Securing a domain or domain name is the first step in building your online presence to be found on various search engine platforms such as Google. In this blog, we will cover everything you need to know about domains so you can get started in setting up a website for your business. If you already know the basics skip to another section that will benefit you most:
- What is a domain?
- Difference between a domain name and a URL
- What are domains used for?
- Selecting a domain a name
- The difference between domain and hosting
- How do you pick a domain name? (Quick Tips)
What is a domain?
A domain is part of a web address that users would use to find your website. It is a string of text associated with a numerical IP address of a website that is easier to remember and search. Domains are a foundational piece of the internet’s infrastructure and play a critical role in how users access information online.
Every website has an IP address, or a unique set of numbers that connects computers to web servers. The IP address is great for computer systems but not easy for users to memorize, which is why we have domains. Think about it like your home address. Your friends probably do not know the coordinates of your home but instead they simply put your address into their phones to get there. It’s the same for a website. Users won’t memorize the IP address but they will remember the domain name.
Difference between a domain name and a URL
Domain names are a crucial part of a URL. The most basic form of a domain name consists of two elements, the name and extension. In our case “peraltadesign” is the name and “.com” is the extension. However, if you look at the browser’s web address there are many additional pieces.
- Protocol : Https://
- Subdomain: www.
- Domain Name: peraltadesign
- Extension: .com
What are domains used for?
Domains are not only used to simplify how users find your website but they also:
- Gain ownership & Solidify your brand identity – Domains provide you ownership over your website’s address. Nobody else will be able to claim it once you register it and it grants you total control over which websites point to it, which domain name registrar maintains it, what information is associated with your domain name account, who administers it and finally, whether you want to sell it. Having a domain name that matches or resembles your company name can also help you establish a consistent brand identity.
- Establish credibility and build authority – Having a domain name that aligns with your company name makes it appear more legitimate and professional to users and it helps build trust with visitors so that they feel more comfortable taking actions. In addition to strengthening your brand, domain names can help you predict how likely your website is to show up on SERPS compared to competitors. Typically, the older a domain is, the more authority it has as it takes a while to accumulate quality content, internal linking and backlinking. Authority and credibility increase your ranking on SERPs.
- Be memorable & Stand out against competitors – If your domain is easy to remember, it will be easier for visitors to reach. This may result in more traffic to your website. Additionally, having a simple but catchy domain name can set you apart from your competitors who may have more complicated domains.
Selecting a domain a name
Selecting a domain name is an important task that should be thought through as it will have a great impact on your business over the course of its lifetime.
The difference between domain and hosting
In order to create your website you need both a domain name and web hosting. These two are codependent and oftentimes a company will provide both to you as they provide an essential part of a website’s infrastructure.
Going back to our street address example, imagine the website is an apartment complex, each apartment is a different page of your website. For the apartment complex to even exist, you first need a piece of land (this is web hosting). All files and data that make up your website are stored on web servers which then are sent to users who visit your website. For people to visit your website, they need to be able to find it. Again, you could just share your website’s IP and be done but that’s synonymous with providing your geographical coordinates instead of giving names and numbers to the apartment buildings and suites (domain name).
How do you pick a domain name? (Quick Tips)
There are several tips to keep in mind while selecting your domain.
- Choose a relevant name (try to use keywords) – Your domain name should reflect the content on the website or your business name. Additionally, ensuring that it is easy to pronounce/spell and remember are key as it makes it easier for visitors. If possible, incorporate relevant keywords that describe your business or website’s focus into your domain name as this can improve your visibility on search engine results.
- Keep it short & simple (avoid special characters) – Long complex names may lead to typos and difficulties finding your website. Additionally, it’s encouraged to stick to letters and numbers as special characters and hyphens can be confusing and harder to remember. All in all, we want to make sure that it is as easy as possible for visitors to find your website.
- Check availability & consider extensions – Use domain registration services like SpaceHost to see if your desired domain name is available. You may need to consider alternative names or variations if the name has been taken. Consider which extension is appropriate for your website based on the purpose you are trying to fulfill. While .com is the most common and widely recognized option, other extensions can be more suitable for specific uses (such as .org is more suitable for nonprofit organizations)
- Protect your brand & Trademark – When registering your domain, consider registering variations of it as well to prevent others from using similar names that may confuse visitors and in turn helps protect your brand. Ensure that your chosen domain name does not infringe on someone else’s trademarks as legal issues may arise if your domain name is too similar to an existing trademark.
- Future proof – Be sure that your domain name works with your long term plans. It should be flexible enough to accommodate potential growth and changes to your business or website. In essence, you don’t want to make it too niche that it won’t work if you extend your services.
Selecting the right domain is a critical step in establishing your business’s online presence. It’s important to remember to make it easy for users to find and remember while also staying aligned and consistent with your brand.