Before you are ready with a list of possible domain names, make yourself familiar with these resources so you are ready to check available domain names, register the name(s), and kick off your company's new Web presence.
Now that your business is ready to get online, the first steps are actually similar to those when you started your business offline. This table outlines a comparison:
|OFFLINE||OFFLINE RESOURCES||STEPS||ONLINE||ONLINE RESOURCES|
|Company Name||Trademark Office, Friends and Family||<Name>||Domain Name||Verisign, Domain Name Registrars|
|Business License, Trade Licenses||State or Local Gov’t Offices, Trade Groups||<Registration>||Register Domain Name||Domain Name Registrars|
|Secure, rent or build office/store /workshop||Real Estate Company||<Location>||Website, Social Network Page||Web hosting companies, social networks|
To register one or more domain names, there are two key steps: 1. coming up with ideas for the name, then 2. researching if that name is available (not already registered).
Registrars are companies that help find, manage and then send the necessary domain name information to a global registry. There are many registrar companies with whom to work. Think about which services you will need and choose a company that will best meet your goals for price, options, and support. Most registrars also provide Web hosting, Website creation and design, email tools, and other services.
Once you have a domain name, you need a space for that domain name to live on the Web. You will require Web hosting on a server to manage the traffic that comes to your site. A Web hosting provider (often the same as your registrar) offers a range of services that help you build a Website, manage email, and even promote your site.
A TLD refers to a top-level domain which you see most often as an extension after the business name as .com, .net or .org. There are more options for TLDs coming on the market with choices such as .tv, .jobs, and even customized names. Today, most people in the world use .com and .net as their TLD. Since .com and .net are the most recognized choices for people searching the Web it’s good to have your name registered with those TLDs.
You’ve probably heard of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn – these are a collection of social networks that allow you to create a business “page” or “profile” to which you can add content including images and video. Social networks are great places to interact with customers and promote events, sales, discounts, etc. While social networks are good marketing tools, it’s important to maintain the control and professionalism of your own website as well. Our small business survey found that 90 percent of consumers prefer a business to have a website over a social media page or online directory listing.