How to Plan, Part 4

Domain

Now that you plan to establish your online presence, it is important that you choose a name for your website. A domain name is the name that you and your customers will use to refer to your website. Getting a domain name entails choosing a suitable name and registering it with the ICANN organization. You will need a domain name registrar or provider to obtain the name and for them to register this name with the ICANN. Registration for a domain name will typically cost you between $10 and $40. This will allow you to use the domain name for a year after which you must renew it and pay the applicable fee. While some web hosts will register the domain name for you, it is preferable that you use a domain name registrar who will automatically do this for you.

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GoDaddy is one of the best domain name providers. It is reliable and has been in the industry long enough to offer economical packages for small and large businesses. It will cost you $1.99 for non-popular domain names and $9.99 for popular names with .com or. org extensions. The company offers web-hosting services for about $5 monthly. GoDaddy also provides dedicated and virtual server packages.

While choosing a domain name for your business, here are several factors to take into consideration:

1. Go for the .com or .org domain name extensions. These are generally considered professional and will exude a level of credibility for your business online. If you are looking to target a specific market based in a specific country, then you may want to use a local top-level domain such as .au for Australia, .de for Germany, .za for South Africa, .co.uk for the UK and so on.

2. Try finding a unique domain name that will identify well with your business. Unique domain names may cost you more but they will go a long way in differentiating you from your competition. Choose a domain name that has a single spelling to ensure that potential customers do not misspell this name.

3. If possible, keep the domain name short; this will add the “stickiness factor” to your domain name so that site visitors always remember this name and easily tell others about it.

4. When deciding between plural or singular domain names, choose the one that is most sensible to your business. Even better, consider buying both the singular and plural names and then redirect one to the other.

5. Purchase or choose domain names that have a keyword related to your business. This ensures that your site URL is appropriately optimized for the search engines. It is a good idea to make use of industry or niche market jargon; this often assures potential visitors that they will find exactly what they are looking for on your site.

6. Choose a domain name that will attract Type-In traffic. Type-In traffic is the traffic generated when site visitors get directly to your site by typing your URL in their web browser. The best domain names for type-In traffic are those that have an exact match with your business or brand name or a keyword rich. These types of domain names will also give you some competitive advantage at the search engines.

Free Vs. Paid Domains

You can choose to have a free or paid domain. For a Free Domain you will not pay anything; you simply choose the domain name from free domain providers and find a web host. The disadvantage of free domains is that they are essentially sub-domains that are part of a larger domain (e.g. yoursite.wordpress.com). If something goes wrong with the main domain, so will your free sub-domain. You risk losing your data.

Paid Domains are arguably a better choice for businesses. Domain names in this category range from as little as $10 annually to thousands of dollars, depending on the value of that domain name. The advantage of paid for domains is that you can have a domain name that reflects your business brand. The name is independent and thus you have more control over your files and contents. Remember to renew your paid for domain each year; if you do not, someone else will buy it.

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