The Website Owner’s Guide to Registering Domain Names
By Brad Stitgen
One of the first steps in building a website is registering a domain name. Be forewarned, finding an available domain name be difficult. Especially for the highly desirable .com domain names.
In today’s market finding a domain may require creativity, the use of alternate top-level domains (for example: .co, .biz, .net or one of the new generic top-level domains ), or purchasing an already registered domain from someone willing to sell. Once you have found a good name it’s time to register it with one of many domain registrars, before someone else does.
Domain Name Registration
Who Should Register the Domain? In short, I strongly recommend that website owners register’s their own domain name, in their own name. This is a far better option than having it done by the web designer or web design company. Here’s why…
Registering domain names is simple. All that’s required is your name, contact information, and a credit card. It’s no more difficult than signing up for a magazine. Just be aware, that just like a magazine, it’s a yearly fee. If the renewal fees are not paid on time you could lose your domain (and all the hard work involved in finding an available domain) Once someone else registers it may not be possible to get back.
Losing a domain can a very bad thing to happen to a business. This is because once you start using a domain it can become a very valuable asset. Domain names are commonly printed on advertising materials, company vehicles, and business documents. Having to change domain names can quickly get expensive.
Everything with the old domain will need to be updated to the new name. In addition to updating the name, any SEO rankings associated with the old domain will go to the new owner.
In short, a missed $15 renewal payment is something that should be avoided at all costs. By registering the domain yourself, and keeping your contact info current, you’ll be notified when payment is due which in turn allows you to be sure that the domain registration fee is paid and up to date.
Given how much your domain will likely be worth to you or your business it’s risky to let someone else be in control of your domain. If your domain is registered in the name of your web designer/developer and they don’t for any reason renew it, you can lose your domain. Businesses, no matter what the size, can go out of business, be bought out, etc. Unscrupulous vendors could use the leverage of having control of your domain to make it difficult (or costly) to leave them. Having your own domain registration eliminates these types of problems.
From time to time the Domain Registrar will be contacting the domain owner to see if the registration name and address listed for the domain is correct. This is always best handled by the domain owner. It can also save a lot of unnecessary back and forth emails.
Transferring domain names from one registrar to another, while not difficult, is time-consuming. It requires a lot of back and forth with emails, EPP codes, and the like. If you have the domain in your own name you can avoid all of this. It should also be noted that should you decide to change your web hosting it’s just a few simple changes that need to be made to your domain registration settings. You don’t need to get a new domain name registrar to move to a new web hosting provider. In fact, I generally recommend keeping web hosting and domain hosting with separate vendors. If you need help with any of this just ask your web designer/developer for assistance.
As a web designer/developer I always recommend that my clients secure their own domain name registration. I’m always more than happy to recommend the domain registrar that I use and answer any questions they may have. Honestly, the process of registering a domain name is pretty simple and it’s well worth the modest amount of effort required to do it yourself.