What you should know

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A reliable domain name, a reliable professional.

Is the address on your business card a generic one? Well, you better get ready to print new ones. 

It is a bad idea to use free services like hotmail, gmail, yahoo, etcetera for business purposes. If you want to show seriousness in whatever professional activity you do, a good recommendation is to have your own domain name.
Buying a domain is really affordable. You can get it from around 8 dollars.

The first thing you have to think about when shopping for a domain is that there are different categories of domains and within each category there are different kinds of domains that serve a different purpose. In this article I will cover the most important. First, there is the category of generic top level domains, which includes the following kinds of domains:
  • .COM domain: the most popular one used for commercial activities. If you can get a .com domain that sounds good with your organization, do not hesitate on doing so.
  • .NET domain: originated for businesses related to telecommunications or networking, but now it has become a good second option if you can not find a .com available for your organization.
  • .ORG domain: normally used for non profit organizations. You would see companies like greenpeace using them to reinforce the idea that their cause is non commercial. Try typing greenpeace.com on your browser and it will redirect you to an .org domain.
  • Other domains. If you feel that "the best domains are taken", then you could think of buying newer types of domains such as .info, .biz, .name (only for individuals), etc.
  • Restricted domains. There are domains that are restricted to specific types of organizations and therefore you have to prove you belong to that kind. The types of domains we normally see from this category are: .gov (US government), .edu (for educational purposes in the US), .pro (for professionals of some sorts in France, US, UK, New Zealand and Canada), etc.
Since the generic top level domains were the first ones out there and the special ones are mostly focused on the US, a second category of domains was born: the country code top level domains. As you may infer and most likely you have seen, this category of domains is made to represent each country. For almost each country on earth there is a special kind of domain within this category. Here are some examples:
  • Mexico: .MX
  • Italy: .IT
  • Argentina: .AG
  • United states: .US
  • Etc...
These kinds of domains can also combine with the purposes described in the previous category, like this:

Now, if the only thing you want to do with your domain is to receive emails and you run a small operation, then your best choice would be to buy an available domain name through name.com and associate your domain with Google Apps.
This might sound complicated but it is not quite. They have tutorials and technical assistance in case you need it.

What is Google Apps?

It is Google's approach to professional, integrated web applications such as email, contacts, calendars, websites and much more. Luckily for the small business, this service is currently free (and promised to remain free once you get it) when you require 10 email accounts or less for your organization.

So, if you see a domain that suites your needs and properly describes your run a small operation you can get it from eight bucks and get your email hosting for free with the most professional email service on the planet. So, get out there, get it done and ditch that generic email account that makes you look so unprofessional.


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