Registering your own internet domain name is the foundation of your online identity. There is nothing easier when you want somebody to look at your art to tell them to go to www.YourNameHere.com.
When it comes to domain registration, cheapest is the best. A domain name is nothing more than an entry in the database that cross references the domain name to an IP (internet protocol) address.
You will find a lot of offers for free or low cost domain names but there is often a catch. Let's take one of the most expensive domain registrars, Network Solutions. They are currently offering a special, "Get your Domain for $6.99 a Year*" which sounds good until you read the fine print " That $6.99 price is only good if you sign up for one year of nshosting which costs $10.95/month so your total cost per year to register that domain with hosting is $140/year!
Here at Dude and a Dog enterprises we recommend NameCheap. The names says it all. They have an easy interface and easy prices.
Another important aspect of choosing a name for your website is Search Engine Optimization which is how people find you when they don't have your full website name (something about a dude or a dog) or randomly happen onto your site with related search terms (austin artist) . Choosing a domain name that describes you makes it easier for people to find you. FirstNameLastName.com is best, if that is unavailable FirstnameLastNameArt.com, etc. Choose a name that makes sense for people to try and find you.
There are some other services in the sidebar of this page that offer domain registration services - as always it pays to shop around. Sometimes they run specials, etc. that might make them a better value than NameCheap. Check them out before you commit. Here are some things to keep in mind when shopping for domain registration:
- Find out the cost and procedures for transferring your domain name to another domain name registrar in case you become dissatisfied or find a lower price. Registrars in general have a terrible reputation for holding names hostage. Some charge exorbitant fees or create delays to avoid losing business.
- Consider features, if you want them. Extra services offered by domain name registrars are generally oriented to domain name speculators or duplicative of what web hosting services provide. Those often include e-mail accounts, e-mail forwarding and domain forwarding.
- Consider support options.Registration should be simple, and a name is a name, which means most customers will never need tech support or other customer service. Where you are most likely to need support is when moving your domain to a different host.
- Make sure the domain is registered to you, as opposed to your web host or registrar. Make sure that if you get a free or below-cost domain name, you own the domain name that way the registrar cannot control the name to make switching to a competitor difficult or impossible.
- Think twice about using an alternative top-level domain. Reviewers point out that a high percentage of site searches are conducted by guessing a domain name, as opposed to using a search engine. Alternatives to .com can be cheaper, especially .info, but they can make your site hard to find and difficult to remember. Although use of .org is unrestricted, it's inappropriate for anything other than a non-profit organization.