Domain Name Pitfall #1 – Ownership
The next sentence I write for you will be the most important info on this page. DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES LET A THIRD PARTY REGISTER YOUR DOMAIN FOR YOU. Your domain name may not seem valuable now but as time passes it could be worth thousands or more. Ask yourself how much is pepsi.com worth? What if back in 1998 Pepsico had some average Joe register pepsi.com for them. Who owns the name in that situation? Is it Pepsico? No Way! The person who controls it is the person who registers it. Don’t let a third party register your domain for you. It is also very important not to allow the registrar to host your site. If your host crashes, gets hacked, or goes out of business all you have to do is log into the registrar, change a few settings, and your site will be up and running in a few hours.
Finding Alternate Domain Names
To check if your domain name is available visit NameCheap and enter your desired name. A report showing what names are available for each TLD will be returned. I recommend NameCheap because they are fair and honest and their site’s interface is easy to understand. If you find your name in .com or .net, fantastic! If not you have options. One option is to invent an alternate name. Thankfully there are websites that can help.
The sites listed below provide free online tools that create alternate domain names. Check them out.
- LeanDomainSearch – You type in the word you want and the site returns a massive three column list of alternatives that could work. It’s a great brain storming system.
- BustAName – You type in a few words you want and the first column allows you to select synonyms. The system will use those new words to create your new name. Excellent system!
- Name Mesh – Very similar to LeanDomainSearch except that it sorts the columns into categories like SEO, Short, Fun, Mix and others.
- Domize – This is great to use if you looking for a quick search. You type in a few words and the system will hyphenate them and tell you if they are taken. It responds FAST.
- Wordoid – The column on the left is where you enter your word. Then select the word limit. Now click the blue button named “Create Wordoids”. This site creates abstract words.
I think you will be very happy with some of the alternatives that these links provide. I should also tell you that .com .net and .org are not the only choices. ICANN, which is the domain name governing body, has released over 400 new top level domains. This release started in late 2013 and they have been pouring in. This means you could substitute .com with .dance .business. .info. Check out the full list here.
Registration Pitfalls[pullquote]Always register with a real email address and don’t forget to add a renewal reminder on your calendar. Domain Squatters are waiting to snatch up your domain the second it gets released.[/pullquote]So you found the name. Cool! Now its time to lock it in. Go to NameCheap (Stay clear of Godaddy and Network Solutions) and sign up with them. They will ask you for your contact information. Please take note of the following:
- Your email address (not your phone number) will be used as the primary method of communication between you and the registrar. Expiration warnings concerning your domain will be sent to this email address. If you fail to read these messages, your domain will expire and a domain squatter will buy it and offer to sell it back to you for hundreds of dollars. Choose an email address that you will be able to read for a long time. Don’t lose this account. Consider a Gmail account..
- Your personal information will be available to the public through a “Whois” search. This means the phone number and email address you use will be seen publicly. If you’re not comfortable with this exposure, consider paying for Whois protection. It will hide your information. A domain name registrar called NameCheap charges $15 for five years for this service.
- Some folks recommend registering your domain for a single year but I like to register mine for five to ten years. My life is complex enough and I don’t want to worry about it.
- When I register my domain I always place reminders on my calendar a few weeks before it expires. It’s best to have that reminder just in case you lose the email account on file with the register.
I have no affiliation with companies that I endorse on this page. I’m not reselling their services for personal gain. I’m simply speaking from my experience in the industry. My opinion comes from the heart and not from dollar signs.