Sunday, October 17, 2004

Domain Name Registration

By: James A. Warholic

What is in a domain name and how do you go about registering one for your B2B or B2C business?

It is as simple as 123 & does not take an IT services department to do it.

It may seem like a daunting task at first with all the registrars and hosting companies that can blackmail and hold you hostage into staying with them with unethical behavior. Careful considerations must also be given to B2B and B2C security when choosing a company to host a web site. Confidential info will be going through the mail servers and it is wise to consider the implications of using an ethical service provider.

First off, take a look at the suffixes and what they mean, along with some history of domain names.

For example the main ones issued are: .com, .net, .org = organization with others being .info = information, .gov = government, .edu = education, .mil = military. There are even .biz = business, .ws = website, .pro = professional (attorneys, accounts, physicians), .name = individuals, .museum = museums, and others.

Additionally there is a whole slew of country domains suffixes.
.us = United States
.uk = United Kingdom
.au = Australia

Most of the domain names can be registered by individuals (except for some country, military, and government names). There are some guidelines for registration.

The best way to go about registration is to do it yourself. If you have an employee of your company do it make sure you understand and have access to the adminstrative area. Registration can easily be accomplished by going to a registrar and selecting the domain of your choice with the preferred suffix. I have found this to be a very simple process and at a very economical rate (less than $10.00/year). Select a registrar that gives you control to a control panel which allows you to point the domain name server (DNS) to the hosting company of your choice. In essence the DNS is a place which points to where the URL is being hosted.

There are all types of suggestions for picking the actual name, from selecting the company name or initials or picking one related to your industry. An example of this might be if one is looking to find law information or related legal professional advice on the web then it would be good to consider using legal professional in the URL. One point to consider is the URL will be tied to an email address. If is long, then the email address will also be long. This can make it very difficult for customers to contact you if you are giving them your e-mail address or the website URL over the phone.

A number of the companies for registration even have a suggestion area for other domains to the ones that are already taken. In addition, there are whois look ups where one can view the information about various domains along with additional suggested variations. If additional names are to be considered for your company, I would suggest registering the names and keep them parked. Reasons for registering other domains are to keep them from competitors or unscrupulous companies that can try to scarf off your name with similar sounding names.

Once the domain is selected and purchased it is said to be parked. That is, it is in a type of holding pattern until an actual website hosting company is selected. Once a hosting company is selected then you can go to the control panel of the registrar and point it to the hosting network. It can take 48 to 72 hours for the URL to actually be found and propagated to the hosted network. It takes time for the servers to all match up on the world wide web.

Some registrars provide a hosting service, but do not get locked into a service that says you can only host that domain name with them. A number of these types of services charge you 30 dollars or more per year, just for the domain registration and then on top of this they charge you an arm and a leg for monthly hosting. If you try to go to another hosting company they try to keep you locked into their domain registration and it makes if very difficult to extract your name to another service. If they hold you hostage, it can keep your web site off-line for a significant period of time. This would not be good for any B2B or B2C business. By keeping the registration and the hosting separate it is very easy to switch in the event of having difficulty with the host service. If this occurs, start up a new account at an ethical host and point the URL to the new service from the control panel. Once the URL has propagated then the former account can be closed. Note: Some hosting companies will offer free setups with the first month as a free enticement.

It is getting much easier to put a website together but it still takes significant time and effort to focus on the information being presented. If it is your desire to put a site together consider getting started with a web blog or weblog. Blogs are coming into the mainstream as it relates to business websites. Even CEO’s of very large companies are using blogs to share company information with the world. By using a blog, one does not have to go and register names, if you use one of the blogging services such as this one.

For help with your Internet marketing strategies contact Professional Web Services.

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