Creating an online presence
If you are looking to create an online presence... one of the first steps you should take in order to create your online appearance is to choose a domain name for your website. The choice of a domain name is considered as one of the most important decisions that can help in establishing your business online.
If you are in the search of a good domain name, there are certain things you should consider before choosing a particular domain name. This guide outlines some considerations to help you choose a domain name.
What is a Domain Name?
The domain name is your address on the world wide web.
In 1983, yes, the history of Internet is not very old, the Domain Name System (DNS) was set up so that people did not have to remember a long string of number combinations. In 1990, Tim Berners-Lee released the concept of World Wide Net with the help of CERN and within a month, the first commercial domain name server offered domain name registration services for Internet users. Today, more than 40 thousand people get a registered domain name every day.
Your brand is important, and your domain name is the foundation upon which your online brand is built. In both search engines and social media, the domain name is the primary way by which users can identify to 'whom' the link will lead.
The domain name itself is an alphanumeric unique name that identifies individual websites on the Internet. The domain can be of any length up to 63 characters.
Types of Domain Name Extensions
Domain names have a suffix or extention, also called TLD (Top Level Domain), which is based on the type of organisation it is associated with. The most common one is the .com domain extension which is used by pretty much everyone from large corporations to small personal websites. Examples of TLDs:
- .com (commercial business)
- .net (commercial network)
- .org (non-profit organisations)
- .edu (educational institutions)
- .gov (government agency)
- .mil (military)
You may have noticed that there are country specific extensions. Some examples of country code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs) are:
- .co.uk (UK)
- .de (Germany)
- .fr (France)
Does a domain extension matter for SEO? Short answer: not necessarily. A domain extension doesn’t determine whether or not we are dealing with a high quality site. There are a number of other factors that determine this aspect. However, in most cases, .com is the best choice. This is because .com is the standard, the norm. After all, 75% of all websites have a .com extension.
On the other hand, a country-specific domain extension (such as .co.uk) can have some benefits for local businesses in the UK for example. Country specific domains don’t tend to rank as well in other countries, but it can get you a fair amount of local traffic.
Additional domain name extentions can include: .biz, .mobi, .info, .eu; and there are many more to choose from. In an effort to make the Internet more user friendly to more nations around the world, ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) approved the measure to adopt international domain names (IDNs) in October 2010. ICANN decided that URLs would be allowed with non-Latin characters. This will enable Chinese character addresses, as well as addresses in Cyrillic, Korean, Japanese, Hindi and so on. This is a milestone in Internet history and a multi-language internet is critical to bridging the digital divide.
In 2011, ICANN, the body that governs addresses on the internet, recently made the decision to allow brands and organisations to apply for and manage their own unique top-level domains (TLD). You can soon expect to see domains such as .NIKE alongside familiar domains such as .COM. Brands can now have their own identity at the very top level - as in 'sports.nike', but also a generic terms like .FOOD and geographic regions like .LONDON.
The decision to expand the TLD system was made to introduce greater internet innovation and allow brands to focus on their own identity - especially since domain names are now a critical component of a brand’s identity. That said, we would also voice our concern that large online players might monopolise entire online categories as with the respective applications for .BOOKS and .SHOP.
The success of the new TLDs is yet to be determined. However, with the internet continuing to grow it is more important than ever for businesses to ensure their online presence is in order.
Choosing a domain name for a website is an important consideration when developing your online presence. There are approximately 120-130 million domain names registered worldwide and choosing the right domain name can be a tricky business. What should you consider when selecting a domain name?
Relates to: web design, internet marketing, domain names, seo
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What is the difference between a domain and an URL?
Essentially the domain name (host name) is the overall name of a website, the URL is the extended path ('url' is short for universal resource locator).
The anatomy of an URL:
Hypertext Transfer Protocol
'http' stand for hyper text transfer protocol - the technology used to communicate between web servers and web users. 'https' tells a web browser that there is another level of encryption on the website to protect users.
Domain name of the website
Note, www' stands for world wide web. The .com is the top level domain (TLD).
Page Name / File Name / Path
File name of the requested resource.
Choosing a domain name, what to consider:
The domain name is probably the part of a URL that is most visible; often being communicated in emails, on flyers, business cards, etc.
While one may use any general domain name for their website, choosing a distinctive domain name may prove to be beneficial especially if potential customers can easily recognise it, remember it, and yes, search for it.
5 things to consider when choosing a domain name:
Relevancy to Brand
- Choose a name that suits your business
- Keep in mind your brand and what you offer when selecting a name
- Your domain name should sound like a trustworthy authority
- Consider including a keyword in it to help with search engine optimisation
- If possible, go with a .com and register your .co.uk extension as well
Easy to Remember
- Make it memorable
- Consider the implications of being alphabetically listed
- If you choose a phrase, it should make sense
- Create new words. Many famous websites are based on new words
Easy to Spell
- A visitor should be able to type the domain name exactly as it is with ease
- Do not end and start words with the same character
- Avoid international domain names (IDN) character confusion (ä, ö, etc)
Keep it Short
- The ideal letter length is between 10-20
- The ideal word length is 1-3
- Domain names can be of any length up to 63 characters
- Shorter domain names can easily be promoted through social media platforms
Avoid ‘-‘ and digits
- People generally don’t remember hyphens or digits in domain names
- Avoid character confusion - "0" for "O", "2" for "to", "4" for "four", "u"
Here are some interesting facts:
llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogochuchaf.com - is the longest single word valid domain name in the world with 63 characters!
- The first .com domain name was registered in 1985 (symbolics.com)
- The most popular registered domain name length is 11 characters
- All 3 letter domain possibilities are no longer available on .com