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Domain Name Selection and Registration

For those of you who don't know much about this whole "domain name" thing, I'll try to explain as briefly as possible the minimum that you should know to properly select a domain name for your business and then register that name so it will be yours, forever, as long as you pay the registration fee. Don't worry about the cost, it's less than $10 per year.

What is a Domain Name?

Let's first lay down a little ground work. A domain name is a "human" way of finding stuff on the internet rather than using the "computer" way of doing it with a complicated numeric addressing system that works great, but boggles the average human mind. Domain names make the internet usable. Most of you probably know all of this already. Now we need to break down the domain name a little so that you will understand how to create your domain name.

We're not going to get real technical here. As far as you are concerned, the simplest domain name can be broken down into two parts. The first part is usually your name or the name of your business and the second part is ".com" which most websites use. As an example, Google.com or this website ImpressiveWebSites.com. Easy.

Before we get too far, you should probably have a good understanding about that second part of the domain name, the familiar dot com part. This is referred to as the Top Level Domains (TLD) and is the most important part, therefore Top Level, to Mother Internet. You can't just put anything you want here and expect it to work. There are some restrictions.

Now, the original and most-familiar TLDs (created by Al Gore when he invented the internet) are:
,org generally used by organizations such as church's and non-profit organizations
.net generally used by internet providers and such businesses
.gov strictly reserved for government agencies like the lovely IRS and SSA
.edu strictly reserved for educational institutions such as schools and universities
.com which was intended for commercial websites. But, look how that suggestion has been abused! After all, everybody wants a dot com.

There are also the unique two-letter country codes for each country on this planet such as .us for United States, .ca for Canada, .it for Italy and so on. There are some restriction on the use of these TLDs. I personally registered Darge.us and maintain that website just for fun. Hey, I'm in the business.

A few years ago, the internet authorities introduced some new TLDs: .biz for business, which is somewhat popular, .info, .name, but who cares. It's a shame, but these new TLDs came way too late and are just not taken as seriously as the original ones.

Okay, you might ask, "Which TLD is better?" The search engines such as Google and Yahoo don't care. All TLDs are treated the same. People care. The average person has dot com running through their brain and that's what they are looking for when Google delivers search results. So now we have a preference.

Of course, the notoriety of the .coms skyrocketed in the late 1990's when so many of those businesses crashed financially and tons of much money was lost to greed and over-speculation. That was a nightmare.

We will concentrate on the .com because, quite honestly, the average Joe doesn't understand the other TLDs and doesn't care. The .com is what you want. Say to yourself, "dot com", "dot com","dot com".

Selecting a Domain Name

Now that we got the basics out of the way, let's figure out what domain name you want to register. Easy... it's your company name plus the .com part. If you have a somewhat common business name such as "Ajax Tool, Co.", then "ajaxtool.com" may already be registered (which it is BTW) and you will have to come up with something else. Jot down various derivatives of your company name such as "ajaxtoolcompany.com", "ajax-tool.com" and "ajax-tool-co.com. You get the idea. Don't ever use that "My" thing in you name. That would be lame.

Remember that everything on the internet is NOT case sensitive. AjaxTool is the same as ajaxtool. Also, feel free to use numbers or digits, like "919Embroidery.com". The dash, "-", is okay but "&" is not. Other restrictions apply.

Be careful about abbreviating your name or making it too cryptic. Keep it simple and as close to your real name as possible. This part of the domain name is what People see.

Registering a domain name

Here comes the fun part. Remember the TLD lesson from above. If you are a church or organization of some sort, go for the .org and if you are a business go for the .com or less preferred .biz. You can register multiple domain names and have them all point to your single website.

Enter a domain name below to check if it's available. You will be taken to the 1and1 website.

If the domain name that you entered is available, you can register it. Follow the directions on the screen to create an account. You will need a good credit card and valid email address. They will ask you for your name and address and whatever for legal purposes of registration.

When completed, the domain name will belong to you and your credit card will be charged the registration fee. The registration is good for one year at which time 1and1 will automatically charge your card for the next year's registration. It's important to keep your card information current with them. They will send you email notices.

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