Q: I’ve opened a new business and need a “dot com” email address and website for my business. I don’t need much, mainly the personalized email address for business cards. What is the easiest way to do this?
A: It is so easy to create your own “dot com” address that Rosie O’Donnell could do it. There are plenty of websites you can visit if you want to do this yourself. I believe the easiest and most popular is www.Godaddy.com. Competitors to GoDaddy include networksolutions.com, register.com and internic.com among many others.
The first step in choosing a domain name is to think-up a domain name that no one has yet (i.e.: www.YourName.com). This can be difficult since there are an estimated 125 million websites out there at the moment. Just about any common word or letter combination has already been taken by someone so you will want to come up with as many as you can in hopes of scoring one that no one has thought of yet.. Shorter names are better than longer ones and the easier it is to spell, the better.
Website addresses are organized into a few top level domains (TLD). There are actually at least 19 TLD extensions but the most popular TLDs are COM, NET and ORG. .COM stands for “commercial” and is usually used for business. .NET used to be used for “Network Infrastructure” which usually means internet-related business but is now generally accepted as a “generic” commercial TLD. .ORG used to stand for organizations that didn’t fit into the other TLDs but is now also considered generic. There is no law that says you must choose one extension over the other but the fact is most people expect a business to have a “.COM” address so I recommend that if at all possible.
Once you make your list of preferred domain names, GoDaddy makes it easy to find one that no one has sued yet. Simply enter your choices in GoDaddy’s website and they will instantly inform you if the name is available. GoDaddy will suggest alternatives if necessary. Once you find a suitable name, you can purchase the domain name for a specified time period from 1 to 10 years. The cost is about 9 bucks per year.
Next, you’ll need to rent some space on the Internet that will accommodate your future website and email. This is called “hosting.” GoDaddy has hosting plans starting at $3.59 per month. Once you select a hosting plan, you can use GoDaddy’s “WebsiteTonight” technology to build your website using easy-to-use, web-based technology.
If all you want is a legitimate-sounding email address and do not need a website, GoDaddy has an email-only plan that provides a single email address such as You@YourNameHere.com for $9.99 per year. You can upgrade to more email addresses or a full blown website later on when you business takes off.