Domain Name Registration - E-Street Media - Helping Businesses Grow

Why Registering Your Own Domain Name is Crucial

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So, this guy I know (we’ll call him Guy) finally realized his dream and launched his own business. As a savvy business owner, Guy knew he needed to design and build a fantastic website, so he hired a professional firm who “did it all” for him. They designed and built a great site for him, even hosted it and used his company’s name as the website address, just like he wanted. Life was good, business humming along. Then, almost a year later, Guy reached out to the firm one day for some help with his website only to discover (Cue ominous music “dun, dun, duuuuuuuuuun”) they were no longer in business. 

Phone numbers disconnected. No response to emails. Their website a ghost town.

With no way to contact his website’s designer/host/manager and no access to his website, Guy reached out to us via a referral (yes, this is a names-changed-true-story). A quick bit of research on our part found that not only could Guy not get logged in to even edit his website, his website domain name, a.k.a. (not the actual site), had been registered by his now-defunct website design company which he had no way to contact.

At that point, Guy’s website became a ticking time bomb waiting for either the domain registration or the hosting to expire. Through searching his archived emails, Guy was finally able to find some hosting account information for us, and we made a backup of the website so at the least he wouldn’t lose that. Unfortunately, the domain was inaccessible and, eventually, being unable to renew the registration, he did lose it. Guy had to start his website over using a new domain name while his former domain is now a Korean company selling novelty t-shirts using his company’s web address.

One extremely simple step could have saved Guy and helped him keep the SEO, web traffic, and online brand he’d built over the course of the year: if he’d simply registered his own domain name. That single, 10-minute, $15 act would have given him control and let him maintain his brand and web address no matter what happened to his web designers.

The Power in a (Domain) Name

If you take nothing else away from this lesson, let it be that registering your domain name for yourself gives you power. It gives you the power:

  1. Of choice. You choose what hosting company to “point” your domain toward. By owning your domain, you can change hosting companies if or when it becomes necessary without having to rely on a potentially defunct (or even deceased) web designer/firm. (Check out our article on “How to Truly OWN your website” for more info on this.)
  2. Of protecting your name. By registering it yourself, you own (technically you lease…) your name as a domain. Keep it renewed and it’s easier to protect your brand from getting hijacked.
  3. Of paying a fair price. Hey, capitalism is alive and well. If you aren’t careful, even the smallest things can wind up having a small “service fee” added on. Domains are typically in the $15-20/yr range, sometimes less. If you’re paying more than that, it’s better that it’s because you chose it than that your “do-it-all” team up-charged you.

Where to Register Your Domain

Where you register your domain isn’t the most critical choice except that it’s best to select a company that is well-established and probably that you’ve heard of, one that’s not likely to go out of business themselves. In our experience, names like Google Domains, IONOS (formerly 1and1), BlueHost, HostGator, and GoDaddy are all well-established registrars with competitive pricing.

Our Best Advice on Registering Your Domain

With these few nuggets of guidance, you won’t get taken for a ride:

  1. Do it yourself. It only takes a few minutes. If you just can’t, have your web design team/firm/guy register it for you on your behalf. Use your name, your address, your phone, your email address, and your payment info. It’s just that important.
  2. Domains usually cost around $15/yr and renew annually. If you’re able, yes, go ahead and reserve your domain for 2-3 years. You sometimes get a discount and there’s no point in having the domain for just a year if you’re starting a business. Have faith in yourself!
  3. Turn on the auto-renew setting. I’ve seen too many clients lose months and years of work simply because they didn’t respond to the “It’s time to renew your domain” email in time.
  4. Add on the Privacy Registration option. If you don’t… the moment your domain is registered, the email address you used will be distributed to thousands of lists of fly-by-night web design companies who are ALL wanting to sell you a quick, cheap website. And they will hound you relentlessly. Forever. Privacy Registration hides your contact info from prying eyes and annoying sales people.

As always, our expert team is here to help guide you through all your online website and marketing needs. We are more than glad to answer any questions and find solutions to help you grow your business!

MATT JONES is the president of E-Street Media. He is also owner and president of Jones House Creative, a design firm that serves authors and creatives and helps to promote their work online.

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