Domain Registration

Simply put – your domain name is one of the most important pieces of your online presence that you can control.  If you don’t have control, or aren’t sure if you have control or not – please read this section to learn more about your domain, and how it relates to your business ventures online.



Your domain name is like your tags on your car, in that you must pay for the ‘rights’ to use them per year.  You never truly ‘own’ your tags/license plate – as it is the property of the state in which you live.  You can register the tags for multiple years, and the same goes for your domain name.  But don’t go sending a check to the department of licensing for your domain name – as that would be taking this analogy too far!   As a matter of fact, don’t ever send a paper check to a ‘domain registrar’.  If you aren’t on their own website – paying with a secure connection, don’t trust them.  Call the domain registrar directly on the phone if you must – but don’t pay for a domain or domain extension without going to your registrar’s website, or talking to a representative over the phone.


Domain Registrars

In the online world, the procurement of domain names is handled by a ‘registrar’ company, who will help the process of purchasing the rights to any domain name.  They check if a domain is already registered – and if the domain you want is available, will file the proper paperwork to hold the domain in your name for a designated amount of time.

Companies that will handle your domain registration have a variety of services available, many of which we’ll cover in other chapters of this book – but for building your online presence, we really want to focus on simply purchasing the domain name itself.


Domain registration companies:

  • GoDaddy (
  • 1&1 (
  • BlueHost (
  • Namecheap (
  • com (
  • Gandi (


Each provider has different prices – for different periods of time.  There are some that will offer deep discounts to first time purchasers, but will raise pricing when you go to resign/continue registration of your domain the next year.  Average price for a ‘.com’ domain name shouldn’t be above $20/year, so if your registrar is charging more – there could be an obvious reason…


Domain Auctions

Since the dawn of the internet, there have been ‘poachers’ who purchase dirt-cheap domain names, knowing that someday – somewhere, there is a person who will want a domain – and will be willing to spend a little more money to gain the ‘rights’ to use it.  To go back to my ‘vehicle tags’ analogy, it’s like acquiring ‘vanity plates’ – in that there are quite a few people who might want “2FAST4U” – so someone buys up the rights quickly, and places the ‘rights’ to that domain back online for a raised price.  When the domain owner registers the domain initially, they send a message back to the registrar stating that they would like to auction the domain – and for the time being, will put a ‘this domain is being auctioned’ webpage in place.  Anyone who is interested in purchasing the rights to the domain must contact the registrar to organize the transaction.  If you find a domain that has an outrageous price tag – this is most likely the reason, but don’t be discouraged…  just search for something similar that you can use for your business.


Domain Name Ideas / Research

When researching a name to purchase – there aren’t going to be very many ‘.com’ names remaining that are short enough to explain to someone on the phone without some sort of misspelling or intentional (some people call it clever) misspelling.  I don’t agree with intentional misspelling, as it can confuse your potential customer – and if they accidentally spell the name ‘correctly’, they are going to be visiting another website, possibly owned by a direct competitor.  The value of a ‘.com’ is gained in search engine results (instant boost over a ‘.net’ or ‘.biz’ address), in simplicity for your customers – but there is another value that isn’t seen often – in that you don’t need to use your full address all the time!

Local & Geographic Location

When you design your website – make sure to include your address and phone number at the top of each page, and if possible/readable – add it to some of the page headers.

Don’t hesitate letting your website visitors know where you are located, or what town you provide services.  If you look at your competitor’s website – you might find that it’s not as silly as it sounds, and we’re starting to get those details in on many websites.  Make it a part of your tagline, like “Cleveland Ohio’s Best Drywall” or “Hillsboro Oregon’s Finest Coffee” – and you’ll start to see the benefit in search engine results.  It also makes for a nice ‘local-feeling’ website, when you have a sense of pride in your town.

If your company doesn’t want to have a physical address listed online (say you run your business out of your garage or kitchen table) – it’s just as vital (more so, in fact) to have local information showing on your website.  Google will look at your website and compare it to other information found online – and if the information doesn’t add up – you might find yourself falling in search engine results.

For companies with multiple locations, make sure to add separate pages on your website for your top services, so that those pages can be found in search engines.  Title the pages with your city/region that you’d like to be found in – and make sure to add text on the page dedicated to that location.  For example, if your company handles chimney cleaning in Omaha, Nebraska – you could title the page “Omaha Nebraska – Chimney Cleaners”, and place the location in the content of the page – including other references to the location, such as landmarks or distance to/from schools or other points of interest.

Don’t want your business address shown?

Over the years, I’ve found that there are many companies that don’t want their location listed for a much different reason – either they are a ‘food truck’, delivering a product in different locations every day (sometimes several places per day) – or they have run across thieves who target businesses with valuable materials that need to be stored outside.

If you are one of these businesses, it might be a good idea to create a business ‘service area’ that covers all the places that you do business, and make sure the option for “Do not show my business address on my Maps listing” is checked.

Why D.I.Y? (The Dentist Analogy)

If you are thinking about designing your own website, or even having someone from your family design it for you – please take a minute and read this analogy – and truly think about what you are about to do!

Dentist – Option 1:  You think you have the experience, pain-tolerance, and time necessary to handle your own dental work.  The first step – is to try and numb the pain, grab a pair of pliers/drill – and start working.  You can imagine how this option turns out in the long run. You end up having to hire a professional to fix everything you tried to accomplish.

Dentist – Option 2: Hiring someone who really desires to be a dentist, but doesn’t want to take the leap into dental school – as they aren’t really 100% sure they want to be a dentist full-time.  This outcome brings you a solution, but not the best solution for your needs.  The next time you go to request help, they might not be there – especially in the middle of a holiday weekend when a tooth gets chipped and you need it repaired.  Use this option carefully, as some small businesses might not be available next year…  or the year after that.  Catalog any work done on the project including reports, credentials (username/passwords), conversations, timelines, updates, and make sure that you can get that information delivered to the next ‘dentist’.  Kind of like your dental record, this is valuable information that needs to be captured and stored in a safe place.

Dentist – Option 3: Hire a good dentist.  Although this sounds easy, it’s like the web design conundrum – How do you find a good dentist?  Do some research online, read reviews, try them out for a small service – and expand on the findings.  Talk to your friends or business colleagues, and if still have doubts – ask their customers.  Talk to other companies in their portfolio. There shouldn’t be any mystery if you talk to someone who had worked with them before.  If you like the dentist, they are professional, and the price/level of service are both acceptable – you shouldn’t ever have to search again.  The warning signs are also like a dentist – in that you would expect to have a clean presentation, organized tools, punctual schedule, quality services, and a clinical approach to documentation.  Although the price is higher than a DIY project, you will find comfort in dealing with a true professional company…  or dentist.

The purpose of this analogy should be fairly clear – you shouldn’t skimp on the price, as it’s directly tied to the professionalism, experience, and accountability of your provider.  Am I right?