Running a business is a two-fold activity. Not only do you have to hustle and grow your company from the ground up, you also need to build a powerful digital identity so today’s customers can get to know and trust you on their own terms. A unique domain is the cornerstone of any online empire. This post gives you a step-by-step guide on how to get a domain.
Check for your domain now
But what’s a domain?
In simple words, people use a domain to find you on the internet. Take Flipkart.com, for example. Here, flipkart is the domain name and .com is the extension.
Let’s say you want to go on Flipkart. You type Flipkart in your browser’s search bar and see this:
How about Incredible India?
In both examples, ‘Flipkart’ and ‘IncredibleIndia’ are the domain names, with .com and .org as the extensions. Meaning, you must choose a domain name as well as an extension that makes sense for your business (more on this later in the post).
Why is a domain crucial for your business?
If you wish to promote your business beyond your small circle of friends and associates, you’ll need a website. And for that, you’ll need a domain name. With a custom domain:
- You can establish your brand and enjoy more business opportunities with a website.
- You can prove you’re trustworthy to your customers. A branded email ID such as firstname.lastname@example.org is way more legit than DelhiGuy693@gmail.com.
- You can grow and promote your business with a dynamic online identity.
Once registered, no one else can use your domain name for any purpose.
How to choose a domain name
While millions of domains are taken, with the majority of them using a .com extension, you can still hunt for the perfect name. As long as you use the following steps (and don’t get too quirky).
You might already have a name in mind. If not, you can find words/combinations that are catchy and memorable using the following tools.
Don’t stop until you find a few names that feel and sound right, even when you say them aloud. Remember that people who like your business will be saying it to their friends and neighbors.
Following are a few tips on choosing the right domain name.
1. Keep it simple
KISS (keep it simple, silly) should be your motto. You should select known words and avoid numbers or hyphens. Your domain must be easy-to-remember and type, so use 25 characters or fewer. The more letters to type, the higher the chance for people to misspell it.
2. Think like your customers
Try to guess the words your customers will type into Google when searching for your products or services. These are called keywords. Including them in your domain — as in MumbaiCleaners.in, for example — could improve your search rankings, which should bring you more customers. Google’s keyword tool is a good means of finding keywords.
3. Choose the right extension
As mentioned earlier, you’ll need to make a decision about what goes on both sides of the dot. While many businesses insist on .com because it’s the world’s most recognized domain extension, it’s not your only option. Here’s the breakdown of other popular extensions:
- .in: This is India’s country-code domain and indicates you’re located in India.
- .com.in: Widely used by Indian companies and commercial enterprises that trade within India.
- .net: Favored by tech companies, ISPs and others.
- .info: Good for websites that share public health, research or other information.
- .org: Popular among non-commercial or nonprofit organizations.
- .biz: Another good option for commercial and/or business entities.
This isn’t an exhaustive list, as more specialised extensions are springing up every day. Check them out here.
Which one is right for you?
Let’s say, you want to expand your business in India alone. In this case, .com.in or .in would be the smart choice. This way Google knows you offer country-specific content on your site.
On the other hand, if you’d like to scale your brand globally, .com might be preferable. Given the undisputed popularity of this extension, this would be a great choice for any business.
4. Make sure it’s legal
Before you moonwalk to the checkout with your new domain, you’ll want to be sure:
- The domain doesn’t infringe on any trademarks. If you register a domain name that matches a registered trademark, you could be in for legal headaches.
- The name isn’t a modified version of a well-known brand (for the reasons mentioned above).
- It doesn’t contain offensive or illegal words, even in different languages.
Once you register a domain name, it’s yours for the duration of the registration period. You’ll want to be absolutely sure you’ve got it right before you click.
How to register a domain with GoDaddy
Start by going to in.godaddy.com and typing in a few domain names you have in mind. We chose YourNextBestInvestment for this post.
Unless you specify a different extension, GoDaddy uses the .com extension by default.
As you can see, YourNextBestInvestment.com is available. But in case your choice isn’t available, GoDaddy will give alternatives. You also have the option of buying .com and .in together, if you plan to launch your business in both local and global landscapes.
Sometimes, businesses also buy related domains with other extensions to stop competitors from stealing their customer base with a look-alike website.
Once you’ve made your choice (after double-checking the spelling, extension, etc.), you’ll be taken to the value-add page. Here, you can make your registration information private. This hides your contact information, keeping it out of the public WhoIs database and saving you from internet trolls and unsolicited emails.
While filling out your information, take care that it’s correct. The governing body for domain names, known as The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), could cancel your domain if you provide invalid data.
After you verify your personal and order information, click Checkout. Within a few minutes, you’ll receive the GoDaddy order confirmation with your customer number.
Congratulations! You’re officially the owner of a brand new domain and can now build your website.
What if the domain you want is taken?
If your domain isn’t available and you really want it, you still have options.
Ask the owner to sell it
You can reach out to the owner via the WhoIs database, the global domain ownership database that lists every domain name on earth. Just type the domain name into the box and you might be able to learn who owns it and how to contact them.
Check the domain auction houses
Many people don’t know this, but domains whose registrations have been allowed to lapse can often be bought at auction. To improve your chances of getting a high-value name, use a service like GoDaddy’s Domain Backorder.
If neither of these work, you might have to go back to the drawing board.
And that’s how to get a domain
In this post, we’ve defined what domains are, why it’s crucial for every business to have one, and how to choose one that will help your business be successful. We’ve even walked you through the registration process. As you can see, it’s not difficult. With patience and just a little time, you will find a domain name that will serve your business for many years to come.
Editor’s note: Once you have your name sorted, put your business online in less than 5 minutes with Online Starter Bundle.