Do I need a domain name?

GoTo on Etsy
Visit our Etsy shop:
GoTo

Go To Great Panes, Kathryn Maloney ©2012
This post is copyrighted–you do not have permission to repost this content elsewhere but you are welcome to link to it if you’d like to share the information.

“Should I get a domain?”

We often see new shops asking this and there’s only one answer…

yes

You should get your domain as soon as possible and consider it an investment in your business–for about $20 a year it’s definitely worthwhile.

I know many folks will say that you can be successful just having your business on shopping venues/online marketplaces and not having your own website–that you can have a good business selling only on other company’s websites, and while that is true, it is not the end of the story.

Starting with branding, it’s good to get the domain name for your business so that buyers will identify your items with your own brand, not just with the venues you sell on.

You also want to reserve the name so no one else takes it before you do–it’s been known to happen and is easily avoided by registering it yourself and renewing the registration as necessary. (You can choose how many years you’d like to register the name–you can start out with just one year and then renew each year, or choose to register or renew for one or more years at any time.)

You never know when your business will boom and you’ll want to start up your own website, or when you’ll decide it’s more affordable to do more of your business through another venue or your own website’s shopping cart, or when you just want to expand to include your own domain to the places you sell from.

If / when that time comes, you want your previous customers to already know how to find you. If you’ve been promoting your business using your domain address then you are well on your way.

  • Use your domain on your business cards
  • Use your domain on your packaging
  • Use your domain-based email address when contacting customers

If you are doing the above, customers will be able to go to the domain and find where you are currently selling your goods, even if you choose to sell somewhere new.

Even if you never sell directly from your own domain, I think it looks better on a business card than a venue shop address does & you can have your matching email address–a little more professional, making your business more independent.

To have your own domain:

1. You need to register the domain name (you can start with registering for one year and renewing as you go if you want) and
2. either:

set it up to automatically forward to where you sell now or
pay for hosting (if you want to have anything on the domain itself, you can always add this at a later date)

.

The risky part is picking who to register with–you want to do it through a site where you will own the registration, so you can choose where to forward people to or choose which company hosts the website, basically have control over the domain name.

There are some sites out there that will offer to register domains “for you” but in reality they are registering it themselves & letting you use it.

The problem with that is when you decide you’d like to change registration companies or hosting (to find more affordable pricing, better shopping carts, redirect to a different venue, etc), they don’t just give you the codes needed to access the back end of the domain’s registration.

They often charge you a fee for transferring where the webpage address for your site goes to, or they sell you the domain registration when you thought it had already been yours.

Usually sites that do this are a shopping cart service where you pick from a number of pre-fab web site designs with a shopping cart to enter your items, but there are many sites that offer similar service while giving you full control over your domain registration. The trick is finding ones that allow you to edit your own DNS records to point the domain at whichever web host you choose.

The only other really risky thing is easily taken care of by choosing private registration for your domain. If you don’t, anyone on the web will be able to access your contact information using any number of free-to-use websites that offer whois look up services. It might not seem like a big deal now, but if you ever have a problem you don’t want your full name, address, phone number and email address out there for easy pickings.

If you need assistance with registration I can register a domain for 1 year for you (.com. .net, .org, or .info addresses) for $20.00 including one email address, private registration & I’ll set up the address to point at another page (like your shop on a venue like Etsy or Ebay), and hand over all the info you need to take the domain registration and hosting wherever you’d like as soon as it is registered. Just drop me a line:

Email GoTo & mention hosting in the subject line please
(aka Kathy)

That’ll give you a whole year to figure out what you’d like to do with it–have an ecommerce site, blog, gallery, redirect to any place you like… You’ll be able to set it up right away, or wait until you’ve learned a little more on the topic & are ready to forge ahead.

Go To Great Panes, Kathryn Maloney ©2012
This post is copyrighted–you do not have permission to repost this content elsewhere but you are welcome to link to it if you’d like to share the information.

Leave a Reply