What’s the difference between your Web site and a great big site run by, say, McDonald’s? Assuming your site has animation that features happy children waving from the window of a fast-food restaurant, there’s no difference–except that the golden arches are at http://www.mcdonalds.com/, while you may be at a Web address that looks something like http://www.isp.net/users/~yourname/index.html. How did Mickey D’s acquire such an easy-to-remember address? Simple: the company paid for it.

Over the past couple of years people and corporations have registered a flurry of domain names to carry over their name recognition to the Internet. Want to find a big corporation’s Web site? Chances are it’s at www.bigcorporation.com. But if you set up a site through your local Internet service provider, you get a big, unwieldy address. Still, that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with it. It’s just a matter of choosing a unique name – and paying for it. So sit back and ponder what domain name you want to claim as we step you through the process of making your URL your own.