Find your Domain: Tips for Registering a Web Address

If you’re setting up a website for the first time, you might be a bit baffled by the abundance of choices out there when it comes to ways to register your first domain.

I’m going to give you a few tips on how to find a registrar, how to safely search for a domain name, and what to do once you have one.

But first, some terminology to help you out here. A domain is the full name your website uses. A host name is the part that exists between the “http://www”, and the “.com” (or other top-level domain). A registrar is a company that will sell you a domain name, combining a host name with a top-level domain - for example, blackpug.ca. They often provide hosting packages as well, but you don’t necessarily have to get both your domain and your hosting package in the same place.

What you need to know is, you’re buying a name that has to be a unique combination of the part before the period, and the part afterwards. If your company’s name is Calgary’s Best Meatballs, you might want the domain name cbm.com. More than likely, it’s already taken. But maybe cbm.ca might be available. The unique combination that also fits your business can be hard to find. So, what’s the first step?

You need to find a registrar, or someone willing to register a domain name for you. If you hire us, we take care of registering a domain for you. If you’re doing this on your own, I would recommend NamesPro. I’ve used them since 2007, and their customer service is top-notch. Plus, they’re Canadian.

There are plenty of other options out there, and most of you are probably familiar with Go Daddy. They’re one of the biggest fish in the registrar sea, and they offer competitive prices.

But one word of caution when it comes to searching for your domain, no matter who you use: don’t sleep on it.

There are certain registrars that I won’t name who track when users go to their sites to research domain names. If you find that cbm.ca is available, and you don’t buy it during that same visit, you may come back the next day to find that the domain is gone, swept up by a mysterious domain reseller, who will be quite willing to sell you the name - for a premium, of course.

So, don’t start searching for possible domain names until you are ready to pounce. Be signed up for an account with the registrar of your choice, and be ready to buy it on the spot. But make sure that you carefully check the spelling of the domain before you hit “buy”. If your fingers slip, and you buy cbn.ca instead, there’s usually no refund policy.

I always register just a single year at a time for my domains, so that I can review it every year to make sure it’s performing the way I want, and ditch any domains that I no longer use. You can buy for longer periods if that fits you better. Just make sure to keep your contact details up to date, so that the registrar can remind you when your domains come due again.

Domains that aren’t renewed are, again, often picked up by resellers, hoping for a quick and easy profit from a regretful and forgetful company. Don’t ignore the reminders, and make sure you check every few months to make sure nothing slipped below the radar.

You can have multiple domains pointing to a single site. Some audiences will respond better to different addresses, so don’t be afraid to experiment. Domains usually cost around $10-15 each per year, so you can play with the domains without breaking the bank.

Also, sometimes the more original top-level domains will work for your business. It doesn’t have to all be dot-com and dot-ca. There’s everything from dot-accountant to dot-zone. Maybe our meatball friends could use meatball.eat?

There’s a lot to know about domains, but Black Pug Solutions is always happy to help. Whether it’s your first website ever, or an overhaul of an existing site, we can help you to make sure that your online presence is one spicy meatball! Contact us today to see how we can assist you.