Domain names are incredibly important for a business. They provide the online identity for your website and create an emotional and psychological link between your website and your brand.
Domain names are acquired through domain registrars. These are companies licenced to provide access to domain names and be able to register them with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
Without a registrar, you cannot buy and use a domain name.
So how do you choose a good one?
Do you just use your web host to keep things simple or use a dedicated domain name registrar?
How do you know what a good domain registrar looks like?
All these questions and more will be answered in this post. So, if you’re looking to rebrand or set up a new website for your business, read on!
What is a domain name?
First let’s start with the very basics. What exactly is a domain name?
A domain is the ‘www.’ name you see at the top of your web browser. If you look there now, the ‘www.cloudheroes.com’ after the https:// is our domain name.
What is a domain registrar
A domain registrar is an entity that can register domain names with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
Some companies provide web hosting alongside domains while others specialise in domain names.
Either way, you need to use one of these entities to be able to register your domain with ICANN and use it online.
If a domain isn’t registered, it won’t work, which is why choosing the right domain registrar is so important.
What to look for in a domain registrar
Perform a quick search on domain registrars and you’ll see hundreds, or even thousands of companies offering to register a domain name.
Not all of them will be created equal, which is why we put this post together.
To ensure you choose the right registrar for your needs, make sure it has some, or all, of these traits.
Nominet Premium Partner
Nominet is the UK’s domain registry and looks after the .co.uk., .org.uk, me.uk TLDs (Top Level Domains) and others. It is one of the largest global domain registrars that manages over 10 million domains.
Being a Nominet Premium Partner means a company offers the highest standards of service to qualify. It’s something offered to only the top tier domain name registrars and is a quick way to sort the wheat from the chaff.
This is where the team at Cloud Heroes sit as we’ve worked hard to achieve this accreditation and also follow all Nominet best practices.
Range of TLDs available
TLDs, Top Level Domains, are the .co.uk, .com, .org.uk, .org and so on. All the main domain name suffixes you use every day.
Not every registrar can register every TLD. If you’re looking for a standard .com or .co.uk domain, you’ll probably be fine.
But, if you want to include vanity domains like .tech, or .ninja as part of your branding, you may need to carefully select your registrar.
Fast domain search
If you have ever searched for a domain, you’ll probably already know how slow and frustrating search can be.
Any domain registrar that hasn’t optimised their search engine doesn’t have user’s interests at heart.
Perform a search on any domain name. If it takes longer than 10-20 seconds, it may be time to try another.
Clear pricing is essential for any business. Being clear, transparent and honest about how much a customer will pay is critical in such a competitive industry.
Some registrars will offer a domain cheap for the first year and then double or triple the cost for the next years.
Others will quote a price for the domain and then add reservation fees or other costs onto the price.
Avoid these. Use a domain registrar that uses clear, transparent pricing.
There’s nothing wrong with offering an introductory discount but make sure you check the price for the following years. You might be surprised at what you find!
Check for transfer fees
Once you have had a domain name for a period of time, you can transfer it to another registrar if you wanted to.
For example, if you bought a domain name separately from your web hosting and wanted to combine them, you could transfer the domain to your web host.
This should be free or involve a very low fee as it’s largely an automated process.
Some domain registrars will charge for this service, which can involve paying a fee to move your name.
If a registrar charges a fee, think very carefully about doing business with them as it’s unnecessary and could be a bad sign.
Ease of use
The final characteristic of a good domain registrar is ease of use. If you’re not technically minded or don’t have the time to wade through pages of instructions to register a domain, you don’t want to be left behind.
You just want to register a name, pay for it and begin using it. A good domain registrar will make that process as quick and as painless as possible.
If you’re in the market for a new domain name, consider carefully who you want to do business with.
Like any decision, give it some thought and decide where to spend your money. It makes life much easier in the long run!