Advice for purchasing a domain name.

Purchasing a domain name is somewhat like buying a piece of real estate in the wild wild west: somewhat regulated and somewhat of a free-for-all. The laws are confusing and many companies go out of business leaving you to fend for yourself. So here’s some advice you might want to think about:

See if your domain name is available before naming your company.
It is extremely important to consider a domain name when thinking of a company name because there’s a good chance that someone already owns the name you want. Don’t settle on a name before you look to see if a particular domain is available (or some variation of your concept). Many unscrupulous people are in the business of buying domain names in bulk and holding them “hostage” for years hoping that someone might buy them at an inflated cost. With some creativity, you can usually avoid having to deal with these bottom feeders and save a bunch of cash in the process. 

Realize that your domain name and your hosting company are two separate things. 
You own the rights to your domain name and you can take it anywhere you want. You ALLOW a hosting company to “host” your domain letting everyone know where to find you and relays your web site to them. There are some hosting companies that will hold your domain name hostage, so know your rights and make sure you do your research before you make a decision to go with a reputable hosting company. You WILL run into problems along the way, so remember to be patient and stick to your guns. Remember, the internet is still new territory and it will be a long time until the Sheriff can enforce all the rules and regulations. Going with a reputable can make your life much easier.

Try to get a .com name instead of .net or others.
Because its been around the longest, “.com” is the most familiar to people. Its also one less part of your web address that people need to remember. If it is necessary to buy something other than “.com”, for example “www.yourcompany.BIZ”, make sure that the website that is at “www.yourcompany.COM” has nothing to do with the kind of business you are in. If a person makes a mistake typing in your address, you are just advertising for the competition.

Pick a name that is memorable.
Everyone has their own opinion on what to choose when picking a domain name and this is mine. I don’t think it really matters how long or short it is (as some people contend) simply because the sheer mass of domain names out there. Bottom line is make sure people can remember and spell it with minimal effort. A good example of this is a site I helped name for a veterinarian radiology practice: AnimalInsides.com. Fitting don’t you think?

Keep track of the expiration date of your domain.
Most hosting companies do a poor job making you aware of when its time for renewal. You do not want your domain to expire and THEN try to renew it. Renew it months in advance to avoid any problems and purchase it for more years than you think you will need it.

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