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On the World Wide Web your domain name is your own unique identity. No two parties can ever hold the same domain name simultaneously; therefore your Internet identity is totally unique. If you have a business site on the Internet your domain name is your own online brand and in a sense you can use your domain name as your online business card. With your own domain name your website and e-mail addresses for example will have that professional look, being unique to your business. Many people often miss the importance of having and then keeping their domain name until they lose it. Once this happens they soon realize that they have lost their whole online identity.

If you want to preserve a family or genealogy you need a Website and having a domain name for that site helps it to be found and remembered easier. For instance if your name is Rose Maghas, you could try to get the domain name of "rosemaghas.co.ke" so that anyone looking for you online would easily find you. If you have a family Website then a domain name such as "maghasfamily.co.ke" would give it a nice touch. If you are an up and coming author, artist, activist, volunteer or otherwise it would also give you a unique and memorable address with which to promote your causes.

Other primary reasons for a business to register one or more domain names is to protect copyrights and trademarks, secure unique product names and increase their brand awareness with the public.
  • Increases your name recognition
  • Makes it easy for your customers to remember your address
  • Indicates you are a serious Internet player
  • Helps brand your image
  • Adds a level of trust and integrity to your site
  • Many search engines refuse to list pages from free sites
  • Some search engines will only index the first page of a domain site
  • Domain names containing 'keywords' aid in higher search engine ranking
  • Allows you to use your domain address (www.yourname.com) and virtual email addresses (yourname@yourname.com) on your business cards and letterhead
  • Once a domain name has been registered, it is no longer available. The most popular and easily-remembered domain names are being reserved daily, at the rate of one domain name every 5 seconds! At that rate, in the near future, only obscure domain names will be available to the general public.
  • Avoids somebody else from registering the name you want.
  • Lets you change your current email provider and still keep the same email address
  • Protects your Internet advertising investment from failure of your Internet Service Provider

To register a domain name you will need to choose a Registrar. A Registrar is a KeNIC accredited domain registration company. There are hundreds of Registrars on the Internet nowadays. The market is becoming increasingly competitive; which means that you can purchase domains names for a low yearly fee. Most web hosting companies will offer domain registration services to their clients.

When you register a domain name through a web host they will register your domain name for you through their own approved registrar. An advantage to having your web host register your domain name for you is that, they have probably done this process many times before; they have all the necessary information ready at hand. This process will save you time and, as long as you give the correct domain name desired, there will be no unfamiliar dealings with Registrars.

  • Make it as short as possible
  • Make it memorable
  • Make it easy to spell
  • Make it pronounceable
  • Make it a name you can brand
  • Make it non-confusable with another domain name
  • Make it not conflict with an existing Trademark
  • Make it easy to say
  • Make it trust-worthy, not off-beat (i.e. a .co.ke)
  • Make it directly related to either your business name or
  • Make it directly related to keywords from your industry or
  • Make it descriptive of your sites content
  • Consider multiple domain names:
    • obtain similar names to avoid competitors confusing your customers
    • obtain misspellings of your domain name to keep competitors from taking advantage of misspellings
    • obtain names for future offerings (services or products)
    • link to your main site from additional domains to aid in your search engine ranking (major search engines use link popularity in their ranking algorithms)

The key elements of a good domain name are

  • It should convey effectively the nature of your business


    A name such as golfnews.co.ke will immediately give the reader an idea of what the site contains, with no further description. It will also be easy to recall from memory at a later time. But, a warning, you must also plan ahead for any future diversity. Suppose you then decide to provide news about other sporting activities. It would make no sense to set up new names such as golfnews.co.ke/boxing golfnews.co.ke/tennis. The name of your site should be generic in order to allow for future variation. If you had chosen the more general "sportsnews.co.ke" this gives you the flexibility to add sportsnews.co.ke/golf sportsnews.co.ke/boxing sportsnews.co.ke/tennis
  • It should be easy to remember and to spell.


    Think of the situations when you need to convey the spelling of your Url. It could be in spoken format (during a conversation, a phone call, in your voice mail) or printed format (on all your stationery). You want to make it as easy as possible for your customer to record it and to recall it later and, hopefully, to communicate it to others. You need to avoid a name that is too long or one with confusing characters
  • Portability A domain name means that you are free to move to a different web host or ISP and leave the name unchanged. Why would you want to move? Some of the reasons could be:
    • A better standard of support (quick response and competent replies to technical questions)
    • Lower prices
    • Faster connectivity to your site
    • Better tools and features
    Whatever the reason you are no longer tied to your old ISP.
  • A professional image for your company Would you feel comfortable about ordering goods offline from a company based at Flat 4a, Dodgy Street, Cheaptown or about sending an order online to an Email address of perkins23@localisp.com , where there is no way of finding any information about the company such as the postal address. Contrast this to ordering from sales@gbc.co.ke where you have the option of obtaining company details through their registered domain name (via http://www.internic.net/whois.html). Think of the credibility it lends to your company to have a name based on the business: contrast this to a cheap sounding name possibly hosted on a free site.
  • Ease of use for your customer A well chosen domain name will be shorter to enter into a browser and easier to say over the phone or appear on a business card. In addition a customer may guess that your site name is www.[yourcompany].co.ke and reach it successfully.
  • Submission to search engines Some search engines may not accept submissions from free (non-domain) sites

If you have a business site on the web then you should aim for nothing less than a professional hosting site providing first class support, who will give you a domain name - not one which incorporates their own name and hosting services. Although a domain name will simplify your move to another provider if you are not happy, it is best to choose right the first time.

Technical features apart here is a useful rule for choosing any company which provides a service: "Ensure that their level of support is first rate". Do not tolerate automated messages with false promises to respond in 24 hours. Ignore what they claim to achieve and prove it for yourself. Send in questions and observe the quality and speed of response.

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