What is a domain Name?
A domain name is an identification string that defines a realm of administrative autonomy, authority or control within the Internet. It is used in various networking contexts and application-specific naming and addressing purposes.
A domain name can be any combination of letters and numbers, and it can be used in combination of the various domain name extensions. These names must be registered before you can use it and must be unique. No two websites can have the same domain name.
The importance of Domain Name in a business
A domain name adds credibility to your small business. Having your own domain name makes your company look professional. If you publish your site through an ISP or a free Web hosting site, you’ll end up with a URL such as www.yourisp.com/-yourbusiness. This generic address does not inspire confidence in a customer and since many people don’t yet trust the Internet and e-commerce, you’ll want to do what you can to prove that your small business deserves their money.
A domain name says you’re forward-thinking. Having your own domain name indicates you are part of the Digital Revolution, and it implies that you’re up to date on emerging technologies. Whether this is true or not, having your own domain name might just put you ahead of your competitors.
A domain name adds mobility to your Internet presence. Owning your own domain name lets you take that name with you if you transfer Web hosts or switch to your own in-house server. If you don’t own your domain name, you’ll have to take a new URL, which will destroy the branding that you built up with your first address.
A domain name builds your brand. More than anything else, a domain name can increase awareness of your brand. If your domain name matches your company name, it reinforces your brand, making it easier for customers to remember and return. It will also be easier to win business via word of mouth because customers will remember your name and pass it along to friends.
Tips Before Buying a Domain Name
Here are 10 tips to help you make a good domain name purchase.
- Do your homework
A little bit of research can go a long way when buying a domain name. Find similar sites and check out your competitors’ domain names. A popular domain may have more public resales. You can search by keyword, which helps provide the popularity of certain words in domain names.
- Buy domains that are easy to type and remember
Avoid odd spellings of words, multiple hyphens or other characters, numbers and so forth. Anyone hearing your name should know how to type it. You should also avoid words that have more than one spelling if your visitors are likely to be confused and mistype the name.
Alternately, you can buy both versions of the name and direct visitors from the one you like less to the preferred name. Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool and you want to make it easy for people to tell their friends about your site.
- Avoid slang terms
Pick a name that will still be meaningful in 10 years. This will also help your name be understood and remembered by non-native speakers. Whether or not you intend to do business internationally, this can help with your local audience as well.
- Buy a shorter domain name
The longer your domain name is, the harder it is for people to remember it and the more chance you have of someone misspelling one of the words. Most good single word domain names are long gone, but you can still avoid long domain names by getting a little creative. Think of your domain name as part of your brand, and make sure it matches how you want people to think of you.
- Stick with .com if possible
Most people assume a domain name ends in .com so if you buy a domain name with one of the other extensions (.net, .info, .org, etc.), you’ll have some extra work to get people to remember that your site has a different extension.
- Don’t buy trademarked domains
If your purpose in buying a trademarked term as a domain name is to try to confuse people, you’re opening yourself up to having a complaint filed against you and having to give up the domain name. Even if you’re not trying to create confusion, you’re likely to face some legal challenges by buying trademarked terms in your domain name.
- Don’t buy a domain name that is alike to an existing site
Even if the term isn’t trademarked, don’t buy domains that are just a variation of another domain name. This means avoiding plurals if the singular is taken (mediatemple.net vs. mediatemples.net), hyphenating a phrase (media-temple.net), or adding “my” or some other preposition (mymediatemple.net).
- Hyphens are a mixed bag
Using hyphens to separate words in a domain name makes it easier to read and makes it somewhat easier for search engines to recognize the individual words. However, people often forget about the hyphens when they type domain names. If you do use hyphens in your name, don’t buy a domain with more than three hyphens.
- Avoid numbers
Avoid having numbers in your domain name. People can get confused about whether the numbers is a digit or a word. If you want a number in your domain name because there’s a number in your company name, buy both versions (digit and word) and redirect one to the other
- Check availability on social media sites
When you have a name picked out, go see if that word or phrase is available on social media sites like YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, and Tumblr. