Domain Name Basics
Are you ready to take your business online and thinking of setting up your website? Well, the first thing you should do is to choose a suitable domain name for your website.
A domain name is an internet address by which people reach your website. When someone types your domain name into a web browser, your website's pages will be shown. Behind the scenes, the domain name is actually pointing to a physical location - a computer server- that holds your website files. It knows where to find your website by using special DNS computers called "name servers".
Let us see what are the domain naming rules:
- You can register domain names that are a word, a name or a phrase - virtually any combination of characters Your domain name can be as short as 3 characters or as long as 63 characters and the suffix like .com, .net, .org, .in, .co.in, .info, .biz, .us etc.
- Your domain name can not include any spaces and must only use letters, numbers and hyphens ( dashes "-" )
- Your domain name cannot begin or end with a hyphen (dash)
- Domain names are not case sensitive, so there is no reason to use capital letters when registering them. You notice in some domain registration company websites, the domain name is given as all capital letters or case sensitive letter during the registration process. But, the actual registration is made in all lower case letters only. However, when you tell people your domain name, you can use capital letters to make it easier to read. For example, you can use CyberWebService.com instead of cyberwebservice.com
- Your domain name must be unique. There can't be more than one website with the same address. To check the availability of your domain name you can use our 'Check Domain Availability' tool.
- If the name you want is already taken, you may want to check for other variations. For example, if you wanted "www.myname.com", variations of the spelling or word order may help you choose a new domain name. Check availability of "my-name.com" or "mynameonline.com" or "shopmyname.com". And don't forget to check the name with the other extensions like: "myname.NET", "myname.ORG, myname.INFO", "myname.BIZ", "myname.IN or "myname.CO.IN". There are new gTLDs like .CONSTRUCTION, .INSTITUTE, .TAXI, .PHOTOGRAPHY, .RESTAURANT etc are also available which are fast moving now.
Now you know about the domain naming conventions, But, before you rush out and choose your domain name, You definitely want to put some thought into how to choose a suitable domain name. Here are some points to keep in mind while choosing your domain name.
Domain name is your business name
Choose a domain name exactly the same of your business name. If your business name is xyz and your domain name is abc.com which is not your business name, then, imagine if somebody want to contact you, by default they will first search only xyz.com and they will not be able to find your online presence and in worst case, if some other company registers your business name as their domain name then, all your customers will end up with your competitor's website.
Most businesses prefer their domain name to be the name of their company, However, if your domain name does not imply what business you do, then people get confused. When somebody hears your domain name, they should be able to guess what kind of website it is or what product you are dealing with. Domains like abctravels.com and icicibank.com are good examples. We can easily understand from the domain name that they are travel and bank websites respectively. Whereas, the domains like amazon.com and monster.com does not imply what it does. The name monsterjobs.com makes more sense than monster.com.
Make the Domain Unique
Having your website confused with a popular site already owned by someone else is a recipe for disaster. Thus, never choose domains that are simply the plural, hyphenated or misspelled version of an already established domain. For example, Flickr.com traffic is considerably going to Flicker.com because of the wrong spelling domain name.
Make it Easy to Type
If a domain name requires considerable attention to type correctly, due to spelling, length or the use of un-memorable words or sounds, you've lost a good portion of your branding and marketing value. Also, avoid misspelled domain names like domain names using 'z' instead of 's' or adding an extra 'e' or 'i' etc. These are quite difficult to remember.
Short or Long?
Domain Names can have upto 67 characters. But having such a big name is not convenient in many cases. Short names are easy to type, easy to remember and less prone to typing mistakes. This does not mean that you should abbreviate your name and use it as domain name. If you business name is Sri Rajeshwari Academy and if you abbreviate it as SRA.com it is still difficult to remember. So, it is better to have srirajeshwariacademy.com as your domain name. Now the new .academy TLD is available, so you can register a nice a sleek domain srirajeshwari.academy .
If possible, try to get a short name, otherwise go for the long meaningful name. But if the name is as long as 67 characters, you must work on it and get it reduced some how.
Avoid Hyphens and Numbers
Both hyphens and numbers make it hard to tell your domain name to others and is not easy to remember or type. You are going for a hyphenated domain because the one without the hyphen is already taken, so this is harmful to your website, because people looking for your website may forget about the hyphen in your domain name and accidentally end up with your competitors website. Same is applicable for the numbers in the domain name.
No 'The' and 'My' prefixes
If the preferred name is not available, all the domain suggestion tools will suggest you to add 'The' or 'My' as prefix to your preferred name. This will be easy to tell your domain name verbally to others, easy to type and write. But it is not easy to remember. Same like hyphenated domain names, your visitors will go and land in your competitors website.
Go for .com
If you want to promote your business, always go for the .com domain name. People searching for any website will always type the .com domain first. A .net and .org is also acceptable, but not for business domains. .Org domain is for a non-profitable organizaations, and .net is for a network providers when originally it was introduced. But now anybody can register this domain extension if the .com version is not available.
First try to get a .com domain name and if it is not possible, go for other extensions in the order .NET, .CO.IN, .IN etc, but make sure you advertise everywhere your website name along with your business name, so people will not forget the .net extension in your domain.
Do not go for brand related domain names like applephone.com, twitterlinks.com etc. because those names are copyrighted and your website and business will be punished for using such names.
Make sure to visit copyright.gov and check which are the copyrighted names, before you buy the domain name.
Register your domain for a maximum period
If you are happy with your domain name and planning to run your online business for a long time, please register it for the maximum possible period 10 years. In fact, the websites registered for a long period of time have first preference in the search results. Most of the search engines do not trust the domains which have been registered for a year or so. When your domain is set to expire after 4 or 5 years, the search engines trust your website and feel that you are running a genuine and serious business, hence will list your website in the top pages.