The Small Business Website Guide

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How to get a domain name in three easy steps

Read our three steps on how to get a domain name for your small business

For your website's domain name is the shop-front, the high-street address where customers can find you. Furthermore, the domain is important for positioning your website in the search engines. In contrast to a building, however, you cannot buy a domain outright, but only register it on a long-term basis. In order to do that you have to register your chosen domain. The people who deal with that are generally your Internet service provider or hosting provider. They register your chosen address with the registrar and the central administration body, the Network Information Center (NIC), which is responsible for managing the system of web domain names.

Registering a domain may well be a little less complicated than renting a shop, but you should give some careful consideration to the domain name and other requirements beforehand. Follow these three easy steps on how to get a domain name:

Step 1: Choose a domain name

A domain name helps to determine whether your Internet presence can be found quickly, like a shop in a central location, or whether it will be hidden away in a backstreet, way down the list of results of the search engines. In addition, you have to pay attention to a few legal and administrative provisions when you want to register a domain. 

Get a domain name that is:

  • Short and easy to remember ( is better than
  • Eye-catching ( is better than
  • Less prone to typing errors (in the case of ‘difficult’ names such as you should also register misspelt domains at the same time, such as, etc.)

Once you have made a shortlist of domain names, you should also briefly think about which alternatives and similar spellings exist. It is often worth registering such alternatives in order to redirect the visitor to a main domain. That’s because very few Internet users are able to notice immediately whether a domain is written with or without a hyphen. By doing so, you can be sure that the people who are looking for you actually find you – and that competitors do not register a similar-sounding domain.

Step 2: Check the domain name

The best domain name is no use at all, however, if it is already taken. Once you have chosen one or two good ideas for the domain name, you now have to check whether they are still available. This can be done via most registrars or Web hosts, using simple online tools that provide you with information immediately.

If the desired domain is not available, you must think of an alternative. It may be worth getting in touch with the domain proprietor – especially when there is no website being operated under the desired domain name – to check whether the domain can be released. You can generally find out who the proprietor of a domain is by means of a so-called ‘Whois’ request via a domain dealer or registrar.

Step 3: Register the domain name

You can now register a domain name via the Internet service provider, Web host or domain dealer of your choice. You generally have to give the service provider your contact address and account details; you then no longer have to concern yourself with the details of the registration.

After just a few hours you can gain access to your own domain. Most domains are initially registered for one year; the contract is usually extended automatically.

And that is the last step. Hopefully you will have secured a presence for yourself in a good location on the Internet. Now you can display the ‘under construction’ sign and deal with the actual content of your website.