Domain Name Registration: Some Quick Steps and Tips

December 1, 2008 by  Filed under: other 
 

The domain name registration process is not too difficult, but it can take some time (usually 24-72 hours) before your domain name “propagates” throughout the internet. I find that it normally takes less than 20 hours, so keep that time in mind.

“Propagation” is simply the fact that it takes a while for your site to become visible on the internet due to a process called DNS (domain name server) transfer and various databases that have to be updated.

Although the domain name registration process is fairly easy, there are a few things that you should be aware of:

Steps to follow before registering your domain name:

1. Don’t just register any domain name that you like or that sounds good to you, except if your company name is well known. Do a bit of keyword research and see if you can incorporate your main keyword into the domain name.

2. Get your hosting account first, since you’ll need the DNS information during the domain name registration process. If you register the domain name first, the DNS information will point to your registrar’s servers until you transfer it.

3. Don’t just go for the cheapest registrar. Remember, you normally get what you pay for… however, you shouldn’t have to pay more than $10 a year for a domain name.

Steps and tips to follow during the domain name registration process:

1. Choose your favorite registrar and register with them to get yourself a username and password. Each domain name registrar will have their own policies and procedures, so make sure that you read everything carefully before you register your domain name. You’ll also learn a lot by doing that.

2. Log into your account and type in your domain name to check if it’s available.

3. Always register the .com version of a domain name wherever possible. If the .com extension of a domain name is not available, then register a .net or .org extension. However, try your best to register a .com domain by adding words like 2u, 4u at the back or words such as first, best or anything else that will fit in front.

You can also use domain name spinner software to help you choose your domain name.

4. Make sure that you register your domain name for at least 5-10 years. Wow! I’ll probably get a lot of flak for this, but it helps to establish credibility with the search engines. Just don’t ask me where I got this information from, since it’s extremely valuable.

I normally register my domain names for 5 years, but 10 is better. I know that it’s a bit expensive, but if you make a great site, you’ll easily recover your investment.

5. Don’t register domain names with dashes. There’s too many of them around already and it looks silly (uhm… just my personal opinion). The main advantage however is that domain names without dashes also establishes credibility with the search engines. Avoid dashes at all costs.

6. Try and make your domain name as short as possible or at least something that can easily be remembered. After you have registered your domain name, make sure that the registrar lock function is activated otherwise someone else might be able to transfer your domain name without your permission.

This is extremely important, since you don’t want to loose your domain name… and your shirt when someone else steals it from you.

7. Once the domain name registration process is complete, you should transfer your DNS information to your host. The sooner the better. When you sign up with your host, they’ll normally send you the DNS info along with your activation email or you can go to their forums (if they have one) and have a look around.

If all else fails, use their technical support. Most registrars require two DNS addresses and it looks something like this: ns1.cowboy-server.com, ns2.cowboy-server.com

While this is by no means a comprehensive guide to the domain name registration process, it’s more or less what you should do and be aware of.

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