Great you picked a unique company name. Now you need a virtual home address also known as a website. You may not need it to last as long as the Pyramids of Altun Ha (image above) Do you want a vanity URL to go with it? Or do you just need a normal friendly URL. You could start small with a Facebook page or a blog on WordPress.com, but if you want to be taken seriously, you will need a website. And it will save you from having to migrate the data from your Facebook or WordPress later. (Migrations are NEVER, EVER, EVER fun, trust me I’ve done lots of them.)
Now it’s time to register your domain. .com is the go to for most english language sites. But maybe you want your website URL to be as unique as your name.
Vanity URLs are growing since the original .com, .mil, .edu, org, .net, .int, .gov have grown into more than 1500 different top level domains (TLD).
Are you opening a brewery or starting a blog about home brewing? Maybe .beer should be your TLD.
Are you starting an IT firm? Maybe .IT should be yours.
What about a television blog? How about .TV?
Back to more researching on the internet. I think whois.net is the easiest place to search for registered domains. Here’s a recent search for wanderonomy.com. If you try a google search you won’t see details on sites that are registered but not active. You may just get an error message. (I don’t plan on paying for wanderonomy.hiphop.)
If you really want to dive into domain registration ICANN has a free course on it!
A vanity URL can come with some added steps and costs. IT is the country code for Italy and all domains registered must be approved by the Italian government and once the DNS entries have been set you can’t change them or transfer to a new hosting provider. So you may need to be very careful about which TLD you choose. Some countries do not allow non-residents or non-citizens to register a domain. Some of this can be finessed with redirects and other technology, but don’t assume that. Check first.
.com is generally the cheapest to register and you may be able to bundle the name with a web hosting package.
CAUTION: Be very wary of domain registrars that bundle services for a low monthly cost. It may end up being much more expensive. Some optional services include registration lock (prevent someone from transferring your domain) and ID protection (hide your real identify in whois – can be VERY helpful if you have been cyber stalked).
A .com domain name is between $0.99 and $16.00 but a .tv is between $25.99-$129, .beer is $20.17-$49. And these are annual renewals!
Reddit has a vanity URL redd.it because they decided .IT was critical to their name/brand.
You may also want to register an adjacent domain name to point to your primary website. You operate at .com but you also register .co which is the country code for Columbia. vs .co.uk which is a commercial website in the UK.
Choosing a web hosting provider is next.