What TLD (top-level-domain) should you choose for your website? Should you use .COM, .BIZ, .US, .ORG, .NET?
If you’ve built a brand and people already know who you are, your most obvious choice for your domain name would be to register your brand name. Chances are high that name will not be available but if it is, you’re good to go. If you’re doing business in the USA, it’s pretty much expected for you to have a “.COM” top-level-domain. If someone has already registered the .COM version, I strongly suggest that you find another domain name and not settle for something like a .ORG or .BIZ. If you do that, visitors looking for you will most likely land on the website for your competition.
While you’re registering your domain name, grab other versions of it too. If you’re a business in the USA and your plans include selling internationally, register the .US version along with the .COM. Also register the .MOBI version. With the speed at which people are accessing the Internet via mobile devices, it’s a good investment.
If you suspect that visitors may misspell the name that you’re registering, register the common misspellings too. Domain names are relatively inexpensive. So, I usually register variations of my name as well. When you consider the lost opportunity of not owning a domain name, it doesn’t make sense to me to not register them.
A small investment in multiple domain names may have considerable marketing value to your business in the future. The last thing you want to happen is to build your business around a domain name only to find out that a competitor has reserved a similar name and they’re getting website visitors that were looking for you.
What are you going to do with all of those extra domain names? Simple – just point them to your website. Visitors who key in one of your other domain names will be directed to your site. If for some reason you want your visitor to think they’re actually on an alternate domain name, that’s easy to do too – through masking. The best choice is to use a 301 redirect. This is the most efficient and search engine friendly method for your website.
Most domain registrars will remind you when your name is expiring. Some registrars have an auto-renew option. (Just remember to keep your credit card and contact info updated.) Others have the option of paying for a private registration.
Personally, I use GoDaddy for registering and managing my domains. Their pricing is competitive and I find their control panel relatively easy to use. I no longer use GoDaddy to host my websites (including this blog) but that’s because my websites are fairly complex and rely on SQL databases. I think GoDaddy is perfectly fine as a shared-hosting solution for simple sites without a lot of traffic (and without Joomla) … but I digress. Hosting & Joomla will be subjects of future posts. For now, good luck getting the domain name of your dreams.