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Domains Names – A Brief Overview

A domain name serves as an address for your website, much the same way as your street address shows where your house can be found. Because space on the internet is divided into complex strings of hard-to-remember numbers, a simple and clear word or phrase such as is the easiest “address” you can give your customers to find you.

A domain name, then, is not your “house” itself, but only your address. The pages, products and order forms that make up your website’s content is developed separately by a professional website designer or with do-it-yourself template software. Upon entering your domain name,, customers will reach your website.

Registering your domain name provides you with the exclusive right to use it, and prevents others throughout the world from using the same name. As the domain holder, you can advertise your domain name to direct internet traffic to your site.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) oversees the registration of domains on the internet. Accredited by ICANN are more than fifty online registrars such as GoDaddy, Enom and Network Solutions, who administer the registries and can help you to purchase rights to your own domain. While cost differences, ease of online registration, technical support and special offers for additional service packages may influence you to choose one over the others, stay focused on your needs and avoid the extra gimmicks offered if you don’t need them.

Customers need to find and remember your website, so it is critical that your domain name is easy to spell and pronounce, easily featured in advertising, and not easily confused with similar names. Use your company name or product type, such as or, so that internet searches for both your company and for your general product or service direct customers to your site instead of your competitors’.

Online domain registration is a relatively quick and simple process. If you are working with a website designer, she may handle the process for you. On your preferred registrar’s website, enter the domain name you would like to register. The registrar will verify whether the name is already taken and generate suggestions for alternative names in case your first choice is not available. In choosing an alternative, it is more advisable to choose a slightly different name than a different extension (for example, “.net” or “.biz”) since most customers type “.com” as second nature. Follow the prompts to complete your order. Registration costs a small annual fee and lasts for a renewable term of one year or more, depending on your registration agreement. You may also want to consider registering additional extensions such as “.us,” “.org” or “.info” to prevent others from having too similar a name to yours, or even register common misspellings of your domain name to make sure your customers can find you.

Domain Name Guide