Domain Name: In-depth guide on domain names

Domain Name: In-depth guide on domain names

A domain name (also referred to as domain) is the first step in your online journey. You could be prepared to develop a website and establish an online presence for your business, but you might not know where or how to start. We’re here to provide some friendly advice after assisting over 150 small local  businesses in going online.

As you probably already know, a website is now a virtual need for small business owners, not just an option anymore. More people than ever are using the internet to search for businesses in online directories and make purchases. In fact, since the start of 2020, consumers have spent $52 billion more online than they did during the same period in 2019. Despite a long-term growing tendency in online purchasing, the COVID-19 outbreak has resulted in a sharp rise in online purchases. Let’s examine a domain’s definition, application, and significance for your brand’s online success.

What is a domain name?

Your domain name is essentially your web address. People who want to visit your website will enter this address into a web browser. Once you register your domain name, no other company anywhere in the world can use it to create a competing website. However, you must renew your domain at least once a year. Your business’s name should be reflected in the domain name. This is crucial because your email address often includes the same name, making it easy for customers to recognize the messages you send.

To assist you choose the ideal domain name for your business, we’ve put together a list of useful articles. Here are some things you’ll find:

  1. Choosing a domain name is crucial for your small business
  2. Choosing a domain name
  3. How to sign up for a domain
  4. Does it matter if your domain and business name are different?
  5. How to proceed if the name you desire is already taken
  6. How to profitably acquire, sell, and trade domain names
  7. FAQs on domain names

Choosing a domain name is crucial for your small business

The first step in creating an online presence for your business is choosing a domain. Setting the right tone will influence how visitors to your website, think of your brand, and interact with your business.

How can you use a domain name to your advantage and differentiate your company in a crowded online market? Let’s examine the definition of a domain name, how it functions, and how to choose and register the one that’s ideal for your business.

Why are domain names so important?

Having a domain name places your business in the same online market as your biggest rivals and instantly lends it legitimacy. It shows a sense of seriousness and makes you appear more professional to online customers and shoppers. It also makes you easier to find online. Customers also access your website, discover more about your company, and make purchases of your goods and services through your domain.

The appropriate domain can make the difference between developing a strong online presence and disappearing into cyberspace. It will help you grow your brand by giving your business a powerful image. If you use an ISP to publish your website, it may wind up with a less-than-stellar web address, such as, as opposed to See the difference? Your customers will, too.

Furthermore, search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial for getting your business found online, so you should think about whether the domain name you’ve picked is SEO-friendly and contains keywords that will raise its ranking.

Cool cousins: Domain names, websites, and web hosting

Although domain names, websites, and web hosting are separate components of your web presence, they all work together to promote your online visibility. The Domain Name System (DNS), a global network of web servers, receives a request from a web browser when someone enters in your website address. These servers quickly discover your website address and ask to access your web page.

Choosing a domain name

Do you recall Google’s previous domain name, Or back when Twitter was at We also don’t! And there’s a good explanation for it. The previous domain names lacked clarity, succinctness, and memorability. The founders made the decision to alter the domain names for just that reason.

If you’ve ever looked for an available domain name for your business, you know just how difficult it can be to locate one that is both simple and memorable. It makes sense considering that 363.5 million domain names were registered in the first quarter of 2021 across all top-level domains (TLDs).

So how do you pick a domain name that both accurately describes your company and sticks in clients’ minds? Let’s explore the what, why, and how of choosing the ideal domain name.

Step 1: Start brainstorming and do your research 

Your first major choice is to pick a domain name before you make any purchases. Since you don’t yet know which domains are up for grabs, you’ll want to have more than one option.

It’s a good idea to brainstorm with your family, friends, or coworkers first. Ask trustworthy individuals to critique your decisions so that you can refine your thoughts.

Next, search Google to discover if any company domain names similar to the ones you are considering already exist. If someone else is already using the domain name, selecting anything similar could be confusing (and cost you business).

Think about the following factors when selecting your domain name:

  • Does it fit with your brand? Your domain name, which serves as the calling card for your brand, must be compatible with the goods and services that your company provides. If at all feasible, pick a domain name that makes it apparent what kind of business you run and incorporates popular terms for your sector.
  • Is it brief and easy? Avoid choosing a domain name with symbols like numerals, hyphens, or other characters that could be confusing. Long word and character domain names are likely to be difficult for the average consumer to remember.
  • Is it clear and to the point? People prefer simple solutions, so choose something with straightforward wording and stay away from slang. People may have trouble finding your website if the words in your domain name have a challenging spelling.
  • Is it original and enduring? People will remember a domain name that is distinctive and memorable, which will help your business stand out from the competitors.
  • Is it distinct? The likelihood that consumers would confuse one brand name for another if your intended brand name is too similar to someone else’s is high, especially if the name is registered. The other company could then use your brand name as a defensive domain strategy.

