This guest post is provided by the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA), the organization that manages the .CA domain name registry in Canada. CIRA helps small businesses, entrepreneurs and startups get their businesses online.

Registering a domain name for your website is a big step towards getting your business online. While you might expect this to be a difficult process, it's actually quite simple, inexpensive, and quick.

If you're starting a brand new business, we recommend you pick your domain name first and then build your website. Alternatively, if you already have a website you can assign your domain name to it after.

Follow these simple steps and you'll have a great domain name in no time.

1. Find the right domain name

In a previous post, we discussed how to choose a domain name for your business. Once you've chosen a domain name that you love, search to see if it is available. If it's not, continue to search until you find one that is. You can search for an available domain name on the CIRA website or through a Registrar (more on those in the next point).

If the domain name you want is unavailable, you can search the WHOIS database to see when the registration expires, or to contact the current domain name holder if you'd prefer to attempt to purchase it from them.

2. Choose a Registrar

A Registrar is an online retailer that sells domain names and related services like hosting, email and website builders. This is the company that you will register your domain name with. When you perform a search for a .CA domain name with CIRA, we provide you with a list of our trusted Registrar partners to choose from. Every Registrar has a unique offering in terms of the price they charge, the products and services they sell, and their customer service offerings. With that said, all Registrars that sell .CA domain names are trusted providers that are evaluated and recertified by CIRA every year.

Choosing the right Registrar that meets your business needs is important, since you'll be dealing with them for everything related to your domain name. Here are some tips to consider when evaluating your options:

  • Make sure the Registrar offers the types of products and services you will need. For example, do you need website hosting or professional email? You can use the filters on CIRA's domain name search to see if they offer that service.
  • You may need to rely on their customer service team for help. Do they offer live chat, 24/7 support, toll-free calling, or support in French? These may be important factors for you.
  • Every new business must take budget into consideration. Shop around to get a good understanding of how much your domain name will cost. Also consider what other products or services like hosting, email and websites will cost and if the Registrar offers bundles or packages. Be on the lookout for special promotions. Keep in mind that cheapest isn't always necessarily best.
  • Do your homework. Read reviews, testimonials and ask friends or colleagues about their experiences and recommendations when it comes to specific Registrars. You may find that some Registrars come highly recommended by your peers.

While choosing the right Registrar is important, you can always transfer your .CA domain to another Registrar if you are unhappy or if you find a better fit elsewhere. Keep in mind that there is a small fee associated with transferring a domain and that transfers are not possible within the first 60 days of a newly registered domain name.

3. Register your domain name and build your website

Once you've found a great domain name and selected a Registrar, it's time to register your domain name. Consider registering the domain for more than one year — this may be cheaper, and that way you won't have to remember to renew it annually.

Now it's time to build a website for your business. Building a professional and affordable website has never been easier. Remember, many Registrars offer website building tools for their customers. With a professional website on a branded domain name your business is ready to take on the world. Make sure you keep your website up-to-date and promote your domain name on social media, promotional materials like your packaging, signs and business cards.

Get started today with a .CA domain name for your business.