A domain name (e.g., yourbusiness.com) is your website’s “address” on the Internet. Without it, there is no easy way to navigate to your website. Sometimes compared to an international phone number, the domain name system (DNS) is designed to give every Internet website a memorable address.
How you Name a Boat, is How it Will Sail
Most often, the domain name is your company name, but actually, it can be any combination of characters (with some restrictions in place). Most American websites use three-letter, top-level domains (TLD), ending with “.com” for instance. Other countries have their own top-level domains (such as “co.uk” in UK or “co.ca” in Canada), but “.com” has the largest presence around the world .
Why Your Domain Name Should be .com
If you register a new domain name, register it as “.com.” As mentioned above, online users are accustomed to instinctively adding “.com.” following business or product names in order to access the company’s website. You may get additional domain names (as many as you want) for your website, if necessary or desired. Businesses often get additional domain names for their other trademarks, products, services, common misspellings, or other top-level domains such as “.biz”, “.net”, “.info” and many others . Additional domains can point to the main website or parts of that website.
Do I Own My Domain Name?
You do not own the domain name. You lease it from a Registrar. A Registrar is an organization that has authority to issue and assign the domain name (again, parallel to phone companies and phone numbers).
Risks of Forgetting to Renew Your Domain Name
Just like a phone number, the domain name is a critical component of your website. It needs to be registered and renewed on a regular basis. If you forget to renew the domain name, it can be disabled, which bars user access and receipt of your e-mail, and even worse—another person or company can take over your domain name if they see it available. Most domain names renew annually, but you have the option of paying for a block of years (five, ten or more). I strongly recommend the longer-term payment, because domain name registration is relatively inexpensive. Many companies have lost their domains or had to fight to get them back, simply because they forgot to renew it on time. Keep a file with the Registrar name, contact information and the date and method of renewal, to make it easy to renew your domain name registration when the time comes. If you do not have Registrar information, you can verify this information through WHOIS lookup of your domain name at: (http://www.networksolutions.com/whois/) or ask your web developer/hosting company for assistance.