I think the first question that you need to ask is why do I need to buy a domain name?
The answer to that is an easy. With the reach of the internet today, every business needs to have some sort of presence. From a local restaurant to pizza delivery companies, they all realize they need to have some sort of presence on the internet to communicate with current and past as well as finding new customers.
A domain name is your brand on the internet. It is used to identify your website and your email. These 2 factors alone are why you need a domain name.
Bit of background on domains
The might get a bit techo but stick with me, it is worth having this background knowledge.
Domain names are the "human branding" of the internet. Computers and servers communicate using 1's and 0's, or binary. Each computer on the internet has it's own address, just like a street address but on the internet, made up of these 1's and 0's on the worldwide internet. To save us having to workout the address of every computer, a boffin developed a system called Domain Name Servers which effectively translates a human readable name into an address that can be contacted on the internet. We can uses names which can be translated to an address on the network and not have to know anything about the 1's & 0's behind it. It didn't take long before some smart person cottoned on to the potential value of such a system and that this could be quite valuable as a branding mechanism, so started buying domain names for all the large companies of the world. That was in the mid 90's, fast forward to today and the domain name has become a valuable part of any companies marketing campaigns. There is whole industries built on buying and selling domain names. Court cases worth millions have been fort over domain name ownership. If you have a popular domain name, it can be a magnet for human query traffic from search engines like Google & Bing. This is what makes them so valuable. (But that is another story)
I have email and web hosting, Don't they supply it?
In short, the answer is "No". A domain name is normally separate from hosting. But there are some hosting companies that do supply it as part of an overall package and will help you register a domain as an umbrella service.
Note: If you do have one of these all in one packages, make sure you are the official owner of the domain and not the hosting service. If, at a later date, you decide to move to another hosting service, you could be blocked or even held to ransom over ownership of the domain if the hosting service is the official owner.
How do I get a domain name for my business?
First of all you need to check if your domain name is available and that it is not being used by someone else.
You can do this as part of the process once you have found a Domain name Registry. All Registries have some form of function that allows you to search the domain name system for names to see if they are available.
I find this site, https://instantdomainsearch.com a good one for trying to find the right name that is available. It allows you to brainstorm different names, giving you in real time, availability across many domains types. It is pretty easy to use and can save you hours.
This little video gives a good grounding to finding a good domain name if it still isn't making sense yet.
If you are looking to leverage off search engines straight away, a new domain will go through a period of "being" trusted by the search engine. Because it is their integrity at stake, they choose to watch what you are doing with your new domain rather than sending you a lot of traffic only to find a broken or ex spam site. One way to avoid the "search engine bounce" as it is called is to buy a second hand or expired domain which already has been around for a little while. Because the search engines have seen this domain, they feel a bit more trusting towards it. One caveat's though, make sure the domain was not used as a spamming domain previously or is associated with a copyright or existing company.
This video is a good overview for finding expired domains. The tool used in this video is http://www.expireddomains.net/. I use this on a regular basis and gives great information quickly.
Now that you have your domain name, you can go ahead and register it.
Ok, I have my name, what now?
You need to now register that name with an official domain name registry.
It is a simple process of creating an account with a registrar and creating your domain name. There will be fees for the domain name as well as renewal fees during it life.
These are two registries that I use all the time and offer the greatest deals that I have come across including some free options. Just click on one of the banners for either NameCheap.com or CrazyDomains.com and it will take you to their website where you can start the process of registering your name creation.
Well I hope this has helped you with getting a domain name established.
Hang on, but what do I do now?
It's ok, I'm not going to leave you hanging. An article will be coming very soon about establishing a good web presence. But for now, jump on over to this article I wrote a while back.
More coming soon ...