Web domain names are addresses on the Internet. Your domain name must be unique so your email reaches you and customers can get to your website. Domain Name System (DNS), was created to ensure that every device connected to the internet has its own address. The address is actually a set of numbers like 22.214.171.124, which is called the Internet Protocol (IP) address. Numbers are difficult to remember, DNS allows you to assign a web domain name, such as yourmarketingpal.com, to the IP address.
Top-Level Domain (TLD)
Every web domain name is composed of two parts: a TLD (top-level domain) and a second-level domain. In the web domain name google.com, the .com part is the top-level domain, and the word google is the second-level domain. There are an almost infinite number of second-level domains, but there are a very limited number of generic TLDs, some of the most common are: .com, .org, .biz, .net, .gov
For most small businesses, the .com TLD remains almost a necessity, and most commonly used.
The second-level domain is what most people think of as their company’s domain name – it’s the yourmarketingpal in yourmarketingpal.com. The second-level domain is how your company will be known and remembered: this is a important extension of your brand. You can create any second-level domain name that you want, as long as no one else is already using it.
Be aware of trademarks: Under U.S. law, domain names are intellectual property. If your domain name includes someone else’s registered trademark, you can be held liable for damages in civil court. Before finalizing your domain name, it’s a good idea to go to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (www.uspto.gov) to perform a free trademark search.
The actual process of registering a domain is pretty simple, I recommend you choose a hosting company and register your domain there, it’s one less service and a lot otimes they offer first year free, about $15/yr after that. So after you have you hosting service, you indicate the domain name/s you want, and they should show fees. You do not have to register your domain name with the company that hosts your website. You can register your domain name with GoDaddy (for instance) and tell them to forward visitors to the company hosting your site. If you register multiple domain names, you can forward all of them to the same website. You could point yourmarketingpal.biz and yourmarketingpal.us to your actual website at yourmarketingpal.com.
Pointing your domain name is easy. Simply go to the website of the company you registered your domain with, and select their DNS management tool (if you used a hosting company, go to their site and manage your DNS). Most companies point the domain to the IP address if you buy the domain and hosting together. When editing DNS records, be patient. The changes you make can take anywhere from couple hours to several days to take effect.
Once you have a domain, you are ready to build your website and get your business online.