One of the most important business decisions you'll make when opening a restaurant is choosing and registering a domain name.
Domain names are IP (internet protocol) addresses that have been made human-readable. Instead of users having to remember a number like 315.912.7.25 to visit your website, they just enter "company.com."
A domain name is your website's address on the internet. You'll use it on social media, business listings, maps, newsletters, email signatures, etc.
In this post, I’m going to show you how to register a domain name for your restaurant website.
1. Make a List of Domain Names to Register
Make a list of several possible domain names that you'd like to register. Keep the domains under 16 characters and ensure they're memorable and easy to spell (e.g. yardhouse.com).
To safeguard your business against opportunists and cybersquatters, consider registering multiple TLDs (top-level domains) like .com, .net and .org. Also, consider registering singular and plural business names (e.g. ocharleys or ocharley.com?), common typos (e.g. squarespaec.com) and products, services or signature dishes (e.g. whopper.com, frosty.com). Finally, consider future-proofing business ideas by registering them (e.g. uber.com → ubereats.com).
- Avoid domain hacks (e.g. lulus.restaurant)
- Avoid domains with numbers or dashes (e.g. 3-chefs-restaurant.com)
- Avoid domains that form unintended words (e.g. childrenswear.com)
- Avoid domains that sound untrustworthy (e.g. ready2serveyou.catering)
- Avoid domains that are similar to other businesses (e.g. donalddonuts.com)
- Avoid domains that are difficult to spell (e.g. limousineandchauffeur.com)
- Avoid domains that could be trademark conflicts (e.g. loneyplanetrestaurant.com)
2. Choose a Domain Registrar
Choose a registrar based on its features and convenience for connecting and managing domains (see image). I prefer Google Domains because it includes privacy protection, DNSSEC, you can register multiple years, forward domains, get 24/7 support and it easily connects with a G Suite subscription.
To learn about Google Domains and other Google products, read 27 Google Products for Opening and Running a Restaurant.
3. Search Available Domain Names
Search the domain names you'd like to register on your preferred registrar (see image). For example, let's say your restaurant is called Tomo Sushi, but "tomosushi.com" was already taken (see image). What should you do?
What else did you add to your list in Step 1? Did you list several alternatives? You could use .org or .net or a domain like .eat or, .restaurant. Additionally, you could choose a name that accurately describes the business like "tomosushirestaurant” or "tomosushiatlanta."
4. Claim Your Domain Name
Before claiming your domain name, ensure you've spelled it correctly. Most registrars allow a grace period to rename, replace or cancel registered domains. For example, Google Domains will refund registration fees within five days, but you can't receive refunds for more than three domains in a year.
To avoid losing your domain, most registrars set domains to auto-renew. This setting can be disabled. When auto-renew is unchecked, the domain will be canceled at the next billing cycle.
If you already have a domain, but want to transfer it to another registrar, you should be able to keep the amount of time you've already paid for, but an additional year will be added when transferring. For example, if you currently have 6 months remaining on a domain subscription, after transferring it to a new registrar and paying their registration fee – you'd now have 1.5 years left on the domain subscription.
5. Connect the Domain to Your Website
To connect a domain to your website, refer to your hosting company's knowledge base article. Most domains resolve within an hour of connection, but it can take up to 72 hours. If your domain isn't resolving, contact the domain registrar or your hosting company for support.
6. Choose a Default Domain
Once a domain is connected, you'll want to choose a preferred domain. For example, I connected bentosites.com to my website and chose www.bentosites.com as the default domain (see image). All domains associated with my website redirect to www.bentosites.com
7. Enable SSL
Since Safari and Google web browsers now mark all HTTP sites as “not secure" – getting an SSL certificate should be top of mind. An SSL certificate encrypts the connection between browsers and websites to ensure the data passing between the web server and browsers is private.
Most website builders like Webflow and Squarespace automatically generate free SSL certificates. If the platform you're using doesn't offer free SSL, you can get a free certificate from Let’s Encrypt.
You just learned how to register a domain name for your restaurant. Take the time to think of a great domain name and, if possible, consider registering multiple domains to protect your business.
How to Register a Domain Name for Your Restaurant Website first appeared on the Bento Sites Blog by Jeff Shibasaki.