After you (or your Web designer) have a few Web pages set up, you might start thinking about what you’ll do with them. Your site needs an identity, and on the Internet, the name of your site is called its "domain." For example, our company Logical Expressions, Inc. has a domain name of www.logicalexpressions.com. Ideally, you’d get a domain name that’s as close to your company name or the topic of your site as possible.
A Web address like www.yourdomain.com must be purchased through a company called a domain registrar. In the past, this was an expensive proposition, mostly because there was only one registrar. Now it’s easier and less expensive than it was in years past. We use Go Daddy (http://www.godaddy.com) to register our domain names, although there are many others to choose from, such as www.namecheap.com. We like GoDaddy because their customer service is very good and it costs about $8.00 to register a name for a year. When it comes to registrars, two companies you want to avoid are Network Solutions (www.networksolutions.com) and Register.com (www.register.com). Network Solutions is expensive and their customer service is awful. Register.com uses somewhat sleazy tactics to try and trick people into switching to their service. In both cases, I just say "no."
If you go to a registrar like GoDaddy, it helps to have already made a list of names you’re considering. Then you can just type in the name you want. The site will tell you if it’s taken and often offer alternative names along with the .com suffix, such as .net or .org.
If the name you want is available, then you can just follow the steps to register it. Be sure to use a reliable, working e-mail address for the contact because they use e-mail to confirm the purchase. Unfortunately, it’s getting more and more difficult to find memorable domain names that are easy to spell, so it may take a few tries to find a domain that isn’t taken and that you also actually like. You may be putting the name on business cards or other promotional materials, so pick a name you can live with for a while.
When you register a domain with Go Daddy, you get a "parked page" which is just a temporary page that says you own the domain. To put up a site, you need to find a hosting company and pay a separate monthly fee for them to host your site. Then you can put up your pages in the space the host provides and give the registrar the new information about your site. I discuss those issues in the next article.