In this article we’ll look at the various ways you can achieve an online presence of your own by registering a web address.
The nature of business today means that often the first place people will go to find out about you or your business is the web. If you don’t have your own website, then you could potentially be missing out on new business contacts or customers.
Never before has it been more important to be in control of what your future clients, employers or business partners see when they search for you online, but with all the choices out there – how do you begin?
The Clue’s In The Name
The first step is usually to register a domain name. Put simply, a domain name is the address of your website, for example, www.armshousegroup.co.uk. Sometimes you’ll hear it referred to as a web address or URL, but they all equate to the same thing – the words a person types in to their browser when they wish to visit your website.
As you’ve probably figured out, domain names are unique – no two sites have the same address; it’s kind of like a phone number in that respect. hotchicks.co.uk is not necessarily the same as hotchicks.com – one could be selling fried chicken and the other might be a dating site. Having said that, there’s nothing to stop you registering as many different variations as you like and having them all display the same site – indeed some companies do just that. The main thing to understand is that each one requires a separate registration which has to be bought and paid for.
We’ll get into the subject of price and how much registering a web address can cost a bit later, but first, there’s something I want to share with you about domain names which you may not have realised: a domain name doesn’t have to take people to your website. Just like a phone number, it can be diverted, forwarded on to somewhere else. You could for example have www.yourname.com take people to your Facebook or Twitter profile (check out www.adampettigrew.com for an example of this). If you’re a performer, you could use it to take people to your Spotlight or agent’s profile – the choice is yours. What this means is that if you don’t have the skills or budget to build a fully fledged website of your own, it doesn’t mean that you can’t register the domain name you want (before someone else beats you to it).
Personalised Email Too
A domain name can be used for more than just your website, you can have your own email address too, for example firstname.lastname@example.org. Once you’ve registered a domain name, it’s not very difficult to get basic email forwarding set up. You probably have an email address already and with email forwarding you can have all messages from your new domain delivered to the email address of your choice. Do bear in mind that any replies you send will still look like they come from your regular address, not your shiny new domain name. If you want the real deal, you’ll have to wait till you’ve got yourself a ‘web host’, but we’ll cover that too in the next article.
How To Register Your Domain Name
Whichever name you choose, you will have to go through a ‘registrar’. Registrars are companies who sell domain names and allow you to manage that name once you’ve bought it. Typically, a domain name is yours for a minimum of one year, but you can choose to register it for longer (you can usually save money that way too). Most registrars will keep your credit card details on file and automatically renew your registration before it’s due to expire unless you tell them otherwise. At the very least, they will email you before the renewal is due so that you can decide what you want to do. Be careful though; if you let your registration expire, then someone else can come along and register the name.
If you’re planning on having a website, then chances are that you can get your domain name included as part of the cost and setup of that. We’ll cover web hosting and sites in the next article but bear that in mind before you rush off to register your domain name as you could save time and money doing it all in one go with the same company.
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