Your business domain name is your website address. In the digital world we live in, this will usually be your first point of contact for many of your potential employees, customers and stakeholders.
At the same time, you also want your website address to reflect your business. When selecting a domain name, there are some best practices to make your website easier to search and read. Some of these include:
- To avoid intentional misspellings, numbers and hyphens
- Pick something short and can be easily read (to reduce misspelling from your audiences)
- Pick something that is representative of your business/brand
- Choose an appropriate domain name extension (whether it’s .com or .sg or .org)
For new businesses, this can also be a guide to picking your business name/brand.
As for the domain name registrar (i.e. where you can buy domain names) you use, there are a few options (and considerations) before you make your purchase:
Choosing An Appropriate Domain Name Extension
A big decision in choosing your business domain name is the extension – what your domain ends with. It could be a “.com”, “.gov”, “.org”, “.net”, “.edu” and so on. According to GoDaddy, the four most common extensions are:
- .com (indicates commercial use)
- .net (associated with web-based services/ applications)
- .org (seen as credible source of information, but not associated with commercial brands)
- .co (good for businesses, especially young startups marketing themselves on uniqueness and originality)
For businesses that are focused primarily on Singapore, choosing a domain name that ends with “.sg” can be a logical choice as well. This may also be because many domain names ending with “.com” or “.org” may already be picked. Since your business is hyperlocal, “.sg” works well – telling anyone who visits that you have a Singapore presence.
Hidden/ Add-on Costs You May Encounter
On the checkout page when buying your domain name, be sure to uncheck any unnecessary upsells/ add-on services. In some instances, these add-ons are automatically checked.
“Auto-Renew” may seem like a common hidden cost. However, this might be a service you actually want. The last thing any business owner wants to happen is realising your Domain Name has expired and someone else owns it.
Another cost item you want to pay attention to is the “Transfer Out” fee, because domain names can be transferred from one domain registrar to another. Remember to pick a registrar offering an easily accessible domain transfer feature, and not one charging an exorbitant fee to transfer out.
A third cost is for “WHOIS Privacy”. Every new domain must be registered with WHOIS. WHOIS is a database which stores the contact and registration information of domain names. That means business owners can find out who registered which domain name, and even get in touch with them. The database is public, so anyone can see your sensitive data (e.g. home address) if you do not have the basic must-have privacy protection. Some registrars offer it at a premium fee.
Minimum Registration Period
Domain Name Registrars typically allow you to purchase a plan only if you register for a minimum number of years. For example, Exabytes sets that minimum at 1 to 2 years. Siteground needs a minimum of 1 year, and the same goes for Hostinger.
About one month before your domain registration expires, your registrar will email you renewal instructions. They will likely continue to do at regular intervals until your expiration date. After expiration, you have a grace period to renew your domain name at an additional fee. Your domain name will be placed on hold, meaning that netizens will no longer be able to visit your website. For days 1 to 30 after expiration, the renewal fee will be the standard rate, with no added costs.
During days 31 to 60 after expiration, your domain name will be prepared for deletion. During this time, you may still be able to restore your domain name, but there will usually be an additional fee to restore it. That fee varies according to the registrar and extension.
If you still do not renew your domain name, it will be deleted soon after the 61st day. Your domain name will then be available for purchase by others online.
Who Are The Domain Name Registrars?
|Domain Extension Costs, Compared|
|Registrar||Cost per year|
|Exabytes SG||From $21.95|
|A2 Hosting||From $12.09|
It is worth noting that these four registrars also double as web hosting platforms. Web hosting is a service that keeps your website on the internet, available for searching and viewing. Note that web hosting and domain name registration are different from building your website.
|Shared Web Hosting Plan Specs, Compared|
|Specs||Exabytes SG||SiteGround||A2 Hosting||Hostinger|
|Bandwidth||Unmetered||10,000 visits monthly||Unlimited transfer of information from account server to website visitors||100GB|
|Number of email accounts||100||N.A.||1||1|
|Backup||Free (daily)||Free (daily)||Free server rewind backup||Free (weekly)|
#1 Exabytes SG
Exabytes has upward of 140,000 customers around the world. Even better, Exabytes has Instant Website Design, which means their Web Consultants can build a website for you within seven days, complete with consistent sales enquiries and leads. They also offer website maintenance. If, for some reason, Exabytes’ services are not to your liking, they offer a 100-Day Full Money Back Guarantee.
SiteGround is officially recommended by WordPress, which is a big deal given that 42% of the internet is built on WordPress. Siteground’s Managed WordPress Plans include WordPress installations, advanced caching, automated updates/ migrations and plugins. They include a unique performance plugin (Optimiser) and Security plugins. WordPress plugins are software that improves on the functionality of your WordPress site.
#3 A2 Hosting
A2 Hosting stands out from the crowd for its speed. A2 has what it calls “Turbo Servers”, which offer page loads 20 times faster than competing solutions. In fact, many of its accolades have to do with speed. That speed complements A2’s 99.9% Uptime Commitment very well. Uptime measures how often the server hosting your website is up and running (the opposite of downtime). If the server is faulty, your site might not be visible to netizens. A2 Hosting’s speed matters if you want higher conversion rate, lower bounce rates and better SEO rankings for your site.
For the adventurous, Hostinger has recently added Zyro to their inventory. Zyro further simplifies building your website. Before you even receive visitors to your site, Zyro helps you predict user preferences, so you know how to influence their buying decisions. That sounds impossible, but Zyro predicts user behaviour and maximises conversions using AI. Heatmaps (powered by the AI) is a tools which will tell you how much attention visitors will pay to which elements of your site. You can arrange the call-to-action buttons and visual elements of your site accordingly.
What If Someone Already Owns The Domain Name I Want?
If the domain name you want is taken, you can offer a premium bidding price for it in auctions such as GoDaddy Auctions. Auctions can be sorted by such filters as popularity, fixed price, expiration date and alphabetical order. Alternatively, you can use websites like SnapNames to see, on a daily basis, which domains have just become available.
New startups can also use these websites to suss out any competing brands out there. This helps startups decide how best to make their brand name stand out from the competition. Additionally, having your domain name snapped up is also an indicator that another business may own copyright and trademarks associated with your brand/ business.
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