Q. How do I reserve a domain name?
You can do this through any approved registrar, such as GoDaddy, Register.com, or Network Solutions. Here at Inquistiek, our go-to is Name Silo, because they are easy to work with, offer reasonable rates, don’t push up-selling, and are cheaper than than some of the heavily-marketed registrars like GoDaddy by several magnitudes.
To get started, just go to the website of a registrar. Once there, you just do a search for your domain name to make sure its available. You can check for availability of your desired domain name across multiple extensions (such as.com, .net, or .biz).
Once you find one you like, the website will guide you through the process of reserving it for a period of time. Finally, you’ll choose or decline add-ons and pay the fees.
Q. What add-ons should I buy? Are they worth it?
The only add-on we strongly recommend is “WHOIS privacy” so your name and address are not viewable by the public when they go to WHOIS to find out details about your domain name.
You can buy hosting through the registrar, as well, but hosting is a separate item and should be considered separately. You may end up using the same company, but it should be an informed decision based on your needs.
Q. What should I consider when choosing a domain name?
Keep it short, simple, relevant and memorable. Don’t put too much thought into being clever or cute, as these things matter less than having a name that is easy to remember and type in. The best domain name is usually going to be the name of your business with a common extension.
Ideally, you would avoid having things like numbers in your name. When it comes to SEO, the name is a factor, but it doesn’t make or break your SEO. What’s more important is the length of time that you’ve had a live domain, so once you know you’re going to launch a site, best practice is to reserve the domain name ASAP.
Q. Does the extension matter?
Certain extensions are taken to mean certain things, such as:
- .net was originally intended to represent a network site, but has since become popular for general use sites
- .org is widely accepted to be a site for a non-profit organization, but there are no rules to enforce this
- .biz, as you’d probably guess, is short for “ business”
- .com is an abbreviation of “commercial”, and was created for commercial websites. It has since become the most popular extension, and is widely accepted as the “default” extension for all types of website
- .gov is an extension that is supposed to be restricted to government entities. PSA: It’s important to note that the .gov extension doesn’t necessarily mean you can trust a website. See this article for more
Q. Can I change my domain name later? What is that process like? What would it cost?
You can always change your domain name later. You’ll need to tell search engines that your website has migrated, so the SEO that your website has built with search engines will be credited to your new domain name. Migrating is relatively easy. In effect, it’s really just a network update where you tell your hosting provider to switch things up on the back end.
Q. Why do I have to pay for a domain name? What service am I getting for my money?
A domain name is useful for humans, but not for computers, since they run off numbers. When you reserve a domain name, ICANN attaches it to a “machine friendly” IP address, which is a string of numbers – four groups, separated by periods, such 126.96.36.199.
In short, ICANN and the registrars work together so that your domain name always brings users to the proper IP address. ICANN is a non-profit, but the registrars charge for their services.