There are two essential elements of every website – web hosting and domain name. Although they are both important for your website, today we are going to focus on the latter.
In a nutshell, a domain name is what people type in the address bar of their browsers in order to access a specific website – hostpulse.net, wordpress.com, etc.
While it might seem like something of less importance than the other tasks around building a website – web design and content, you have to bear in mind that the domain name is a significant part of your business’ online identity. That’s why you have to register a name which is going to represent you and your company in front of your online visitors in the best way possible!
In the following lines, we are going to cover some of the basics regarding what domain name is, how you can register one, some tips for coming up with the best name and why this part of your site is so important for your business.
What is a domain name?
A domain name is what people type in the address bar of their web browsers in order to get access to a specific website, www.hostpulse.net, for instance.
Every domain name is unique and can’t be shared with other sites. Although we used domain name and website in the same sentence, you have to know that they are not the same thing.
Every website has an IP address, which is its identifier on the Internet. However, it would be really hard for people to remember by heart the combination of numbers for every website. That’s why there is a Domain Name System or DNS, which is the phonebook of the internet.
Basically, what the DNS does is to translate your domain name to an IP address so that browsers can load your website. When you access www.hostpulse.net you are actually accessing the server that responds to the IP address of 220.127.116.11, but since humans cannot be bothered to type every time 18.104.22.168 instead of google.com, the DNS system has been established.
It may sound obvious, but you have to register your domain name before start using it. You can buy it from a so-called Domain Name Registrar, which are often web hosting companies as we are. Everything you have to do is to find a registrar that you want to work with, select an available domain name, and pay a fee. In return, the domain name registrar will maintain the domain registration under your name.
What is Domain Registration?
Domain registration is the procedure by which you as a website owner buy a domain name from a domain name registrar like HostPulse, for instance.
When you decide to register your name, you will find out that the market of domain registrars is pretty competitive and you can choose the one that suits you the best. After that, you can look up for the perfect domain name for your business.
However, have in mind that there are more than 300 million registered domains out there. So if you want to register a pretty popular or generic domain name like www.cars.com or www.realestate.com, it might be already taken!
Although we’ve given you some examples with .com extension, most of the domain registrars are offering an impressive list of extensions to choose from. If you are an organization, you could get a domain with .org extension, or if you have a business which is operating only on a local level, you could try an extension like .uk, .de or the market you are operating on.
Whatever you decide, you should be really selective and put quite some time on coming up with the best domain name and an appropriate extension. After all, you are going to build your online identity around it, so make sure you register the best one possible.
Although we’ve been only discussing the idea of purchasing a domain name, you have to know that some platforms like WordPress, for instance, can let you use a so-called sub-domain!
When you use a sub-domain, the name of your website is going to look like yourcompany.wordpress.com.
While it might be acceptable for a blogger or someone who is experimenting with building their first website, we do not recommend it for established companies and organizations!
Today’s Internet consumers are pretty knowledgeable, and they are looking for signs of trustworthiness when visiting certain websites, and the domain name is one of the major ones. You don’t think that a person would make a payment through a website with a www.buyyourcar.wordpress.com domain name, do you?
Don’t expect to pay much money to register a domain name – the prices are between $10 to $20 per year. We can agree that it’s not worth it to risk your company’s reputation for $10 per year, right?
Have in mind that after you purchase your domain name, you need to renew it every year if we say that you have bought it for a year. Otherwise, another person might obtain the same domain if you refuse to renew it.
However, you don’t have to stress over missing the date because every domain registrar will notify you early enough to have time to renew your domain name! What’s more, a vast majority of the web hosting providers offer auto-renewal option in order for you to be sure that your domain will keep on being in your possession!
How to Come Up with a Great Domain Name?
More or less, coming up with a domain name is pretty much the same as choosing a company name. You have to put a lot of thought and consider different things before making the final decision. This will be your online identity, and there are certain steps which you should follow to register a domain name which will fit your business, will be easy to find and promote!
1. Easy to type
Registering a domain name that is easy to type is probably, if not the most important thing for your online success. You have to take that into consideration the moment you start brainstorming your domain ideas. Have in mind that if you decide to use “slang” words or words with different spellings, it might make it harder for your visitors to find you!
2. Keep it short and simple
If we ask you to name five popular domains, we can bet that most of them would be one-word domains. The reason is that they are short, simple, easy to remember, and most importantly, it’s less likely to misspell them! So that’s what your goal has to be.
3. Use keywords
Try using keywords which can describe what type of business you run. For instance, if you are offering luxury sunglasses that could be your domain name – www.LuxurySunglasses.com. Remember that your domain is representing you in front of your potential customers. Don’t let them avoid your website just because your domain name is irrelevant to the business you run!
4. Avoid numbers and hyphens
The problem with using numbers and hyphens is that people might misunderstand them when they hear your domain name – should they type 10 (numeral) or ten (spelled out)? As far as the dash is concerned, people might misplace it. However, if you want to use numbers and dashes, you could register different variations of your domain and then redirect them to the primary one!
5. Choose the right extension
The suffix of your domain name is called extension - .com, .net, .org, etc. They can be used for specific businesses which operate on specific markets. For instance, if you are selling goods on the UK market and offer delivery there, you could use a .co.uk domain extension. If you are operating on the worldwide market, you better choose .com, however, bear in mind that it’s the most used extension and you might experience difficulties finding a short and simple domain which is available. You don’t have to limit yourself to the most popular extensions because there are new top-level domains like .biz, .guru, .photography, .tattoo, .rocks that you could benefit from. Furthermore, they can offer you an excellent opportunity to register a short domain which is highly relevant to your business.
6. Protect your domain name
To protect your domain, consider purchasing different domain extensions as well as mistyped versions of your domain name. This will stop your competitors to register similar to your domain and steal some of the traffic to your website. Everything you have to do is to redirect the different extensions to your primary one.
We think you will find this helpful: Five Essential Steps Following the Registration of a Domain Name
Why is The Domain Name so Important?
Your domain name is going to have a major role in building a substantial online presence for your business. Basically, it will be the face of it!
We firmly believe that you are going to build a well-established business, and as such, you are going to communicate with your partners and customers pretty often.
Although it might seem like a great idea to use some of the free email platforms like gmail.com, we do not recommend it. When you are communicating, you would like to project a professional image in front of your partners/customers and having an email which finishes with @gmail.com is not the best option.
Most of the web hosting companies offer email services which allow you to incorporate your domain name into your email address. So, instead of using a generic email like @gmail.com, you should use professional email – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another reason why your domain name is so important for the success of your business is your social media marketing campaign. Right now, social media is a big part of every business’ marketing strategy, and you would like to capitalize on that as well.
It would be great if you could send your customers to a specific place where they could place their orders or get to know your company better. That’s why it’s crucial to have a domain and a website where that could happen.
Well, the foundation has been laid. Now it is your turn to gather your team and come up with the most catchy domain name which is going to represent you on the Internet. We hope that we answered your questions, but if you still have any, you can always rely on our Support team for help.