A domain represents both the web address and the name of a website. It’s also the name visitors will use to search for a site. Too often, companies think they own their domain names, when in actuality they don’t.
Moreover, some companies will charge outrageous fees just to switch your domain to your ownership. Therefore, the best way to check if you own your domain is by going to who.is and searching for your domain name. Under the word registrant, you will see the name of the company or individual that owns your domain.
If that name is not yours, you have a couple different options. First, you can call the registrant and ask them nicely to give you your domain. The registrant will have to send a transfer request to switch the domain user—which is often a painless transaction. However, if the registrant says no, your second option is to file for a domain dispute. This could be quite the hassle and often results in court action. If neither works, you could wait until your domain expires and purchase it yourself. It generally takes about 90 days from the expiration date to become free to reregister.
The difference between purchasing your own domain and creating a website through a web hosting site like WordPress is huge. For instance, simpsonsquare.wordpress.com will never be owned like simpsonsquare.com. Owning your own domain not only gives you complete control, but it also makes it easier to switch web hosts if you ever choose to.
Purchasing your own domain is a no brainer, as the benefits of owning your domain far outweigh the costs. Hence, the benefits are as follows:
▪ Ownership. A hosting company will never own your domain name. Therefore, if you ever leave your web host, your domain leaves with you—no ifs, ands or buts.
▪ Credible. Having your own domain name shows credibility. It demonstrates that your business is established and trustworthy.
▪ Branding. Your name is your brand and your website should reflect that. People will search for your brand on the internet. Therefore, it’s important your domain matches that brand.
If you are just establishing your web presence, registering for your own domain is easy. Logon to GoDaddy to purchase a domain—you can register your domain for up to ten years or as little as one year. At the end of the period you will need to renew the domain.
A word to the wise, register your domain name yourself. This ensures you are the sole owner of the domain, the administrator and direct contact. If you choose to have a web hosting company register your domain, make sure they do so in your name—this will save you the hassle in the long run.
Lastly, keep a record of your domain registrar on hand. If you ever decide to redesign your site or change web hosting, the transition will be effortles