Your website needs a domain name, e.g. organizedassistant.com, to identify it. Without a domain name, your website address will look something like 18.104.22.1689/~yourname, which is ugly and next to impossible to remember.
To register a domain name, you need to go through a domain registrar such as MyDomain. Domain name registration usually costs $10.00 to $15.00 per year and must be renewed annually.
A domain name which corresponds to your business name will make it easy for people who already know about your business to locate your website. If your ideal domain name is not available, think hard about what else might be effective.
Using hyphens to separate words is one option, but keep in mind that you’ll have to mention those hyphens every time you tell someone your website address.
It’s quite a mouthful to say, “my website is thebestprofessionalorganizingserviceintheworld.com” — and just try and fit it on your business card!
The most common extension is .com, but it’s becoming more and more difficult to secure a good .com domain. Many Canadians use .ca, either because .com with their preferred name was already taken, or to make it clear that they are a Canadian business. Other countries have similar domain extensions, but .us has not caught on nearly as well.
There are over 1000 other options, including a large number of new ones made available in the last couple of years, as shown in this infographic:
Watch out for hosting companies who tempt you with free domain registration when you host with them. One of my clients wanted to move her site to a faster hosting service, but learned that her domain name belonged to her web host, not her! Domain name registration is relatively inexpensive, so don’t cheap out!
In fact, because domain names are so inexpensive, many business owners register several variations to ensure that they’re not available to competitors. For example, I have organizedassistant.com, organizedassistant.ca, organizedassistant.biz and organizedassistant.org, as well as janetbarclay.com. You can also register several options and only renew the one(s) you end up using.
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