How to choose the right domain for your online store

Setting up a new website can be daunting

It can be a daunting process to set up a new website, especially if that website is crucial for your business. If you are an online retailer looking to branch out and host your own online store, this article is for you. Designing a website is just a fraction of this process. Various intrinsic systems that actually run the website have to be coded and set up. But before one goes into the business of actually making the website, one has to go through a few steps — your website’s domain has to be registered and a web host has to be appointed. But what is domain name registration?

Every website that you visit on the internet is registered to a domain. It’s like finding somebody’s phone number in a phone book. You look for John Smith in the book and you find the number. Similarly, when you type www.browntape.com on your internet browser, the computer searches through an online directory of domain names and addresses to locate the address for the Browntape website. These addresses are numerical, and usually go something like 179.121.134.0. This number is the address of your website, and you need to register that address with a registry so that other computers can find it by searching for your domain name.

For international domain suffixes like .com, .org, .info, etc. the official registry is the ICANN, or Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers. For an Indian domain name like .co.in, the authority is called INRegistry. There are many licensed domain name registrars that register your website domain in these authorities. They charge you according to the fees required to register your domain type plus a certain amount for the services that they offer. Many domain registrars also provide extra services that include 24×7 assistance and troubleshooting, customer service, etc.

Things You Must Know Before Registering Your Domain

Do a Thorough Background Check

The domain registration business is full of sharks and crooks that are out to get your money. Scams are pretty common here, especially since you rarely physically visit the domain registrar’s office. Firstly, you must check whether the registrar is truly affiliated with ICANN and INRegistry. Thoroughly check their reviews and if possible talk to a few people who have subscribed to their services. Reading the fine print here is extremely important, because many outfits are designed to scam you on the basis of your signature on the dotted line.

Check for Customer Support

Once your site is live, tech support is going to be your basic necessity. You don’t want to be in a situation where your website is down due to DNS errors, errors in transferring the domain or transferring administrative privileges and you don’t have anyone on hand to fix your problems. This delay would cost you valuable time and money. Many registrars offer you basic plans with nominal tech support and ask you to upgrade for a more hands-on support experience. You shouldn’t mind spending a few bucks extra at the outset rather than to suffer heavy losses in the future.

For an online retailer, SSL certification is of paramount importance. SSL certificates are tiny data files that digitally bind a cryptographic key to an organization’s files. When installed on a web server, they create a digital padlock and provide a safe connection between the server and the browser. Typically, SSL certificates are required for monetary transactions over the internet, among other secure data transfer. As somebody who is in charge of overseeing hundreds of online transactions, you must make sure that your domain registrar also provides you with SSL certification.

Although there are many organizations that offer specialized web hosting services, it makes more sense to avail them from your domain registrar itself. This way you only have to deal with one tech support team instead of two and it might also be cheaper for you in the long run.

Finally, the pricing. One big misunderstanding about web hosting is that the prices depend upon the domain name. That is not true. You don’t have to pay more for a longer domain name, for instance, or a better one. What the pricing depends upon is the suffix that you want to register to. International suffixes like .com would cost a bit more, as compared to something like .co.in. Here is a list of a few reputed domain registrars and their pricing policies.

Originally published at browntape.com on July 20, 2015.

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