Domain Name Registration Process
There are literally thousands of domain name resellers currently operating on the internet. As a general rule, you should separate your domain name buying from your webhosting buying process. There are numerous valid reasons for keeping these two acts separate.
In many cases, the webhosting companies, particularly the smaller ones, will charge you more for the domain name than you can expect to pay elsewhere. Technically, your domain name is separate from your webhosting, and tying up the two together, can result in having to jump through hoops of red tape should you ever decide to move to a different webhosting provider. Besides often being a lengthy and involved cases, you will find some webhosts charging additional fees for this.
A better alternative, is to use a dedicated registrar, like Name.com, Namecheap.com and eNom.com for your domain name registrations. Doing this will make it easy to switch from one hosting provider to the next. The process is as simple as changing one or two entries in your DNS settings. Additionally, many of these registrars will also provide you with discounts for domain purchases. A quick search on the internet for 'domain name coupons', will provide you with a whole raft of discount coupons that can be used to lower the cost of your domain name purchases. If you are buying a lot of domain names for SEO purposes (such as domain misspellings), these savings quickly add up. While many might frown on the practice, it is interesting to note that both spammers, and legitimate sites do buy up misspellings of their main website names and important keywords. As an example, popular 'Google' misspellings like Goolge.com, Gppgle.com, and Foofle.com are all owned by Google.
You can transfer domains from one person to another, and also from one vendor or registrar to another. This process can take a couple of days, and will require the owner to go through a few steps before the transfer is approved. In part, this is a security measure to ensure that the verified owner is indeed transferring the domain, and that it has not been hijacked by a third party. Transferring a domain from one registrar to another automatically renews it for an additional year. This renewal though, should be at the standard domain name renewal cost.
Renewing Your Domains
It is vitally important that you keep your contact information with your domain registrars up to date, particularly your email address. Most registrars do send email notifications when your domains are about to expire, and if you have changed email addresses, you could miss these important renewal notices. At best, your website could become unavailable when the domain name services are stopped. Just as likely too, is that someone will snap up your expired domain before you realise that it has expired. Some vendors allow you to automatically renew a domain as it expires as well.
Buy and Park Domains
If you are considering launching a site in the near future, it is advisable to buy any domain names you might want to use, as early as you can, to ensure that you get them easily, and cheaply. Once you have purchased a domain name, you can 'park' it. Many domain registrars will automatically 'park' any domains you have not started using, usually putting up a page advertising *their* services. An alternative is to just point the domain name to a holding page of your choosing.
Irrespective of how you eventually buy and register a domain name for your website, you do need to put some thought into the process. Understanding the trade-offs between long and short names, and between keyword rich domain names and nonsensical words, will ensure that whatever domain name(s) you end up using does tie in nicely with the rest of your SEO strategy and plan.
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