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Getting Your Web Site Launched

Aug 17, 2007
To get your web site on the Internet, you need a domain name and a hosting company. The following information answers frequently-asked questions about domain name registration and hosting.

Choosing an effective domain name is important to attract potential buyers, increase visibility, convey a professional image, and inspire trust.

What is a domain name?

Having your own domain name is a must for a business web site. Your domain name or web address is a unique name, identifying a specific web site, for example, http://www.yourdomain.com.

You can register your domain name with .com or other extensions, including .net,.org,.info, and .us. Always register the .com name since most people are familiar with it. In addition, consider registering your domain name with.net to prevent competitors or speculators from registering a similar name.

Follow these tips when selecting a domain name

* Choose a descriptive domain name that conveys professionalism and is easy to remember and type.
* Consider a domain name that represents your business name, product name, or indicates your type of business.
* Consider variations of your domain name like making it plural, adding dashes, or underscores.
* Include relevant keywords in your domain name to boost your search-engine ranking.

More tips about domain names

* A domain name can include up to 67 characters, including the .com, .net, .org, .edu, or other extensions.
* Domains cannot contain spaces.
* Domain names are NOT case sensitive, so you can spell your domain in uppercase, lower case, or a combination of both, e.g. http://www.YourDomain.com or http://www.yourdomain.com.
* You can use numbers, letters, and hyphens (dashes) in your domain name, but the web address cannot start or end with a hyphen.
* Special characters such as ! @ # $ % ^ & * ( ) and ? are not permitted in web addresses.
* Avoid confusing characters like 0 (zero), l (one), 2, s, and z to minimize the risk of typos. The number zero (0) can be confused with the letter O, and the number "1" with the letter "l."
* If you register a domain containing hyphens, also register the same name without the hyphens, for example, www.your-domain-name.com and www.yourdomainname.com.

You can check the availability of a domain name at http://www.networksolutions.com
or any of the registrars listed by http://www.internic.com.

Registering a domain name

It's best to choose a hosting company first before registering your domain name. Have the hosting company register or transfer your domain name for you.

You can register your domain name yourself through domain name registration services, known as registrars. Internic provides a list of ICANN-accredited registrars (the organization governing domain names) at http://www.internic.com/regist.html. When submitting a registration or transfer, the registrar will ask for the name of two domain name servers that contain your IP address. Your host will give you that information. Once your domain name has been registered or transferred, it takes approximately 72 hours before it becomes active.

Fees for domain name registration

Each registrar sets its own price for registering domain names. The fees to register a domain name for one year range from $3 to $35 a year. It's a small price to pay to gain your prospects' trust. You can register a domain name for one or several years. At the end of the registration term, you must pay a renewal fee to keep your domain name. If you don't renew, someone else can take your domain name. Some registrars offer free or discounted registration services in connection with other offers, such as web hosting. Make sure they are reliable. Receiving a $10 discount is not worth the delays and hassles you may encounter. Ask your professional web designer for a referral.

Parking a domain name

If you want to reserve a domain name but don't have a hosting company yet, you may have to pay a fee to a hosting company or registration service to hold or "park" the name. Some registrars charge $40 and others offer parking for free. Make sure they are reliable.

Protect your business and product names by registering them as a domain name before someone else does, and renew the registration before it expires.

IMPORTANT TIP: When registering your domain name, make sure you are both the billing contact and administrative contact. If your hosting company lists itself as the billing contact, you won't have much leverage to keep your domain name if you decide to switch hosts.

Keep the Same Email When Changing Hosting

When changing hosting companies, you can keep the same domain name and email address connected to that domain name, e.g. www.webmaster@yourdomain.com. You simply transfer your domain name to a different hosting company.
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