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Learn How To Register A Domain Name In Zimbabwe, The Correct Way In 2023

This entry is part [part not set] of 10 in the series How To Build Your Own Simple Website Series.

Domain names are an important component of the internet ecosystem because they are the web version of your physical address. They are an identity of your business on the internet therefore, it is important to take time in selecting. Moreover, it is one of the most fundamental aspects of building a website as well as an online presence. In this article I am going to answer these main questions:

  1. What is a domain name?
  2. Why do you need one?
  3. How to pick a domain name?
  4. How much does a domain name cost?
  5. How to Register a domain name?
  6. What to do after registering a domain name?

 

What is a Domain Name?

It is an internet address or location of a website. It is distinctive, easy-to-remember access to websites. A domain is one part of a complete web address. 

 It maps to an alphanumeric Internet Protocol (IP) address which is usually complex for example (124.0.3.2).  Worth noting is that an IP address is a sequence of numbers that link computers to web servers.

As such, a domain name is tied to a website’s IP address so people can effortlessly recall and search for a website by its domain.

In this case, your particular browser can still find the specific web server that hosts the website via the associated IP address. Instead of memorizing a website‘s IP address, visitors simply type in the domain into their browser.   

It typically consists of two or three words separated by dots for example;

pnrhost.co.zw or pnrhost.com or google.com or yourdomainname.co.zw

Thus, as a user, you are able to create a human-friendly domain name and be directed to the websites they are looking for. This is ensured by a Domain Name System (DNS). Therefore, a Domain Name System narrows the communication mismatch between humans and computers by pairing domain names to their IP addresses.

The Zimbabwe Internet Service Providers are responsible for assigning names in the .gov.zw and co.zw namespace of the Internet.  The .ac.zw and edu.zw is for academic institutions in which the registration are being done by the University of Zimbabwe,

TelOne is also listed as the fixed registration for .org.zw which is reserved for use by Non-Governmental Organisations. 

Why do you need a domain name?

Acquiring a domain or domain name is the first step in establishing an online presence that will help you get found by users on Google as well as other search engines. When determining on a domain name it is important to keep it simple, that is something that is easy to remember. If your domain is easy to remember, visitors can search for your organization with ease. 

Domain names are used to establish a unique identity for that reason, they give you ownership over your website’s address hence,  no one can claim it while you have it registered.  

This gives you total control over what website it directs to, which domain name registrar maintains it, what information is connected with your domain name account, who administers it and whether you want to sell it.

A domain that matches or resembles your company name can help you create a consistent online brand identity. 

In order to establish credibility a domain name that aligns with your company makes your website appear more legitimate and professional to users. That builds trust with your potential customers.

It also helps you stand out against competitors by setting you apart.

How to pick a domain name?

If you want to acquire a domain name you must buy one and register it. It is very important to carefully choose your domain before you buy it. Below are some factors you may need to consider when picking a domain for your business.

Make a sound choice on the domain extension

A domain extension is the combination of characters following the period in a web address. It should reflect what your brand stands for. There is a wide range of domain extensions the common one being the .com. in Zimbabwe, we have several extensions which include, .org.zw, .ac.zw, .edu.zw, .gov.zw and co.zw. Of course, these extensions depend on the type of organizations that are set to be registered online as some domains are restricted for specific uses eg .gov.zw is for government-related organizations. 

The general rule is:

– For non-profit marking organizations eg. charities and churches use .org.zw or .org

– For a local company, that targets the local market choose .co.zw 

– For a local company that targets the local and the international market choose .com 

– For educational institutions choose a .ac.zw or .edu

Do not choose complicated domain names

Choose a domain name that is simple to remember and spell. It will help people to easily locate your website  Additionally, ensure that there are no double or hidden meanings on the domain name that you choose. Focus on the shortest name that is available and if possible, keep your domain name below 20 characters.

Ultimately, your goal is to ensure that your domain is easy to spell, pronounce and share. Be cautious of words that have two or more spellings for instance where/were, where/wear etc. It is also important to skip abbreviations unless they are easily understood and essential to your brand.

Avoid hyphens and numbers

These components pose hurdles for users who will attempt to access your website.  

This is because these elements are prone to becoming typos as users try to search the internet for your business website. For instance, if you’re sharing your website via word-of-mouth with clients, it’s also much harder to convey the domain name clearly when it is jumbled with hyphens and numbers.

