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How to Choose, Register or Transfer a Domain Name
Copyright 2002 Herman Drost



Every professional business should be keeping up with the demands and needs of its customers, if it is to survive. One of the essential tools of any business these days is to have a professional web site. This begins with choosing and registering a domain name that will clearly identify and brand your business online for many years to come, so you need to choose wisely.

How to choose a domain name
1. If you want your web site to have an added advantage in the search engines, think of a domain name that includes keywords visitors would search for in the main search engines.

2. Make a list of all the possible names that would suit your business (i.e. isitebuild.com contains resources for building your own web site or getting one built). Use http://domain.bigbytes.net for researching domain names. BigBytes.Net will generate domain names based on the keywords you enter. If the dotcom name you want is not available, create a longer name that describes your business or use names that include hyphens (i.e. ihost-websites.com)

3. If possible, keep your domain name short so it is easy to spell and easy to remember. Take into account someone may remember the name but forget there is a hyphen in it – you then miss out on those potential customers.

4. If the dotcom name is not available, try the other new abbreviations such as .BIZ .US,.INFO, .TV. These are not as popular as .COM, however you may get closer to the name you want.

How to register a domain name
1. You can get a domain name for $8.90 from http://domain.bigbytes.net. Read carefully what’s on the site as you go through the registration process. It’s easy to inadvertently sign up for other services you don’t need.

2. Register your domain name in your own name, not someone else’s. Sometimes your host may do this for you. This could cause you problems in the future, should you decide to transfer your domain to another hosting company.

3. Renewal - you have had your site on the Web for a year, sales are pouring in when suddenly, your site disappears – it won’t show up anymore! What happened? Well, you forgot to renew your domain name. Hopefully this will never happen to you!

When you sign up for a new domain name, make sure your domain name registrar will send a reminder when your domain name is about to expire.

4. When asked about DNS server (domain name system) or Name Server information, insert your Primary Name Server and Secondary Name Server information – ask your future Web Hosting service for this information, if you don’t have it handy.

What is the DNS system?
It is the computer action of changing domain names into numeric Internet protocol (IP) numbers which enables computers to locate web sites and e-mail.

If you haven’t chosen a Web Host, then park your domain name with your domain name registrar (this is a temporary location to store your domain until you are ready to have it hosted).

How to transfer a domain name.
There may be several reasons why you would want to transfer:

-Renewing Domain Names
There is a good chance that you could save money on domain name renewals by transferring them to a different registrar. Check out the prices from different registrars at NewRegistrars.com.

Before renewing a domain name, make sure you know which registrar the domain name is actually registered with. WhoIsQuery.com is the only WhoIs known that handles the CORE registrars as well as the ICANN ones.

-You parked your domain name and have now found a Web Host to upload your site to.

-You are not happy with the service or are paying too much for your current web host and want to switch to another.

1. If you are transferring your domain name to another web host, download (copy) all files to your computer from your old host. Sometimes files may be stored on your host but not on your computer, so doing this will ensure you downloaded the whole site.

Keep a copy of your files on the old host, while you transfer to another host, so you won't experience any downtime of your web site.

2. Open a new hosting account.

3. Change the DNS (domain name system) or Name Server information on the current domain name to the new hosting company name servers. You can find this information by going to the domain name registrar (the place where you registered your domain name).

Your domain will take some time (24-72 hours) to propagate over the Internet, before it appears on the new hosting company servers.

4. Upload all files to the new host.

5. Amend and test your web site. Check that all files have been uploaded from your computer and that your web site appears exactly as it did before.

6. Cancel the previous hosting account when you are satisfied with the transfer of your domain name to the new host.

A Great Tip for registering several domain names.
Since domain names are so cheap these days (they used to cost $35/year), you can afford to own several domains. Each domain can have its own web site. Most small sites use less than 5MB of hosting space, so you could host several sites for a small price.

What are the benefits of doing this? Linking each of these web sites together and submitting them to the search engines will increase your sites search engine rankings. It will also broaden the places visitors can access your business.

Generating a continuous traffic flow leads to more sales. You have now implemented and solved one of your crucial marketing strategies.
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Herman Drost is a Certified Internet Webmaster (CIW) owner and author of iSiteBuild.com Low Cost Hosting and Site Design

Subscribe to the “Marketing Tips” newsletter for more original articles. subscribe@isitebuild.com
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