Step 2: Check your preferred domain name availability

Now that you have domain name alternatives, you should check to see what is truly accessible. You have a wide range of options for where to do your domain search.

Due to its popularity and ease of recall, domain names that end in “.com” are preferred by the majority of businesses. It’s extremely likely that your first pick is already taken since the most popular .com domain name extension is used by about 44% of all domain names.

The good news is that the .com extension can give your company some credibility because anyone can build a website. It adds some credibility and demonstrates that you have invested in your business.

Because it’s what they’re most used to, the majority of people automatically assume that website names end in .com. However, there are currently a large number of domain extensions to pick from that can be useful for your company. Just be sure the extension is appropriate for your company (.dentist makes sense for a dentist, but not a lawyer) and take the necessary precautions to prevent misunderstanding with another brand that has obtained

Step 3: Find out the cost and look at domain auctions

The price of a domain name can range greatly, from $0.99 to hundreds of dollars. Where you buy the domain and other factors will affect the pricing.

You must take other expenses into account when calculating the total cost of your domain name, such as yearly renewal fees and accessory charges. Additionally, you need to be aware of any fees for transferring out or auto-renewing. Always carefully read the Terms of Service provided by your domain registrar to ensure that you are aware of all fees involved.

If you win the domain auction, you then have a particular length of time to claim and pay for your new domain. Proxy bids are frequently allowed, meaning you can specify the maximum amount for your bid and the system will automatically keep rising your offer until your maximum limit is reached.

Step 4: Select the length of your purchase.

Domain names can frequently be initially bought for periods longer than a year, depending on the supplier. Examine your company’s objectives before choosing a term. Locking yourself up for ten years might not make sense if you have plans to modify your company name or product offering in the future.

The main benefit of purchasing a domain name for a longer period of time is that it is locked in, eliminating the possibility of your competitors purchasing it from beneath you. For purchasing longer durations, like as two or five years at a time, several registrars provide discounts. Additionally, you don’t have to waste time renewing each year or run the risk of losing your domain registration due to problems.

It makes sense to buy your domain name for a year or two and then re-evaluate when the time comes if your business is in flux or you’re unclear of what the future holds.

Avoiding domain name loss should be your top priority if you decide to register for only a year or two. Make sure your registrar has the right email address and payment information on file, and be mindful of your important renewal dates. Otherwise, you can be endangering your domain name.

How to sign up for a domain

Once you know how to do it, registering a domain name is quite easy and takes only a few minutes.

  1. Pick a website where you can register a domain name. You can sign up via resellers or online presence providers like
  2. Use that website to see if the desired domain is accessible. You are able to proceed with the transaction if it is available.
  3. At this stage of the procedure, you could potentially add more goods and services to your cart. Your small business website may benefit greatly from services like private registration, a hosting package, and additional years on your registration (up to 10).
  4. Pay the registration fee.

What is the best time to register a domain name?

You should reserve a domain name for any business, product, or brand idea as soon as possible. When you have a business idea and are prepared to make it a reality, is the ideal time to purchase a domain name. The domain name may already be registered by someone else if they have the same concept as you. Then, if you still want it, you will probably have to pay them for it because names on the domain aftermarket are usually expensive.

How much does it cost to purchase a domain name?

Domain names can range from free — though always with an asterisk related to later costs — to millions of dollars. There are many factors that will affect how much it costs to register a domain name, including the following:

  1. What is the TLD? ICANN and the individual domain name registries that establish the fees (Verisign and Public Interest Registry, for example) control the cost of new registrations and renewals. Prices and special offers may vary from one registrar to the next since each time a domain name is registered through them, registrars must pay that fee. While some more recent TLDs, like *.ceo and *.rich, cost hundreds and thousands of dollars respectively, *.com, *.net, and other well-known TLDs are typically less than $40 annually.
  2. Is this a fresh registration or does it already belong to someone else? As was already mentioned, the price of a new registration is determined by your registrar and those domain name registries like ICANN. However, if your preferred domain names are already taken, you could have to pay the current owner. It is easier to secure a domain name if someone else already possesses one that infringes on registered trademarks that you own. It then turns into a legal issue. For information on your options, we advise you to consult ICANN’s Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy.
  3. Do you require any other goods or services to go along with your domain name? Even though add-on services like domain privacy, which hides your WhoIs information from public databases, and website and email hosting may increase your prices, they often do so only slightly.

You will also be required to pay annual registration renewal fees for the duration of the domain name, a procedure that is likewise governed by ICANN. Conveniently, a domain name can be registered for up to 10 years at once. You run the risk of losing your domain name if you forget to renew it.

