Registering a domain is usually the first step in establishing a new Web business. As such, new registrants do not generally have their site built or have hosting lined up. So what do they do with the domain in the meantime? They park it.
“Parking” means your registrar puts up a placeholder page at your new Web address until you are ready to launch your new site. A parking spot for your domain will typically be a single page that will contain a “Coming Soon …” message for your site.
Your parking page can also be an opportunity to promote your soon-to-be e-business. You may be able to customize your parked page with a special message for your new visitors, or it may be a static page. This will depend entirely on the options provided by your registrar. Read up on Domain Name Basics.
You can also redirect Web surfers who arrive at your parked page. You can set up domain forwarding, which will send visitors to an existing Web site, or just provide an e-mail address to write to for more information. Be careful when registering multiple domains, however. Unless done properly, search engines penalize heavily for multiple domains. Be sure to handle the redirects with search engine approved techniques, which you can find on Google’s “Analytics Help” page.
Once you are ready to use your domain, you can log in to your registrar’s site and add the appropriate information. You will need to provide two nameservers, which you will get from your Web host. The nameservers are the links between your domain name and the host’s IP address.
Once you submit the nameserver information, domain name servers across the world are notified, and they update their records to reflect the change. After about 72 hours, the new records will have been propagated across the Internet, and people typing in your new domain will be directed to your site. Learn more about Why Domain Names Are So Important.
Of course, not everyone who buys a domain intends to build a site for it. Many people who purchase domains are speculators who hope to sell the name for a profit. Parking pages are useful for marketing these domains. Many parking services will allow you to place a “for sale” ad on your parked page. When someone is interested in purchasing your domain, they can easily find out more information right from your parked page.
Whether you plan to store your domain for a brief period while you design your Web site, or if it is a permanent solution, parking your domain allows you to have more control and display pertinent information about your company.