The Internet is filled with millions of .com’s, .net’s and .everything else you can think of nowadays. On average people are registering 25 domain names every second around the world and at an average of $10 a name you can’t afford to be throwing money away on a domain that you could lose because of simple and stupid mistakes.
When people locate a domain that they like and decide to register that domain many are not thinking of the realities of that ownership, they are dreaming of that domain name soon becoming the next Google, Twitter, Facebook or Ebay and all of potential money that name will soon bring to them. The problem comes in when the initial high wears off and the reality of the ownership of that domain sinks in.
When you decide to jump into the .com world you will want to have a few facts straight first before you have a costly blunder on your hands. When I decide to register a domain name for the first time I go through my checklist and make sure that if the domain I am about to purchase becomes a success I will hold on to it for a long time. And if it is a lead weight I don’t want to have to keep paying for it for years to come.
1. ASSESS THE POTENTIAL OF THE DOMAIN
The first thing that I do is assess the potential value of the domain. For example if the domain is for a product that I am creating such as a book or video series I want to make sure that I hold on to that name for a few years. So what I will do is try to register the domain for at least 5 years. Now this can be fairly costly at $10.00 a year plus additional fees. So registering this domain can cost me a $50 – $100 investment right off the bat. I can lower that five year purchase to two years but with my busy schedule and amount of domains I own keeping track of it may become bothersome, so I need to make sure that this will be a worth wile investment. If the domain is going to be for a test in the market I will look for a coupon for a registrar to get the domain for $0.99 and if it is viable I will invest in extending the ownership of the domain.
2. SHOP AROUND FOR THE BEST DEAL
The next thing I will do is shop around for registrars. A registrar is the company that brokers the domains. Godaddy.com and Name.com are just a few that I have used. When registering your domain you will want to make sure that you maintain 100% ownership. You will never want to get a FREE domain as your primary domain.
3. FREE DOMAINS ARE THROW AWAYS OR TEST DOMAINS
Free domains are domains that most hosting companies will throw at you as an incentive to host with them. It is okay to get a free domain with these companies but you never ever want to make it your primary money making domain. The reason for this is that you do not retain ownership and if the hosting company doesn’t work out or if you are getting the domain to sell or flip, it will ultimately be impossible to transfer it to your customer. So make sure that you retain ownership.
4. CHOOSE YOUR NAME WISELY
When choosing a domain name most people struggle with the end of the name. Should they get a .com or a .net. Well this is important but another thing is what comes before the .com. When choosing your domain you will want to refrain from using copyrighted names or trademarks. You will also want to refrain from using other people’s names in your domains as well. I know that Googlesearch.com or EbayAcuctionMan.com sound like cool names and will probably rank high in the search engines but using names like Google, Ebay, Facebook and others will cause some threating emails and phone calls to come your way. You will also want to reframe from using names like GetHP1100EPrinter.com or TacoBellDogFood.com as your domains. These are specific products and infringe on trademarks. Now you will want to use keyword rich domains but make sure that you are not stepping on anyone’s digital toes.
5. KEEP YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION UP TO DATE AND USE YOUR TRUE INFORMATION
When you register your domain you will want to keep your contact information up to date. This is useful for many reasons. The first is if your own website goes down or your webmaster forgot to put your phone number or other correct information on the site a potential customer can do a whois search on your domain and come in contact with you allowing you to fix potential problems. Another reason is so that your registrar can keep your site active. You will have to renew your domain every year or several years depending on how long you originally purchased it for and if you are too busy to renew, you may lose the domain or have it caught up in digital limbo until it gets released again into the digital domain and by then someone else may grab it up right from under you. So keep all your information up to date.
6. WATCH YOU’RE RENEWAL DATES AND KEEP YOUR CREDIT CARD INFO UP TO DATE
This is almost as important as your contact information. You will want to keep your credit card up to date and have enough money on it to pay your renewal fees. You will also want to space your renewal dates far enough apart so that you are not hit with a $500 or more renewal charge on 50 domains you registered in a wild summer afternoon.
7. SET AUTO RENEW TO YOUR DOMAINS
Many companies will have a small check box that says Auto Renew. Make sure that you have this box checked. This will allow the registrar service to automatically charge your card when the domain comes up for renewal. You will also be notified 30 – 90 days before the domain becomes close for renewal. If you find that the domain that you purchased is a dud you may want to uncheck auto renew so you are not hit with a domain that you are not going to use anymore.
8. KEEP YOUR DATA SAFE
Once you purchase that million dollar domain you will want to keep your login information as safe as possible. Identity theft and home invasions are a real problem in today’s world and even though the average thief may not be a computer whiz or hacker, you never know who will get their hands on your computer. So you will never want to save your information where others can get to it. If they do you will want to contact your registrar as soon as possible and change passwords and other vital information like security questions and codes.
9. REFRAME FROM USING YOUR DOMAIN FOR UNLAWFUL PURPOSES
When you get your domain you will want to make sure you are using it correctly. You don’t want to spam people, sell illegal or copyrighted products, materials or services. You don’t want to slander people or do anything that will cause your hosting company or registrar to close out your domain. Make sure that you follow all the rules and regulations set by your registrar and your hosting company and make sure you read any updates that they may have. Failure to do so can have your site locked or blocked until you comply and that can become a costly mistake if your site is popular and making you money.
10. KEEP YOUR DOMAIN ALIVE AND INTERESTING
One of the most important things you will want to do when you get your domain is to make what you put on it interesting and worth visiting. You will want to keep your content fresh. Strive to make your domain a household name. If you don’t make use of your domain and get people to come to your site no matter what protection you put in place to protect it, nothing will matter since no one is coming to see you. So make all your hard work count and make that new addition to the Internet something worth visiting.
Good luck and may your next venture be a success!