them a fake email address then you cannot confirm ownership of the domain, or set up security notifications. Never register a domain with a fake email address or someone else's email address, as this could make it easier for someone to steal your domain in the future.
Use a Real Phone Number When Registering
Always give the registrar a real phone number, as they may need to contact you in emergency situation, such as the expiration of your registration, or suspicious activity in your account. If you give the registrar a fake phone number there is a possibility that you could lose your domain to a thief or it could expire without you ever realizing it.
Set Up Automatic Billing for Domain Renewal
The best way to avoid losing your domain unexpectedly is to authorize your registrar to automatically bill you when it is time to renew the ownership of your domain. It is imperative to ensure that your registrar is reputable before giving them the authority to charge your card in the future. Some people prefer using an online payment processor like MoneyBookers instead.