All You Need to Know About Domains

two business people in discussion

To get your business online with a website, you just need 2 quick steps:

1) Get a domain name that reflects your business
2) Get a starter website  (that’s the fastest way to get online these days if you’re just starting out and have budget constraints)

What is a domain name?
A domain name is the name of your website that people type into search engines to locate your website. For example, redboxstudio.com is a registered domain name. A registered domain name means the owner of the name pays a yearly fee to use the domain name. The domain name must be renewed every year if you want to continue using it (or you can renew it for a few years too just in case). If you don’t renew the domain name after it expires, your website cannot be found using that domain name. These days, domain names can be bought easily and you’re not limited to just one domain name. You can buy a few domain names to direct prospects and customers to the same website if you like.

Why would I need a domain name?
Anyone who wants to do business on the Internet needs a domain name. A domain name is essentially your company’s identification on the Internet. A domain name makes it easy for customers and prospects to find your company on the Internet. It also helps prospects and customers remember your business better.

Can I get a domain name first if I am still considering a website?
That’s possible too. Even if you are not ready to develop a website or hire a web designer, you should buy and hold on to the domain name that you want. You can buy as many domain names as you like.

In this case, can I get any domain name I want?
Unfortunately, the most popular domain names are already taken but this doesn’t mean there’s no more unique domain names left. If you are serious about getting online, get a domain name fast.

What happens if the domain name is not registered or bought under my name?
Some unscrupulous people will offer to help you buy the domain names you want but they register them under their own name. This is dangerous because they are basically holding your website address(es). They are the legal owners of the domain name. In case of any dispute, you are on the losing end. Be very careful about this. This is why you need to work with ethical service providers that you trust.

The domain names that I like are all snapped up already. What should I do?
If a domain name you like is not available (someone else has registered it), try searching for variations of the name. You could also try searching for the domain name but with a different suffix like .net, .org, .biz, or .info.

If you are Malaysian, you may like to search for a domain name with a .my (dot my) suffix but honestly, we don’t recommend it. Changing/transferring domain names etc. can be problematic with our Malaysian domain registrar which is still stuck with a bureaucratic mindset. (So Malaysia Boleh huh?) And besides, .my domain names are usually more expensive than .com domains. Unless you really have to identify as a Malaysian business, just stick to a .com domain. You may play around with words to get the right domain that ends with a .com

Some people recommend hyphenating a domain. For instance, if you cannot get redboxstudio.com, try redbox-studio.com but hyphens confuse people. There is always the possibility that they might forget the hyphen and end up at someone else’s website instead of yours!  We don’t recommend using hyphens at all in domain names.

How do I choose a good domain name?
Your domain name can be based on your brand name or what you sell or do. For example, it could be a brand like RedboxStudio.com or RedboxEasyweb.com. Or it could be your name plus what you offer such as JaneOngPhotographyStudio.com. Many search engines take the name of your website into account when they rank your pages so a domain name based on popular and often used keywords would be a good idea to consider when choosing a domain. That’s why most people like to use generic names or keywords that relate to what they do. However don’t be too generic until no one associates your business with your domain name. For instance, JaneOngPhotographyStudio.com will be much better than BestPhotographyStudio.com

My friends told me I can get free domain names. Should I get one for free?
As long as you pay for a domain name, YOU are considered the legal owner for a year (each year you’ll need to renew the ownership if you intend to continue using the domain name). If you get one for free, you would be left without a domain name when the company ceases business. If it is a personal website, that’s fine (there’s no big loss).

But what if it’s a business domain? What happens when you are left without a domain, especially after you’ve printed your website address on your business stationery and promoted it everywhere? Why risk it? Besides, should the company decide to sell your domain name for a big profit, it CAN because it is the legal owner.

Once you pay for a domain name, regardless of which web host you choose or move to, you get to keep your existing visitors and traffic. If you don’t have a domain name, you have to promote your website all over again. Besides, domain names (.com) cost about RM70 each on a yearly basis so it’s really not a big dent in your pocket.

Must I register a domain that ends in .com (dot com)?
It isn’t necessary to register a domain that ends with a .com though .com is the easiest way people remember a website address.

If you cannot get one with a .com suffix, try to register names that end with .net, .org, .biz, and .info. That said, many companies (especially those with huge corporate identities) are registering their same domain with many different suffixes (as in .com, .net, .org, .biz, and .info). They’re doing this to protect themselves especially if a competitor creates a website with a similar name (but ending with a different suffix).

Should I register more than 1 domain name?
It depends. You may want to register more than 1 domain name if you have 1 or more product names you want to promote. You can register different domain names and point them all to one website, or you could register different domain names for different websites that you own.

How much does it cost to register a domain name?
It’s RM70 per year to register a domain name which ends in .com, .net or .org.

How long does it take to register the domain name?
When you have chosen the domain you want and it is available, we can register it within 1 day. This is for domains ending with .com, .net or .org. suffix.

For those who wish to register a (.my) Malaysian domain name, please refer to MYNIC at http://www.mynic.my which administers the name space for the .my domains.

Whom do I pay for the domain name registration?
If you register it yourself (you can do a search for ‘domain name registrar’ at www.google.com), you would need to pay for it yourself. If you need us to register the domain name, Redbox Studio will invoice you.

Must I register a domain name through Redbox Studio?
We don’t just sell domain names  unless you develop your website with us. We bundle domain name registration as part of our website development and website design services when you get a website from us.

If you are just starting out and need a professional website that’s mobile-friendly and easy on your pocket, check out Redbox Easyweb.

It’s a starter website package for entrepreneurs and solopreneurs who are just starting out in business. It makes you look professional and trustworthy instantly and you never need to worry about anything at all. Let us handle it for you. 

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