The second you decide on a name for your business, you should purchase the corresponding domain for your website. They are inexpensive, easy to buy and one of the simplest ways to brand your business.
What is a domain?
A domain is your address on the web, just like you have an address for your home. For example: yourbusiness.com. The .com is called an extension and there are hundreds of others to choose from, including but not limited to .net, .org, and .us.
A domain is not the same as the website
If comparing your domain to your home address, then your website is the actual “home” that your webpages and content live in. To build the website, you have to purchase hosting from a web host. The host provides you space on the web to hold your website files, which can then be viewed by anyone who visits your web address.
So, why should you purchase a domain?
Having a custom domain is one of the simplest and least expensive tools of branding your business. It is a badge of professionalism and says that you want to be taken seriously. When conducting business, the web address gordonmediaco.com carries much more weight than gordonmediaco.notmydomain.com. You can also configure your domain with an email provider to receive messages at an address like email@example.com rather than firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to buy one
Domains are purchased through a registrar and the process is very simple. A few popular registrars include GoDaddy, Google Domains and 1&1. Each registrar has an automated system that tells you the availability of your desired name. Domains are registered in year terms, starting with a minimum of one year. Average costs are $12 to $25 annually.
Protecting your privacy
When purchasing a domain, you are required to provide the registrar with contact information for yourself or your business, including phone number, address and email. By default, this information will be public in domain lookup databases. However, for a small additional cost, registrars offer something “private registration,” which hides this information. Google Domains (our favorite) is one of few to offer free private registration. This service is ideal for preventing spam in your inbox.
A few last tips
A custom domain is an important step in branding a business. After deciding on a company name, read reviews and research costs to find the best registrar for your needs. When you are ready to build your website, again do research to find the best host. Many domain registrar companies also offer hosting services, though you do not have to use the same company for both services.
Try to keep your domain name short and memorable. Also, be unique—it will make it easier for customers to find you in search engines. And lastly, make sure no one else has trademarked your business name. A good place to start begin your search is the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, though this should not be the only place you look.