Once you are comfortable with working online, you should find a domain name for your site or sites. Domain name registration, if you do it right, is one of the key components of having your site rate high in the search engines. The right domain name is memorable, and can get your site to rank higher than other names. The wrong domain name won’t do you any good at all.
The first thing you have to do is come up with a good domain name for registration. Don’t even think about a one-word domain name; they’re all gone at this point. Instead, come up with dual-word combos. If you’re putting together a professional site, try your name before anything else.
Don’t get fancy with spelling when selecting your domain name registration, or use 2s and 8s to represent their sounds. You can try the number 1; that sometimes works. You can also try the names of products you offer, or a description of your site content offerings: Romanceforgirls, popcornpalace, fluffykittens. Memorable is always better; short and memorable is best, but very difficult to accomplish.
Come up with a couple of dozen names that will do for your site, and test them on a registry. Don’t buy a domain name for which the .com extension is gone, but you have access to the .net or .info. These domain names are not by any means as valuable as the .com. If you pick up the .com, though, and you expect the site to be lucrative or have a lot of competition, it’s not a bad idea to pick up the other extensions as well. Domain name registration is NOT expensive, and if you register in bulk you can get an even better price.
This doesn’t mean you should avoid anything but .com. If you have a business in the United Kingdom, you have access to the .uk domain name set, which UK customers are likely to look at before anything else for UK-specific businesses.
If you anticipate most of your business will come from British customers who are aware your business is in Britain, the .uk extension may be a better choice than the .com; and if your customers are unhappy with Internic’s control of Internet domain registration or they are very pro-Britain, the .uk extension is certainly a better choice.
If you’re fortunate enough to find both extensions for your domain open, and if you run a British company, it doesn’t cost much to buy them both, and you definitely should.
Tips for Domain Name Registration
Have a website ready to plunk into your domain as soon as you buy it, and submit it immediately to the search engines. The search engines take time to index new sites and your domain name registration is only as valuable as the search engines make it.
You can also have more than one domain name pointing at a single site. If you’ve bought multiple extensions for your domain name (as in the previously-suggested .com/.uk combination), you can set up your site under one domain name and then direct traffic from the others to the main site. This is called web traffic forwarding and has been around for years. It may be as simple as parking your domain name on a server and putting a line of code on the page, or as complex as going through another website to use their online web forwarding services.
When you do register a domain and start building traffic to it, go out and renew for multiple years before your renewal is due. It is surprisingly easy to forget to register your domain name on time, and if someone else sneaks in and registers it, you’ve just lost a ton of work on that domain.
By making your domain name memorable, you will help other webmasters remember your site easily when building anchor texts in their links- a crucial component of SEO.
Final tip: don’t just think about price when looking for a domain registration company- also think about quality of service. While you shouldn’t be paying over the odds, it really is better to be safe than sorry and go with the more established registrars. Then you can have peace of mind that should any problems arise, you will be well looked after.