including domain name


selection (& registration) information


Choosing your new domain name for your web site and email

This section will help you select an effective domain name for your web site and email address.

Topics covered herein:

Your domain name is your unique identity on the internet, and is a key part of your branding, marketing and mindshare assets.

What is a Domain Name?  
Why do I need one?

A domain name is the internet's root address of your web site and email address. It is unique to you. It contains a name and a type. (in the example,, mydomain is the name and .com is the type.)  Domain names must be registered and then hosted. Registering is like getting a phone number assigned, and having your domain name hosted is like signing up with a specific phone company provider. SherwoodHosting will register the domain name you select as a part of your hosting plan.

All web sites and email mailboxes have addresses. Having your own domain name shows that you are serious about your business, and don't want to look cheap by piggy-backing on some other company's domain name. For instance, you could have a mailbox using the free service provided by - it is a reliable service and offers good features. However, using a mailbox for your business might indicate to some clients that your company is having financial difficulties or doesn't care about being professional on the internet. Plus, all your outgoing messages have a yahoo ad at the bottom.

Some say that soon the entire English dictionary will be registered as individual domain names. If you do not reserve your name (or a variation of your name) soon, it's likely that someone else will register the domain name you want in the near future. (We think the "entire English dictionary" part is a little extreme, but point taken.)

Choosing a Domain Name

Your job now is to pick a name that is still available. It must represent you and be easily remembered and spelled. Although many of the "catchy" domain names are already taken, you'll probably want to have as a part of your domain name your own name or your company name and/or some aspect of the products or services you provide. Think of others in your field - do they use abbreviations, names, product keywords? Keep it as short and simple as possible. Start your search with your last name and your service (e.g., SherwoodHosting). If that's already taken, try variations with your first name or shortened or alternate keywords (e.g., SherwoodWebHosts).

Some rules and tips about domain names:

  • Case doesn't matter (in the above example, SherwoodHosting is the same as sherwoodhosting - we capitalize within sentences just to make it easier to read (parse) for humans)
  • Domain names can be up to 67 characters (including the four characters, for instance, ".com"). The average name is eleven characters, and only 1% of all names are longer than 25 characters.
  • You can choose the type (TLD) of your domain name to be .com, .org, or .net (or a myriad of others!). We offer yearly registration/renewal services and can include that along with your yearly hosting invoice - note that we provide by default automatic renewal at the registrar, so even if you're late with your payment to us, we will renew your domain so it won't expire and you lose it - if you're past 30 days for paying your bill, your account is at risk of suspension. You can register your own domain name and still host with us. (But if you register your own, you are responsible for renewing the registration, and with all best intentions, this can be confusing and risky!) We typically have several cases per month where something went wrong and the client forgot or changed emails and their domain expired because they did not renew through us.
  • In addition to letters and digits, you can use the special character - (hyphen, as long as it's not the first or last character of the name), but the name itself cannot contain spaces or any special characters (other than hyphen).
    So stick with characters that are easy to type, spell (dictating over the phone), and be aware that even hyphens (dash) may confuse some non-internet-savvy viewer. It is to your advantage to promote easy access to your site and email.
  • Test how your domain name will look on correspondence, in ads, in brochures, or in other marketing assets.
  • We will not accept registration requests for domain names that are:
    • in bad taste or of an offending nature
    • misleading or deceptive
See if your choice is taken already

We suggest that you use a tool like Imminent Domains (our tool) to search for and experiment with various proposed domain names. Once you find your domain name, we will register it for you as a part of your yearly invoice, so don't register it yourself with another service-- it becomes messy to transfer it to us, and you will have wasted the fee you paid them. We are happy to provide brainstorming advice for domain name selections.

Select Several to Protect Your Trademark

If you're a small business, select and have us register several domain names for you: these would be variants of your name, alternate phraseology others might use to find you, or misspellings (near-misses) of your domain name. In this way, you can be "user-friendly" for your clients who type in your domain name manually, and lock out your competition from stealing visits from your site.  Note two classic case studies:

  • has registered, among many variants, and in order to be friendly for those who type the URL hurriedly-- they all take you to the Google page, without any error fanfares. Other misspellings/variations take you to adult pages that you don't want to see!
  • 1-800-OPERATOR in the 1980s prompted the famous case of AT&T vs. MCI long distance collect-call services. AT&T selected the phone number 800-OPERATOR (the final R happens to be superfluous, but that's irrelevant to this story), and MCI quickly registered the number 800-OPERATER, and claimed to have gotten 5% of the business due to "misspellings"-- slurping up the crumbs from AT&T's advertising campaigns.

So with the low rates we offer for additional domain names, protect your name against competitor finagling, and provide friendly alternatives for your URL spelling for those viewers in a hurry or with clumsy fingers. Ask us for advice on alternative "spellings" for your domain name.

Select Enough, but no need to go wild

The following are reasons to "cover" your domain name "keyword turf" well. If you don't fall into these categories, you may not need to go too crazy - altho we're happy to help you reserve as many as you wish. You can always cancel them next year (before auto-renewal time). (Note: we automatically renew about five weeks ahead of the official expiration date, so notify us as soon as you know you won't be renewing - it's too late when you receive our invoice, since it's already been renewed another year by that time.)

Reserve additional domain names (similar, common typos, .net/.org, etc.) (only) if:

  • You are a large company and will have widespread branded products
  • You are paranoid that your competitors will try to steal business from you thru cybersquatting (i.e., similar domain names)
  • You feel that your name is common enough that porn sites or look-alike "directory" sites will want to try to cybersquat to gain traffic from your good name.
  • You want to minimize customer aggravation for common mis-typing of your name (so-called fault-tolerant spellings).
  • You have complex side-door SEO strategies where you'll need additional look-alike sites for yourself. (But: careful! search engines are pretty smart to deduct points from your rankings)
  • And, usually no need to get the alternate TLDs .net, .org (etc.) unless again one of the above applies.
  • If you're "stocking up" to broaden your branding in the future, then the yearly fee is "cheap insurance" for holding these possibilities. (You can always not renew later.)
  • You are preparing your business for sale and want to bolster your web presence.


Finalize your choice and let us know

Email or phone to initiate your journey on the web! Be sure to type carefully your domain name, since if you mistype it, there will be a charge for correcting it (it costs us to register a second name).

Your domain name will be registered (it takes 24 hours for the name to propagate throughout the internet, however usually you'll begin to see it after the first overnight) and your account set up (takes us five minutes) according to the plan you choose.

You'll be sent a welcoming email with additional instructions, account name, password, etc., and pointers to our web site for next steps.

Welcome aboard, and happy hosting.



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