Unfortunately, losing a domain name happens rather frequently. Make sure your registrar has your current contact information so you don’t miss renewal notices, and think about adding a renewal event to your calendar to serve as a reminder.

Do you prefer to have your domain name with us but registered it elsewhere?

Easy. Additionally, it doesn’t cost any more than the renewal fee. You shouldn’t have any issues transferring your domain name as long as it has been registered with its current registrar for at least three months and hasn’t been registered for more than 10 years (per ICANN guidelines).

Does it matter if your domain name and business name are different?

Finding the website domain you want is harder now than it used to be because nearly every business in the world has a website. Does it matter if your domain name and your company name are different?

Of course, it’s great if your domain name and your company name are the same. You might even want to change your business name to fit available domains if you’re just starting out and haven’t chosen a name for your company yet. For instance, let’s say you wanted to call your company Lisa Pizza, but is already taken. The name of your business could be changed to Lisa Pizzeria if is available.

If you’re the owner of a successful business and are only now getting around to building a website, the issue is a little more complicated. There are a few scenarios you could encounter when you begin your domain name search:

  • is already taken, but the owner isn’t using it right now. They might let you purchase it from them. Find the domain owner’s and/or domain registrar’s contact details by performing a WHOIS lookup. Ask the person whether they’re interested in selling the domain by getting in touch with them.
  • is already registered and has a website attached to it. If you’ve registered your business name as a trademark, you’ve been in operation for some time, and there’s a chance that customers would mistake your company for the rival’s, you might have a legal claim to acquire ownership of the domain name. However, keep in mind that this might be costly and time-consuming, so you’ll need to choose whether it’s worthwhile.

Consider your options carefully because changing your domain name afterwards can be expensive and time-consuming. Use a domain registrar that provides Domain Locking services to secure your domain name once you’ve made your decision. By preventing unauthorised transfers or hijacking, this guarantees that the domain name you’ve worked so hard to come up with will remain yours.

How to proceed if the name you desire is already taken

We previously spoke about the factors that make a domain name effective for your business, including the use of keywords, geo-targeting, and choosing something that fits your brand and is simple to remember. When you come up with a domain name that contains every element you require, it’s like striking gold. However, there is a good probability that the domain name you seek is already taken due to the hundreds of millions of domain names that have been registered. So what do you do now?

Make small adjustments

You should start by determining whether you can make a few simple changes to the name while still having it work for you. Can the geo-target be changed? Or do any of the words in the name need to be rearranged? Can I switch to another extension?

To test if you can receive extension, try adding another word to your domain name. Try something like in its place, for instance, if you want but it’s not available. A domain name ending in a more well-known extension, such, is another option.

In the world of domain extensions, new trends are always taking shape. Even if the majority of people prefer extension, it is important to variations of the desired domain name. Ones that are now gaining popularity are .tech, .health, and .photo. Keep abreast of trends, particularly those affecting your sector.

Check to see if the name is in use.

There are alternatives if you don’t feel confident choosing a different spelling of the desired name. You must first ascertain what is occurring on the relevant domain name. To check if there is an operational website and online business, enter the desired domain name into your web browser. If so, the owner is probably not going to be open to selling it to you, so you might want to let it go and choose a new domain name.

If there isn’t a working website, it’s likely that the owner is either waiting for the name to expire or holding onto it because they can sell it for a profit. In such circumstances, you can use a domain name aftermarket service to learn more about the name and perhaps even secure it as your own.

Know your limits.

You should consider its value to you if you find yourself in the situation of needing to purchase a domain name from its present owner. It can be expensive to purchase domain names that are already registered, and only you know how much you have to spend. Decide on a limit and stick to it. Remember that there are tools available to assist you in figuring out the worth of a domain name that is currently registered, and they take a variety of things into account. A domain name broker that can assist you in negotiating a fair price on your behalf, based on fair market value, can be of great assistance in this regard.

Make a proposal

If you spent time choosing the ideal domain only to learn that it had already been registered, you probably wouldn’t want to wait for the owner to renew it before snatching it up. You have the option of submitting an offer to the name’s owner to buy it entirely. However, attempting to reach the domain name owner on your own can be difficult or result in a dead end. Even though you can frequently find the domain owner’s details on WhoIs, the data may be out-of-date or may have been concealed by a private registration service. Additionally, due to their own spam filters on their email, domain name owners may not take a random email from an unknown sender seriously or may never see it. For assistance with the contact procedure and to learn the domain name’s asking price, it is recommended to hire a qualified domain name broker.


Placing a backorder would be the ideal course of action if you have some time to wait and don’t feel the need to actively seek the specific domain. This means that if the owner did not renew and allowed it to expire, you would ask your aftermarket service to secure the name for you. For this, some internet service providers demand a fee. If another party or parties put backorders on the same name and your domain name aftermarket service was able to secure it, you would enter a secret auction where the highest bidder would win the name. Consider the highest price you would be prepared to pay for this name should it be put up for auction or require you to submit an offer to the present owner.

