Domain names: the case against waiting

Categories Freelancing101

Many is the woxuld-be webmaster with a dynamite idea for a website name to promote their business, but procrastinate because their website is in an early stage of development, or even just in theory. With thousands of web pages created every day, the fact is that creative company leaders like these play a dangerous game by waiting until they have a fully functional website ready for live visitors before they register a domain name in Australia with iiNet.

Staking Your Claim

Registering a unique and memorable name as soon as possible is the only way to guarantee it will be available when your site goes active. Once your domain name is registered, it is yours unless you decide to sell or otherwise relinquish it, and this ownership is in effect regardless of the provider you choose or the time elapsed between registration and site activation as long as your hosting contract is valid.

Avoiding Compromise

Yes, it’s true that webmasters can work around a previously registered domain name by creating a similar address with a different extension, such as “.net” replacing “.com,” with a modified spelling or an added character like a dash or numeral, but measures such as these frequently result in confusion, broken links and lost traffic. It’s always best to secure the preferred rendering of your domain address while you can, as customers can only be as likely to remember your URL as you are.

Protecting Your Brand

If your planned domain name happens to be the name of your business or it makes reference to a highly recognizable aspect of your brand, securing your domain name early is a critical step in protecting your online reputation from a practice known as cybersquatting.

Cybersquatters maliciously purchase domain names containing the trade names of businesses or highly similar terms, harassing visitors with spam, spreading malware to unsuspecting individuals or even establishing false websites intended to discredit the true business. Cybersquatters even hold domain names hostage as a form of extortion, knowing the address is far more valuable to the owner of the business. This practice is illegal, but legally establishing your ownership of the name is question could be a long, expensive and ultimately avoidable affair.

It’s easy for the uninitiated to dismiss domain name registration as something a website only needs in the final stages of development. However, a more informed look at the issue indicates that a domain name is one of the first things a website should have, and the bottom line is there’s no excuse for procrastinating when it comes to domain name registration.

 

Catalin is the founder of Mostash – a social marketing boutique – and he’s always happy to share his passion for graphic design & social media.