A domain name is an address that points to a website that can be used to access resources such as contact details and information. Convenience, efficiency and simplification are the three purposes for having a domain name. Having a domain name means that we, as searchers, do not have to remember the internet protocol (IP) address. An IP address is the long string of letters and numbers that make up a unique code for every device on the internet. When you are in the process of creating a website for your business, the first thing you’ll have to pick is a domain name. Choose one that suits your business, is easy to search and is identifiable across the internet. People often get confused between what a domain name is and a website. We’ve created a guide to help you understand what a domain name is and how you can choose the right one for your business.
Background About Domain Names
What is a Domain Name?
In layman’s terms, a domain name is what you put after the “www.” in the URL bar. For example, anchordigital.com.au is our domain name. To make it easier to understand, if your website were a house, the domain name would be the address.However, the internet didn’t use to have domain names. The internet is a massive network of computers that connect via a network of cables, and each computer on the network can communicate with one another. To identify another computer, each is assigned an IP address, which would look like: 18.104.22.168. Since IP addresses are a series of different numbers, they were hard to remember. This is why domain names were invented. Instead of typing in an IP address to visit a website, you can now just type in the business name.
How is it Different From a Website?
So, what makes a domain name different from a website? The domain name is just the words you put into the URL bar to search for the website, and the website is where you’ll land once you’ve searched. A website comprises files such as HTML pages, images, website builder software and much more.
Different Types of Domains
- Top-Level Domain – TLD
A top-level domain is a generic extension listed at the highest level in the domain name system. There are hundreds of different top-level domains. However, the most common ones include .com, .org, and .net.
- Country Code Top Level Domain - ccTLD
Country code top-level domains are country-specific which end with the country-code extension. For example, the United Kingdom has .uk and Germany .de. Websites use these extensions to target a specific country.
- Sponsored Top-Level Domain - sTLD
A sponsored top-level domain is a category of top-level domains with sponsors representing a particular community, such as .edu for educational organisations.
Why is a Domain Name Important?
There are a range of different reasons as to why a domain name is essential, including:
- It is the first thing a visitor will see when landing on your website. It acts as your first impression. A good and catchy domain name will leave a lasting impression, while a bad domain will turn visitors away.
- It affects SEO.
- It defines your brand.
Pre-made domains are domains that have been created and registered but haven’t been used as business websites. They are distinct and catchy, making it easy for those who can’t think of an original domain name.However, the only downfall with choosing a pre-made domain name is that it requires you to build your brand around the domain name, not the other way around.
Choosing Your Domain Name
So, you know the purpose of your brand and your brand identity, the next thing to do is choose a domain name! Here are a few tips to help you choose the best domain name:
The best way to start is by identifying your brand name and keeping the domain name as close to that as possible. This will ensure people who are aware of your brand name can easily find and identify your website. Most importantly, your domain name needs to be unique to your brand and highlight the name of your brand (if you can).
Include keywords in your domain name if you can. This makes it easier for searchers to find you as well as making your domain display more prominently in the search results. It is often hard to find a domain name that is available that encompasses valuable keywords. However, try to be creative and find a few words that suit your brand.
3. Maintain the ‘.com’ extension
There are many innovative domain extensions such as .fashion and .art that some believe are unique and interesting. However, sometimes these can be seen as untrustworthy. So the recommendation is to keep the .com for the end of your domain name.
4. Keep it short
When choosing your domain name, keep them short as long ones are less memorable and harder to search. Related: Read how website navigation affects user experience.
Does it Cost Money?
You have two options:
- Buying an unused domain name
- Buying an already registered and used domain name
The first option is usually cheaper and can cost upwards of $10 with more catchy, common names costing a lot more. The already used domain names can be extremely expensive as you are buying it off someone that has already built authority and SEO ranking from it. However, in doing so, you reap the benefits.
How to Register Your Domain Name
You’ve come up with a short, catchy and SEO-friendly domain name. Now, you have to register it.
- You can check if it’s available by putting it through the .auDA website.
- Is it eligible? Does it contain the correct numbers and characters to make it eligible? You can do this through the Australian Domain Name Administrator.
- Register your domain name. Use the list of auDA-accredited registrars to find a registrar that is accredited and follow their instructions.
In a Nutshell
Having a memorable domain name is one of the keys to success in building a website for your brand. Of course, there are so many different names you could come up with, but you have to be sure it has relevant keywords, is short and represents your brand. If you’re having trouble coming up with a domain name or building a new website for your business, the team at Anchor Digital is ready to help. Give us a call or send us an email to see what we can do to skyrocket your business to the top of search results!