There are choices to think about and actions you can do to help make that domain name yours, even if you find yourself in the frustrating situation of coming up with the ideal domain for your business only to discover that someone else already owns it.

How to profitably acquire, sell, and trade domain names

Although the majority of people are aware with the word “house flipping,” they might not be as knowledgeable about the term “domain flipping.” In plain English, “domain flipping” refers to the profitable purchasing and selling of website domains (web addresses). When done properly, purchasing and selling domain names can be a successful side job or side business. was the most expensive domain name ever and was bought by RH Donnelly for $345 million. While it should be obvious that this is not typical, there are ways to generate money by purchasing and selling domains. Here are some advice on domain flipping to help you get started.

Recognise its value

A domain name is much more than just a company, organization, group, or person’s online address. It is a crucial component of one’s professional or personal brand. Domain names act as online representations of people or businesses and aid with website memory. A web address is a very precious asset that can be just as significant as the website it is linked to.

Limit your expectations

Buying and selling domain names can be fun and profitable but you should know the risks involved. Have the appropriate attitude and keep things in perspective. Despite the rarity of selling expensive domains, many make a profession purchasing and selling domain names. Don’t count on making a tonne of money quickly.

Narrow your attention

Start by concentrating on the industries you are familiar with when purchasing domains to resell. Selling a domain that you are confident would be useful to someone in a particular industry is significantly simpler. Even if there are still a tonne of new domain extensions available, practically every category has seen a significant number of .com domain names registered.

Your options are increased by using domain extensions,.io, and .club. Are you well-versed in animal care? Register, maybe. Do you have a passion for real estate? Search for a website similar to Focusing on industries you care about and looking beyond the .com options is a great way to get started.

Start small and think large

You currently presumably have a side business swapping domain names. Only invest money that you can afford to lose. Consider doing the math slowly and thoroughly. You must be aware of your budget whether you are buying and selling domains or running another business. It can be challenging to determine this at times, but with time you will come to understand the worth of domain names based on what consumers are ready to pay for them. Start little while you are thinking broadly. Make the finest decision possible and register a few names to test your marketing abilities.

Finish your homework.

Experienced domainers learn to calculate a domain’s worth instinctively. They can determine whether a domain is overpriced or underpriced by looking at its price tag. This is possibly the most crucial talent in a field when many others are needed. Research the procedure and become familiar with it to acquire the calculation instinct.

View the database of more than 500,000 domain sales at NameBio. The Domain Game is another software that they have. It gives you a domain, and you must make an educated guess as to whether it sold for three, four, five, or six figures. Additionally, you want to think about researching domain value businesses like DomainIQ and Estibot so you may obtain an assessment to serve as a benchmark.

Rely on validated sources

Reselling domains involves a learning curve, according to the majority of those who play the game. Ask people in the domain about their experiences and learn from them. Many domainers are eager to assist. For novice domainers, check out DomainSherpa, a fantastic resource, or learn more about DNAcademy’s online community and paid domainer training course.,, and are a few additional forums.

We can help you when the time comes to purchase and register a domain name. However, we offer more than just dependable domain registrars; we also have one of the most experienced website designers available in Kampala. In order to aid in the development of your domain business, we also offer helpful resources like web hosting, business email accounts, search engine optimisation (SEO) tools, and eCommerce alternatives. With the help of these tools, you may advertise your domain name selection online and get in touch with customers who are interested in the particular names you have to offer.

You should also have a look at auction sites with more well-known extensions, including SnapNames and NameJet. These may cost more than a typical registration, but they also have a potentially higher return, making them a superior investment.

FAQs on domain names

What do domain extensions mean?

Domain name extensions, such as *.com and *.net, are the letters that appear after the dot in a website or email address. Top-level domains, or TLDs, are another name for domain extensions.

Does registering a domain name require a website?


How do I access hosting for my domain?

Go through the company that you used to register your domain if you need to access domain hosting.

How can I change domain name servers?

Contact either your registrar or the business through whom you registered your domain name if you need to alter your name servers. This impacts where your DNS is located and mapped.

How can I find available domains?

You can search for domain names here.

Buy a domain for your small business

We can help you when you’re ready to buy and register a domain, but we don’t stop there. We provide one of the most straightforward drag-and-drop website builders in the industry in addition to trusted domain name registrars.

Why not choose a domain name right away with Rifa Design? It is quick and simple. We are regarded as Uganda’s preferred small business online resource after assisting over 150 organizations with going live online. If there is anything we can do to support you and your business, please let us know.

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