A domain name is a unique name used to identify the computer that controls access to your web site, like myDomainName.com, and is used instead of an IP address, like 126.96.36.199, because it is easier to remember and use.
We will help you with the process of choosing and registering your domain name to make sure the process goes smoothly.
The ideal domain name is short, simple, easy to remember, easy to spell, and contain the keywords that you want to rank well for in the search engines. Some companies decide that it is just too hard to find the ideal domain name, so they compromise on something like Yahoo.com or Google.com and then depend on marketing the website strongly to imprint their domain name on the public.
Most of the best choices for domain names have already been registered, ford.com, jobs.com, website.com... Sometimes they are registered by companies for their own use, and sometimes they are registered by companies that want to "resell" them. Domain names only cost about $10/year or much less if you register larger quantities of domain names, and some of the domain names are resold for $1000s, and some have been resold for over a $1,000,000.
There are many options for TLD (Top Level Domain), including COM, BIZ, ORG, GOV, TV, NET and many others. Some are restricted to specific users, like GOV for government websites, or EDU for educational institutions, but most are available for your use. For most websites you will want a COM TLD because it is the most commonly used and most of your customers will expect a COM TLD. I don't recommend registering NET or BIZ or other TLDs even if they are available and the COM TLD isn't. If you spend the time and money for a great website with a NET TLD, many of your customers will type in the COM version just because they are used to COM, and you could end up sending your customers to a competitor who registered the COM version.
Many domain name registrars provide a "whois" service that you can use to find out if a domain name is available, or who owns an unavailable domain name. Here are a few FREE whois tools from reputable companies: InterNIC, Domain Tools, who.is, and Verisign. At least one disreputable company has been accused of registering for themselves the domain names that customers are checking with their whois tools and then reselling the domain names to their customers at a higher cost.
You will probably want to register your domain name yourself to insure that you control it. Registering a domain name is a simple process, but we will guide you through it to make it even easier. If you host your website at HostMonster they will register your domain name free for as long as your website is hosted at HostMonster. Many of our customers like the free domain name registration because they don't have to remember to register their domain name when it expires, and it's FREE.