If someone asks you where you live, you’ll most likely tell them your street address. The location of your house could also be expressed as a set of GPS coordinates. This is great for your satnav but not very easy to remember for the common folk.
A domain name is basically your website’s ‘street address’, which looks like ‘www.yourdomain.com’ or ‘anotherdomain.net’, etc. Sure, you could access your website using an IP address (think of it as a GPS system for computers) but nobody would remember it because it’s a set of numbers, e.g. 188.8.131.52. And with the new IPv6 making the rounds it gets even worse because it’s a super-long string of numbers and letters: 2001:0db8:0000:0042:0000:8a2e:0370:7334.
Choosing a domain name
This is a tough one. After all, you’ll be stuck with your domain name for a very long time. Your choice can greatly influence success of your business or project. Choosing a good domain name, in combination with well made SEO, can also reduce your advertising costs.
When choosing your domain name, make sure it is:
- relevant to your product, businesss, project, etc.
- easy to remember
- easy to share verbally (over the phone, for example – if they ask you for spelling, it’s not a good sign)
- using keywords
Avoid using a hyphen to separate parts of your domain name. It may seem like a great way to make your domain name easier to read but more ofthen than not people simply ‘forget’ to type in the hyphen and end up getting an error message or on a completely different website, which means you lost a potential customer ven before they got onto your website.
If your website’s meant for local/national audience, it’s a good idea to register a domain name with national extension. For example, if your website is for people in France, register a .fr domain. German market is well server using a .de domain. However, if you intend to offer your content or services to general public all around the world, go with a .com domain instead.
There are special domain extensions out there, such as .club, .photos, .shop, .me and many others. While they look ‘cool’, there are web browsers, which might initiate a search rather than take you to the website directly if you don’t type the domain name with the http:// part into the web address/search bar.
Places to register your domain name
There are so many companies that provide domain name registration services. Here are a few of the biggest providers to get you started (in no particular order):
If you’re after a specific country domain, you should search for that country’s registrar as they’ll very often be a lot cheaper than the big guys.
WhoIs Privacy is a very handy system of protecting your contact details. When you register your domain name, you are required to fill in your full name, postal address, email and phone number. These details then appear when you do a domain search using services such as who.is. Some domain registrars, such as 1and1 or NameCheap, offer this service for free (first year only).
Domaind name and web hosting combo
Majority of domain name registrars also offer web hosting service. This is very convenient but it has its own risks.
The convenient part is that you won’t have to update your domain name’s DNS records (these basically tell the web browser, which server to go to when the domain name is entered into the browser’s address bar a link is clicked).
The risky part is that if, for example, you go with a small host with almost no company history, you expose yourself to danger of losing both the domain name and your website should that company go bust.
If it’s too much for you to handle
Of course, if this all goes over your head, do let me know. I’ll be very happy to help you manage all aspects of your website, including domain name registrations.