TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Deciding on a Domain Name
- Researching Your Choice
A. WHOIS Search
B. Name Already Taken?
- Securing the Name
The name of your web site is called its "domain name". For example, the domain name of this site is valuedwebsites.com. Some people call domain names "URLs". Doesn’t matter what you call it.
A good domain name is catchy and easy to remember. It’s also usually relevant to the topic of your website. For example, if your site is about real estate appraisal and you were located in Akron then a name like akronappraisals.com would be great. However, a name like butter1978.com or even akron1978.com would not.
There are restrictions placed on domain names:
- Domain names can be made up of letters, numbers, and dashes.
- The name can’t begin with a dash.
- You can’t include special characters like spaces, apostrophes, periods, commas or ! @ # $ % ^ & or *.
- Don’t infringe on someone else’s registered trademark.
Here are some things to consider:
- Capitalization doesn’t matter. It all looks lower-case to the computer.
- The name should ideally be easy to spell and not longer than 15 letters.
- Try not to have a word that ends with S and starts with S next to each other.
- Choose a name that’s easy to remember.
- Most people don’t use dashes in their domain names these days.
Most of the good names are already taken, so you may have to settle for second best. And sometimes you can get a good name, but you’ll have to use .net, .us or .biz instead of .com.
It’s always best to go for .com if it’s available since most people think .com when they think of company websites.
You may also want to consider buying mutiple versions of the name — .com, .us, .net, .org AND .biz — especially if your domain name is made of generic words or your company’s trademarked name.
There’s little reason to buy several variations on the spelling, unless it’s your company’s trademarked name.
There’s an online tool called WHOIS that is used to tell if a domain name is already taken, and if it is, by whom. When you register your domain name with a registrar (we recommend moniker.com ), you’ll use their WHOIS tool when you choose a domain name.
If the name you want is already taken is, try variations on the theme. If akronappraisals.com is taken, try akronappraisal.com, then akronohappraisal.com, then akronohioappraisals.com, then bestakronappraiser.com, etc.
What can you do if the name you really absolutely wanted or needed was already taken? The first thing you should do is to type the domain name into your browser and see if there’s an actual web site there, or if it’s just a "coming soon" page.
If there’s already a web site there and it looks like someone’s actually using it, there’s probably not too much you can do. The exception is if the name is your registered trademark, then you may have some luck in court (assuming the "domain squatter" is under your court’s jurisdiction).
If there’s no web site, or it looks rather outdated, you might have luck contacting the owner of the site and offering to buy the domain name. Prices range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars or more.
When you look up an existing domain name in WHOIS (see previous section) there will usually be enough information provided to track down the owner of the domain. Don’t sound too desperate, however, or you may get gouged.
There’s a whole minor industry that revolves around domain name speculation. People will buy up domain names that they think other people will pay lots of money for. If the domain name you want falls under this category, you may be able to pay lots of money for it. In fact, some web sites consist of only one page that says simple "Buy This Domain Name!"
Once you’ve decided on a name and confirmed that it’s available, register it. Prices average around $10/year.
Valued Websites recommends that you register your domain name yourself so that you own the name. If you request that we register it for you, the fee is $25/year and we’ll own it.
We recommend moniker.com . It costs about $10 a year. Don’t buy hosting or email services from them. Just the domain name. If you want privacy services, that might reduce some spam so that might be worth buying.
Getting a domain name is a small but very important part of your overall web site plan. Try to choose a name that’s catchy and easy to remember and spell. And a good idea is to use either your existing company name (if it’s not too long), or has a word that describes your industry. For real estate appraisers, for example, the word appraiser, appraisers, appraisal, or appraisals along with the area you service (city, town, county, state, etc.) would be a good option.
For more information or if you have any questions please email firstname.lastname@example.org