Register a Domain Name
A site’s domain serves as both its address and, in most cases, its primary identity. Having your own domain name is not absolutely necessary but it certainly looks good and can drive a lot of traffic to your site.
Domain names can not be bought outright, but are rather registered for set periods of time, from 1 to 10 years. Practically, there aren’t many differences between registration and ownership, as the registration can be renewed as often as you’d like and you enjoy full rights to the domain during the registration period.
The period of time you register a domain for is one of the factors that the search engines take into account when ranking your site, albeit a small one. Why? Our take is that they consider a longer registration period a mark of seriousness because it requires a larger investment.
So where should you register your domain? Many hosting packages come with a free domain, so if you’re in the market for hosting, there’s no need to go to any registrars.
If it doesn’t work to get it as part of a hosting package, our favorite is Moniker. They’re a no-nonsense registrar with good prices. If you’d rather pay a little more to see pictures of scantily clad female athletes, there’s no beating Go Daddy.
Ideally, you’d like to get your best keyword as the domain with a .com extension. However, unless you’re in a pretty obscure business, you’re probably about 15 years too late for that strategy.
So what domain should you register?
That partially depends on your business model. If you expect your traffic to come from the search engines and you’re not expecting a lot of return visits, then it’s good to have your keywords in your domain even if you have to have dashes between the words and use .net instead of .com. If you expect a lot of return visitors, you’ll want something memorable that you can brand, you’ll want a .com, and you’ll want to avoid dashes, even if this means you won’t have a keyword rich domain.