Domain names need to be purchased in order to link them to your website. Some assume you can simply use your own company name for your domain; however, all domains must be registered like a trademark. Therefore, before you launch your website, must purchase your domain name. Here’s how to register your domain name so you can link it to your website.

Choose a Registrar

Domain names are secured through a domain name registrar. If you built your own website using a site like Wix or WordPress, they make it easy to search, secure, and pay for your domain. However, you can also use an online domain registrar service to conduct your search, purchase, and register your domain.

Taken Domains

Don’t be surprised to find your preferred domain name already taken. This happens more often than you might think. The good news is domain registrars usually make suggestions for alternate domain names based on your first choice, including variations of the domain name or different extensions besides .com. Consider each option carefully before committing; you want to be certain the domain name makes sense for your business. Some companies opt to buy more than one domain name to keep other businesses from choosing names that are too similar.

Expirations and Renewals

When it comes to domain names, the word “purchase” is a misleading. You own the rights to use the domain name for a certain period of time. Your contract outlines the terms of your ownership, including how much and how long. Contracts vary so be sure you understand what you are purchasing, and remember, once your contract expires, so, too, does your right to use the domain name. You will receive notice from your registrar when your name is coming up for renewal. It’s always a good idea to know when your expiry is pending so you can renew before your domain goes back on the availability list.

Read the Contracts

Some contract details to beware of for your domain purchase include:

  • Domain Revoked: Make sure you understand the reasons a registrar might choose to revoke your right to use your domain. Revocation is usually a result of illegal activity, but it can also include anything they deem unacceptable. For example, if you use your site for spamming, your contract could be revoked. In some cases, the registrar might state they don’t need a reason to revoke your domain name, which means you really don’t own the domain at all. You should definitely avoid these contracts.
  • Right to Make Changes: Another contract clause to watch for is a registrar reserving the right to change the agreement without letting you know. This is another example of a contract to avoid.
  • Cost: Different contracts have different costs. The variation in cost depends on many factors, but it is typically related to demand. A popular generic industry domain name, for example, can force prices into the millions, while a basic name unique to your company can be as cheap as $1 per month.

These are the basic steps for domain purchase using a registrar or website hosting platform.