As you can probably guess by the title, this article isn’t for those of you that already know what you’re going to do with your new web address. Maybe you intend to put a web site on it; maybe you were only looking for a personalized email address; in any case, you bought it with a clear idea of what you wanted to do with it. No, this article is intended for the folks who purchased a domain name because they thought they might be able to find a use for it later.
A lot of people are thinking about going into business on the web; they’ve heard about all the money being made online, and like most people they’d like their share. They’ve also heard that the best domain names are disappearing fast and they want to get theirs before somebody else does. Not a bad idea at all! Domain names–at least those that haven’t already been registered by somebody else–are cheap; but not having the right name for your business is going to cost you a lot. Remember, a domain name is more than just a name, it’s your address on the web and the Royal Road to your business’s front door.
So you’ve bought the domain name you think you might want but you’re not ready yet to put your business website on it. You’re right, there are a lot of things to consider; things like what kind of business and what product line. You’ve got to have those straight in your head before you even start thinking about what the site’s going to look like or who’s going to build it. So take your time; there’s always going to be room on the web for another good widget distributor. Or maybe you’re still developing that “better mousetrap” we’ve been hearing about forever; with the right domain name the world will indeed be able to find its way to your door.
In the meantime, what about your domain name? What happens to it? Well, you can just sit on it while you work on your better mousetrap. As long as you pay your ten bucks or so every year it will be held for you by your registrar who is more than happy to collect the money off the ads that will run on it. That’s right, the registrar will likely get the ad money off your domain name. But don’t let that bother you, unless you’ve got a wow! domain name like sex.com or something similar, the money is apt to amount to a few pennies a year. On the other hand, if you do want those pennies, then many registrars offer you a number of free options with your domain name that you can take advantage of and make that money yourself. Free starter websites, for example. These sites are easy to build; it amounts to little more than uploading some pictures or a video and writing a few lines of text; all stuff you’ve probably done already on Facebook or Twitter. These free sites come with ads for your registrar but the ads are generally pretty unobtrusive and the site’s large enough (generally 4 to 5 pages) to allow ads of your own. Where to get ads, you ask? Easy: Bing, Google, and Yahoo will be glad to put ads on your site and share the money with you.
Building a free site might take a few valuable hours of your time better spent on developing that better mousetrap, but the experience could prove invaluable later when you are ready to build your actual business site even if you’re having it built for you by a professional; it never hurts to know a little about something you’re paying to have done.
Of course, if you don’t care about advertising, you can always create a more personal website to show off your family and pets. Another free option usually provided with your website (get yourself another registrar if you don’t get these options!), is a full-featured email address. You don’t need a website online to take advantage of this. Even if your mousetrap won’t be ready for years, it will help to have your email address already out there and working for you with your contacts. In addition, there are provisions for free blogs and picture portfolios, forwarding and masking (you can redirect your traffic to an existing website with these if you already have one site up and running), and even free sites that offer your domain for sale. Whether you sit on it, earn money with it, or simply entertain yourself, it’s your domain name and might someday become one of your most valuable possessions. In any case, check out some of the free options that came along with it. You might be surprised at what you’ll find.
As should be made obvious by the accompanying photo, Mike Nardine (aka Cheap Mike) is plain vanilla and old as dirt. He is Secret Laboratory’s Technology Editor and has been writing since before the invention of the electric typewriter. His first computer was a 1kb Sinclair; his love-affair with computers began with a Kaypro. He has sold short stories to women’s magazines and has published several books, which are available in Amazon’s Kindle Store. Mr. Nardine has also written a whole slug of book reviews, play reviews, news articles, and consumer-tech stuff for various ezines and The Reader Weekly of Duluth, Minnesota. He presently lives in Rochester, Minnesota with his wife of many years and a fifteen-year-old Jack Russel Terrier named Chloe. Still writing as he circles the drain, he also sells domains and web hosting at CheapMikes.com. Visit Mike and view all of his titles at booksonkindle.com.
Email Mr. Nardine at firstname.lastname@example.org.