Blogging, Business, Web

Local Business Owners – Protect Your Domain Name!

Every local business should have a local business website, and with that website, they should have a unique domain name that represents their business. It’s this domain name, or URL, that’s typed into an Internet browser address bar and pulls up the website for the user, which means the user will associate the URL with your business, and vice-versa.

Save your domain name A.S.A.P.

If you have a local business, even if it’s a small local business, it can look very unprofessional if your domain name doesn’t reflect the name or your business. If you’re new to your business and new to this subject, then first things first, go out to www.godaddy.com or www.domainspricedright.com and see if the domain name you want is available and purchase it. Even if you’re not quite ready to go live with your website, at least you can rest assured that you own the domain name and no one else can use it. If you’ve chosen to hire an expert to design and optimize a website for you, then they will most likely offer this service and save the domain name for you.

Purchase all the extensions.

The preference for most businesses is to own the .com version of the domain name, and it’s also a good idea to purchase the .org and .net versions so others can’t create domain names that are the same as yours with these other extensions. Domain names are relatively inexpensive (less than $10/year), so cost shouldn’t be a factor, and it’s worth it. If the .com version of your name isn’t available, then you can go with one of the other extensions that is available, or look for a different domain name altogether.

Purchase for more than a year or two.  

This is IMPORTANT. The following story is a real life example as to why (and the inspiration for this post):

“I made the mistake of letting my domain name expire without realizing it. It was brought to my attention when all of the sudden, I stopped receiving emails associated with the domain. When I went to check it out, it turned out that my automatic renewal didn’t go through because the credit card had expired. I was informed that it would cost me $100 to ‘recover’ the domain name because it had expired and was placed back into the registry. My only options were to wither pay the $100 fee to ‘recover’ the domain name, or take a risk and wait out the 30 days when it would become available again on the Internet for the typical $10.00, at which time someone else could snatch it up and either use it or try to charge me whatever they wanted for it. Obviously, I paid the $100 fee and had my domain back and working again within 24 hours. But I learned my lesson: I will not purchase domain names on an annual basis!”

Again, domain names are not that expensive, so purchase your domain name for at least 5 years, and be sure to have it on a list somewhere to check in on to make sure there are no issues with auto-renewal. Most companies will send you reminders prior to the expiration of domain names, but you don’t want to risk it!

Also, if it does expire, there are several people out there watching for currently used domain names to expire so they can snatch them up and then try to sell them for $500 – $1000. They figure someone will be desperate enough to pay that kind of money, and it’s their prerogative to charge them for it.

Bottom line, you want a unique domain name, and you want to protect it so you don’t risk losing it in the future. Your URL is the first impression many will have when interacting with your business, so you want to be able to choose what most reflects your business, and you want to hold on to it for as long as your local business exists!

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For nearly three decades, Chris Marentis, founder and CEO of Surefire Social, has been responsible for driving innovation and sales growth for large media and e-commerce brands as well as start-ups. With a long-history of counseling local businesses about their marketing efforts, Marentis provides insight on what it takes for small businesses to succeed and thrive in today’s evolving digital environment. His notable career includes creating the foundational blueprints for online marketing, e-commerce and content branding for AOL's Interactive Marketing group, where he served as Senior Vice President. While CEO of Clearspring Technologies, Marentis developed one of the most widely adopted venture-backed Web 2.0 technology platforms. Marentis is a frequent speaker at local digital marketing conferences and a contributor to SMB and technology-focused publications.

12 Comments

  1. Chris, I agree with all steps you pointed out. Purchase all the extensions is smart, but going an extra mile is necessary. I am talking about variations of the name. Here is an example, not about website names. We all know about the book Power Vs Force by Dr. David Hawkings. Can you believe that I almost bought Force Vs Power by some other unknown author. You get the point.

  2. Good tips.
    But you would expect your hosting company to send you a couple reminders.
    Which hosting company was that with?

    I don’t like purchasing my domain names for too long. Sure 1 domain name for 5 years is fine. But if you do that with 10 domain names and some of them you aren’t even sure if you will be using them for long. That accumalates to quite a lot of money.

  3. Domain name is very important for any business because it provides identity to your business on internet. Any domain name includes particular validity as 1 year or 5 year. If the domain expired then it is possible that any other person purchase it, so protection is necessary for business. As above given information purchase domain for long time of period and make sure it doesn’t expire or cross validity period.

  4. It is very necessary to purchase domain name for five years. If you purchase domain name for short interval it can throw your hard work into garbage when you fail to pay consistently.

  5. Yes, this is essential. And if you do not buy your domain for a long time, then at least check in to the webhost and make sure you have not got an invoice there that you know nothing about. Mostly the invoices some by email and if your mail is not working correctly your invoice might disappear.

  6. Domain names are becoming a very important part of are lives. In business circles, work environments and personal lives. Just how important are they today? Well, they are the name of your business. Think of it like real estate and businesses first rule. Your domain name is your address or location on the internet. It’s also your name and identity.

  7. Hello,
    Thanks for clarifications. Actually I have used some of your tips last year when I first purchased my first domain and purchased all the extensions. This year I couldn’t renew all extensions as my earning from the site was not promising so the extensions have expired. Anyway, I know some professionals who buy all the extensions and also buy all the domain name surrounding or close in name to the original name even with miss-spelling in order to catch any search and direct it to the original domain.
    Regards

  8. Domain name is the key to make a good website. Domain is not only crucial for it’s simplicity but also to make it visible in search engine result keywords related suitable domain name can be effective. Thanks a lot for an educative post.

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