Domain names are the one topic that generates the most questions — and can cause the most trouble if not handled correctly. Don’t worry. It’s very simple.
Here are some facts. If you don’t see your answer here and/or you have specific questions, just ask. Everything about your domain name is very, very important. So get yourself educated before you get into trouble.
1. What’s a domain name?
It’s the address where people find your website. BeeLineDesign.com is mine. Upper and lower case don’t matter in domain names. You can use dashes like this – and dots . but not much else as far as symbols. When you print it on business cards, you can use the upper and lower case to make it more readable.
2. What’s a domain name registrar?
There are thousands of places online that can register domain names. The most famous is GoDaddy. But that doesn’t mean they’re the best. It’s extremely important that you register with a reputable registrar. While it’s rare, there have been registrars that suddenly went out of business leaving thousands of domain names in limbo. ALL those websites went down and the site owners were left stranded. In some cases, they couldn’t even access their website. It was simply gone. 🙁
3. How do I know what name to register?
Think of a domain name that’s logical for your business. If you sell Purple Widgets, then the most logical name would be PurpleWidgets.com. Only one entity in the world can own each domain name, so if your first choice is taken, you’ll have to go on down your list of favorites until you find one that’s not already registered.
4. What’s the difference between .com and .net — and all the other dots?
By far, the most popular domain name extension (those letters after the dot) is com. And since you want your domain name to be memorable for customers, you should stick to that, if possible. The rules for domain names are sometimes kind of loose. gov is for government, edu for schools, etc. For your purposes, stick to .com or .net and you’ll be good. If you have questions about your specific domain, just ask.
5. What’s the big deal? Why is a domain name so important?
If you let your domain name expire, your website will go offline. Sometimes your email goes, too. Think what would happen if your phone number expired. Customers wouldn’t be able to contact you to buy your awesome products. Your domain name is kind of the same. EXCEPT, if it does expire, someone else can take it. Yikes. Don’t let that happen. I can usually answer specific questions about your domain name, so just contact me. 262.492.3150 or email. This is a free service I offer because I hate to see people struggle…among other reasons.
Scary domain name stories
Here’s some more hair-raising information. Suppose your domain name was registered back in 2001 by the kid who created your website. Now it’s time to upgrade your website but he has become a sheep herder in Zimbabwe and has no phone or Internet. By now all your customers know your website address and your email by heart. But Zack’s in Zimbabwe and the registrar he chose is asking you to prove that you’re Zack because HE’S the owner of your domain — you aren’t. There are several things you can do — like completely change your web address and email — all of them being a HUGE hassle.
6. Don’t I get a warning if the domain name is about to expire?
Yes. The renewal request ALWAYS comes by email to the address on file with the registrar. But if you changed your email address, (or Zack is too busy during lambing season to check his email) or the renewal gets deleted, ends up in spam or any other reason you don’t see it, the name can expire.
7. Do you sell domain names?
Yes. And I’m very transparent. Customers who want to breeze through their workday without worrying about domain expirations can have me manage their domain(s). For those who want to manage their own names, I happily give complete control without a hassle.
8. How do I register a domain name?
Well, if you like me 🙂 then you can just email or call and I’ll register it for you. Since prices vary by domain extension, I can give you the cost when we talk.
If you don’t like me 🙁 you can go to any domain registrar online and register your favorite domain name. My favorite is EnomCentral. This is a reputable company that’s been around for many years and it’s the one I use. But there are literally thousands of registrars out there. To tell the truth, my least favorite, for various reasons, is GoDaddy, but if you register your domain name there, we can still be friends ;).