How To Buy and Manage Domain Names

Domain Names 101

Buying and managing a domain name is extremely easy, but requires a little knowledge for picking the right name for your website and properly managing it after the registration.

Domain names are loss leaders. In other words, the companies that sell them almost give them away in the hope of up-selling the customer more lucrative add-ons like hosting, plug and play website builders, website marketing tools and God knows what else. Be prepared to go through multiple layers of add-on offers before you get to the checkout page.

This Domain Name Tutorial has more details about domain names and marketing.

Step 1

Brainstorm and write down some potential domain names based on your website’s theme, products, company or organization name or potential benefits to your customers or users. Below are some basic rules and facts about domain names. In many cases, you should plan to register multiple versions of your company name and at least one keyword version. Here are a few tips:

  • Keep the name as short and as memorable as possible.
  • Find a keyword version for better search engine placement.
  • Your company/organization name can be used for your print marketing.
  • Always opt for a .com name over all other TLD’s.
  • You can only use numbers, letters or hyphens.
  • Be wary of registering names vulnerable to copyright infringement.

Step 2

Start the registration process by performing a WHOIS search. Go to one of the many domain registrars like and enter your names in the registration field one by one to check their availability. The registrar’s software will perform a WHOIS search to confirm if a specific domain name is available. WHOIS is a database of available and already registered names. If the name is unavailable, you are out of luck. Move down your list of names until you find an available name or names.

Step 3

Create an account and buy the domain name. You will need a credit card and be required to create an account at the registrar. Opening an account is necessary to manage your domain names. Go through the checkout process, which is similar to any other online purchase. You will receive a confirmation at the end of the checkout process.

If you are not interested in the many up-sells presented during the checkout, be sure to pay attention to what is in your cart at the end of the checkout process.

Step 4

Start managing your domain name. Once you domain is successfully registered, there is some maintenance that you must perform immediately. The first is to lock your domain name. Locking your domain is simple and can be done from your domain account’s management interface. Locking prevents unauthorized changes or transfers of your domain name.

Step 5

In your domain account, set the nameservers for your domain. The reason for this is so they point to the web host’s website, as this is where your site documents will sit on their servers. Failure to do this correctly will prevent your website from displaying on the Internet.

Step 6

Be proactive in your domain name management. Keep your contact information up to date. One reason is so you will receive notifications about expiration dates. Another is because you will need to confirm your contact information periodically. Failure to do so will leave you vulnerable to losing your domain for failure to confirm accurate domain ownership information.

Owning and managing domain names is an important skill for every website owner.

Rick Contrata is a Certified SEO Professional, owns a domain registration website and owns or markets a number of other sites and businesses.

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