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How to Register a Website for Your Business

A business website can be your most valuable asset. It’s a source of revenue, information and brand presence. There is nothing that can provide your business with the same scope in terms of marketing and consumer access that a website can.

Don’t have a website? You’re not alone. Statistics vary depending on sources, but as many as 36% of small businesses still don’t have a website — that’s millions of companies. If you’re one of those businesses, it’s time to make the change.

The first step to acquiring your website is not in designing the best pages or thinking about layout. The first step is getting your domain name and registering your business website.

What’s the Difference between a Website and a Registered Domain?

A website is interactive digital content that is displayed visually, most commonly available on a computer or mobile device. A registered domain, by contrast, is not the website itself but the location of that content on the internet.

You can build a website without a registered domain, and you can register a domain without having a website, but to have a business resource that people can freely access, you must have both a website and registered domain.

Where Do You Register a Domain?

You can acquire your domain through a domain registrar service. Mint Formations can get your .co.uk domain name for you when you register a company with us. A registrar is a business certified by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) to allow for the registration of web addresses.

How Does Website Registration Work?

When you go to a domain registrar, you’ll find you can only pay for annual registration of your domain, or sometimes two years. Occasionally, you can increase that amount of time but what you will notice is that you can’t just buy the domain and own it outright. You will always be paying for annual registration fees.

Why?

The best way to think about a domain address is like a listing in a directory phonebook. The registration is your placement in the directory so that people can find you. Stop paying and you can’t be found as you are no longer in the directory.

You can’t own any slice of the internet permanently. Instead, what you pay for is the ability for people to find your website using a domain address. Because the registrars do not own the domain name either, they lease it out for you on your behalf.

Can Somebody Take My Domain?

Once you have your domain, nobody can take it from you while you continue to pay for it and renew your domain lease every year. This means you can own your domain long-term. If you keep renewing, there is no reason for the domain not to belong to you indefinitely.

The only way that somebody can take your domain is when you fail to continue to pay for the domain name and it becomes available again. You can also opt to sell your lease contract to somebody else so that they can take up the domain name.

Which Domain Suffix Should Your Business Use?

There are many different suffixes available for your domain name.

You may be tempted to use different domain types to acquire a specific name for your website. For example, example.com might be taken, but example.co.uk could be available. So does it matter which suffix you take?

Learn more about each suffix:

  • .com — The most popular type of domain name, a .com address is designed to cover all commercial addresses and general websites. If you’re looking for a non-specific approach to your business, with opportunities to brand out into different regions and industries, .com gives you diversity.
  • .co.uk — This address is similar to .com except for its geographically-based nature. A .co.uk domain is a general-purpose address, but it defines your business as a service/product provider that either works exclusively in or out of the UK.
  • .org — The .org address is short for .organisation, which usually means it is taken by nonprofits and charitable organisations.
  • .net — The .net address — like .org — has a specific purpose, in that it is intended to serve as a platform for networking and media websites, such as email providers, communications companies, etc.

It’s important to note that you DO NOT have to follow any rules when picking your suffix. You don’t need to be a charity to have .org, and you’re welcome to take .co.uk even if you aren't a UK-based business. But, be aware this can be confusing for clients and customers, given the association they’ll have built with the domain addresses.

There are lots more suffixes available. Such as .London or .io. The important thing to remember is that your suffix matters to the relevance of your business. So if you’re a business in Manchester, a .London domain address is a bad idea. But, if you’re a local London business, it could be your best option.

How to Register Your Website: Step-by-Step

Registering a domain is very easy.

Step 1 — Find Your Registrar

Businesses like GoDaddy , 123-Reg and Google Domains will all allow you to register a domain.

Step 2 — Select Your Domain Name

You cannot have the same domain as one already registered, which means you’ll need to find a unique address. Web registry services have search features to check availability. You may need to think outside the box for your domain name, as with hundreds of thousands of sites registered daily, the competition for a good name can be fierce.

Step 3 — Pay for Your Web Domain

Domain name selected, all you have to do is pay for your address of choice. Once payment is complete, you’ll be given verification of your domain address. You can now use this address to bring people to your website.

When you work with Mint Formations, we’ll manage the process of website registration for you, and also help you along on the next steps of website design and hosting. Find out more and browse our company formation packages.

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