The second you decide on a name for your business, you should purchase the corresponding domain name for your website. Domains are inexpensive, easy to register 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, yourbusinessname.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 name is not the same as the website
If comparing your domain to your home address, then your website is the actual “home” that your content lives 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 for branding your business. It is a badge of professionalism and says that you are serious. When conducting business, the web address gordonmediaco.com carries much more weight than gordonmediaco.freewebsitemaker.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
Purchasing a domain through a registrar is a straightforward process. A few popular registrars include Google Domains, GoDaddy, Name Cheap 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. The 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 databases. However, usually for a small additional cost, registrars offer private registration, which hides this information. Google Domains (my 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 essential 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 finally ready to build your website, again 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. Lastly, make sure no one else has trademarked your business name. An excellent place to begin your search is with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, though this should not be the only place you look.