Having (and therefore) registering a domain name allows you to do certain things on the Internet that you cannot otherwise accomplish. It opens the door to establishing a business or personal presence on the Internet over which you have more control than you do, for example, with a page on a social networking site. It also opens up some unique business opportunities.
Build a Website
If you have immediate plans to build a website, then you may wish to register the domain name and host your website with the same company. If this is the case, you will want to check a registrar’s web hosting plans and deals, as well as the registration fees and services. Many registrars will offer a free domain name registration when you sign up for web hosting, and some offer deals involving other items as well, like e-mail. If you want to register your site with one registrar (perhaps because you already have sites registered with them) and host your site elsewhere, be sure to allow some time for the domain registrar to set up your registration.
If you plan to build a website, but not right now, you need to do something with your domain name in the meantime because it is illegal to just hold a domain name without doing anything with it. Several options allow you to keep the domain name legally, but with minimal attention: you can set up an “under construction” page to hold your page until you’re ready. Many domain registrars offer this service.
Another option is known as “domain parking,” in which you allow advertising to appear on your page and earn money when someone clicks on the ads. (See the article “What Is Domain Parking?” for more information.) Some people do this with not just one domain name but with an entire portfolio of domain names. If this option interests you, look for “domain parking” at the domain registrar that you are considering. Sedo and GoDaddy both offer this service.
Protect a Trademark
Another reason to register one or more domains is to protect your trademark. You can build a website on mywonderfulgadget.com, and in order to protect your product, you can purchase mywonderfulgadget.net, etc. and have them forward visitors to your site. The name of this service is URL forwarding, and you can check to see if webhosts you are considering include it.
Have Personalized E-mail
Running a business with a hotmail or yahoo account can make potential customers or clients think you’re not well-established or to be taken seriously. Add to that that the hotmail agreement forbids commercial use, and you’ve got a couple of reasons to establish your e-mail elsewhere. One way to approach this is to use e-mail based on your domain name, and this is a service many web hosts offer as part of their hosting package. With e-mail forwarding, you can also consolidate your e-mail from several e-mail addresses. Again, check potential web hosts for their programs.
Resell the Domain Name
If your purpose in purchasing a domain was to auction or resell it for profit, you may want to seek out a domain appraisal service and/or a domain auction agency to get an objective opinion of what your property is worth. Some web hosts offer these services, so keep this in mind as you decide about registration.