Align your domain name to your business brand

A good domain name should fortify your brand identity, strengthen your authority and eventually promote your business. It should support your marketing strategy as well as your business’s value proposition. Accordingly, it’s important that your website domain name reflects your business and brand accurately and effectively.

Make sure that your domain name is also attracting the online audience you want.

Include Keywords in the name

In order to ensure that there is more traffic on your website, it is imperative to include keywords in your domain name. They can be in the form of products or services that you offer thus they can be found in search results via Google, Yahoo, etc.  By including your domain name with your audience’s search intent, you not only have a better chance of increasing your digital visibility but you increase the likelihood that they will actually click through on your search result. 

Conduct thorough research so as to avoid trademark and copyright issues

Before you invest and commit too much time, and money, to your domain name, brand, and website, make sure it is not subject to trademark, intellectual property issues, or copyright protections. 

It will be unfortunate when you come up with a domain name that infringes trademarks, hence originality must be maintained. 

How to Register a domain name?

We are now taking a look at how to check for domain name availability, choose a domain name registrar, purchase and register, and renew your domain name at the end of your term.

Check the Availability of the domain name

Obtaining a domain name that is available and accurately represents your business, as well as your brand, can be taxing, depending on how common the name is. You can check the availability of a domain name with a domain registrar, such as Pnrhost or any other domain registrar out there.

Worth noting is that the domain name may be “available” but it will be costly. If you are not financially sound, you should consider the name with alternatives to the .com extension. In most cases, the domain name registrar will suggest similar domain names that are available. 

Even if a domain name is available, you should check to confirm that the name is also available on social media to ensure alignment between your website and social handles.

You can check if your domain is available here: Check Domain Availability

Choose a Domain name Registrar

Even though the cost of choosing a domain name registrar, is consideration, the process is a bit more complicated than looking for the most economical option. A registrar is a company that reserves and registers domain names on your behalf. When you purchase a domain name, either directly from a registrar or through a web-hosting service, it’s registered to the Domain Name System for you.

This is because some low-cost domain name registrars may lack sufficient privacy protections.

However, depending on your needs, you may want to contemplate using the same company to register your domain name and host your website

You may also want to sign up for a web hosting service that also offers domain registration. This ought to be a great way to keep all your website tasks under one roof. You can purchase a domain in one place, and use a different company to host it if you so choose. 

But it is important to read the contract with your domain registrar in these situations as the domain name registration may only be included for a short period of time. Normally, after that period there may be surplus charges involved. Not all web hosting companies give you the option of registering a domain name, however, in this case, you’ll need to purchase and register your domain name with one company and host your website with another company.

Even though there are various recognized registrars, it is wise to stick with more well-known providers. This will make it easier to find information on overseeing your domain and troubleshoot issues you might have with syncing your domain to other services.

The benefit of acquiring a domain from a web-building platform is that set-up tends to be effective since you are only dealing with one company directly. Using services from different companies adds additional steps and tends to be more confusing. Pnrhost is a well-known domain registrar in Zimbabwe. Other registrars include Webdev, Zimhero, and Gethost.

How much does a domain name cost?

The price of domains is not constant, they are paid for periodically. It is therefore pivotal to take note of the starting and the renewal price. Also, your domain extension can alter the cost of the domain.

How to Register A Domain Name?

Now that you know what a domain is, whether you need one or not, the cost price, and the factors you need to pick the right domain for your business, let’s dive into how you can register one. The process is almost similar for all other registrars, so I will just provide instructions for the Pnrhost platform and you can use the same with any other registrar.

Step 1: Visit the domain registration page using this link: Domain Registration Page

Step 2:  Search the domain name and click on the Order Now Button in front of the domain you want to register

Step 3: You will be redirected to the billing system that will capture your details and facilitate the payment.

Step 4: After the payment is done, everything should be set. 

NOTE: You can as well use the live chat button on the bottom right if you want to assist along the way.

Now that I have a domain name, what’s next?

The next steps after securing your domain are:
1. Buy hosting for the domain ( That is if you haven’t bought the domain hosting during the domain checkout process ).

2. Create some emails based on your domain e.g. sales@yourdomainname.co.zw

3. Create and upload your website. You may need help from a professional web developer, but it’s something you can do yourself if you need something simple, just to show your services and contact details on the internet.

Conclusion

I hope you learned a lot from this article. Kindly subscribe, comment, or share

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