Starting a business can be tough—not only do you want to choose the perfect domain name, but also cover all your bases for finding a great registrar, protecting your domain and marketing your business. To help you out, and in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday, we’ve compiled a list of 150 things to remember when starting a business in .CA. As Canada’s original domain registrar, we have a lot of experience to share.
1. Choose an accredited domain registrar from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) — it may be slightly more expensive, but it’s safer.
2. Pick a Top Level Domain (TLD) extension that helps you connect with your audience. For Canadian companies, this is often a .CA domain.
3. Read the fine print, as the registrar is often responsible for drafting the domain holder’s contract.
4. Choose a strong password that you don’t use for anything else.
5. Make sure your registrar takes security seriously, as domain hacks can be devastating.
6. Look for features like 2-factor authentication for enhanced security.
7. Provide the registrar with up-to-date contact information.
8. Make sure your domain name is marked safe in all your email spam filters.
9. After registering, ensure the registrant details in the WHOIS Lookup are properly entered for your domain. Otherwise, you may miss renewals, partnership requests, purchase offers, etc.
10. Make sure you have more than one type of renewal notification set up (phone calls, emails, etc), so that if something fails, you can still be reached through another channel.
11. If someone else is registering your domain for you (e.g. a web designer, business partner or IT person), make sure you are still listed as the registrant.
12. Make sure you have WHOIS privacy service enabled on your site, or anyone can perform a search on your domain and access your personal information.
13. But don’t give inaccurate information when registering, as the registrar can suspend your domain if you do.
14. Register your domain for the length of time that makes most sense for your business. You can usually register domains for between one to ten years.
15. Note that Google often prefers to suggest domains that have been bought for longer periods of time to shorter “doorway” domains.
16. Remember to set a reminder for when your domain is about to run out, because someone may jump at the opportunity to buy it.
17. If you happen to miss your renewal date for some reason, there is a renewal grace period for most domains, but the length depends on the registrar. After the renewal grace period ends, the name is put under a registrar hold for 30 to 45 calendar days, during which time it can be renewed under a redemption fee (usually $100, but it varies depending on the registrar — as with renewal pricing, it’s good to know what your future costs might be well in advance!)
Find a unique .CA domain name
18. Check the WHOis database, which lists every registered domain name in the world — that way you can make sure your domain is interesting, brandable and different from the competition. You can do this right on Webnames.ca.
19. There are over 2.5 million .CA domains registered, but that still leaves lots of room to find a great domain. Be sure to also consider premium aftermarket domains.
20. When you register a .CA domain, special French characters (e.g.: é) are reserved for you, meaning you can use them in any French versions of your site. Merci, CIRA!
21. Check out additional resources for .CA domains. There are many registered domains that are expiring and can be pre-booked for registration.
22. If your desired domain name is taken, consider contacting the holder. They might be willing to sell.
23. If they’re not willing to sell, keep in mind that the original owner might not renew their domain name. It could become available for pre-booking on CIRA’s expiring .CA list, or at auction after the registrar hold period elapses. If the name isn’t bought at auction, some registrars attempt to sell it in a “fire sale” or “closeout sale”.
24. If your domain is taken, it may be available on the domain aftermarket. Rather than registering these domains immediately through a regular domain search, these domains are often sold by domain name speculators (think: internet real estate investors).
25. Many aftermarket names are actually considered premium domains — meaning they’ll be highly marketable and ideal for branding.
Learn more about setting up your domain, optimizing your content for SEO and navigating the Canadian business landscape.
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Webnames is Canada’s original domain registrar and a one-stop convenience for the online needs of individuals, small businesses, nonprofit organizations and corporations. Join the .CA landscape and check to see if your domain name is available today.
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