If you’ve planned properly, you’ve got a list of potential domain names that reflect the brand and image you want to portray, will complement and advance your marketing plans and make sense for your business.
You’re in a great place, but there’s still one more step to go. So sit down, open up a browser and get ready to own a little piece of your own branded online real estate.
Step 4: Get Online And Buy
Any registrar will provide the tools you’ll need to research a name and its availability. A registrar is the organization that is authorized to handle your purchase.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is an international, non-profit organization that accredits registrars and governs domain name sales. You can visit the ICANN web site for a complete listing of accredited registrars.
To find out if the domain you want is available, perform a search at the registrar of your choice. No matter where you search, you’ll get the same results. Either a domain name will be available or it won’t. If it’s available, congratulations! Buy your domain and start your online journey.
If it’s unavailable, you can keep searching, or if you’re adamant about buying a particular domain, you can try to contact the owner and make an offer. Perform a WHOIS lookup to see if contact information is listed for the owner.
This will only work if the owner doesn’t use the domain. Would you sell “myfantasticproduct.com” if you’re successfully running a web site and drawing customers to it?
It may also work if the owner bought the domain on speculation, hoping for the day when a business such as yours would desperately want it. If that’s the case, dig deep. That owner is holding onto an investment and isn’t likely to give it up cheaply. If you’re low on marketing budget, stick to Plan B and try for another name instead.
It’s worth noting here that when you buy a domain name, you don’t actually own it. Rather, you own the right to use it for a specified length of time. Buying a domain name is really buying the rights to a particular address on the Internet for the length of your license.
You may choose a one year, ten year or even one hundred year license. It’s a good idea to buy a multiple year license because that reduces the possibility that your term will lapse and you’ll lose the name, and you usually get a multiple year discount.
When you’re ready to make the purchase, be sure to register the domain name to your company and carefully enter contact information for the individuals who will be responsible for managing the account.
Your domain is part of your brand, and should not be registered to your hosting company, or to your web developer. Register the name properly the first time (and remember your account credentials!) It’ll save you headaches down the line if you switch hosting or web companies and suddenly realize you can’t access your own domain.
Choosing a domain name requires a little creativity, some planning, and following the steps set forth by your chosen registrar. Once you have a domain, you’re free to build your online brand and develop a fantastic web site that is a fundamental asset to your business.
Have you ever had an issue with your domain because it wasn’t registered properly to your business? Were you able to successfully resolve it?
Read More In The “Buying A Domain Name” Series
- Step 1: Select A Name That Makes Sense For Your Business
- Step 2: Make It Easy-To-Use, Easy-To-Say, And Easy-To-Remember
- Step 3: Choose The Right Extension: .com, .net, .biz, .org
- Step 4: Get Online And Buy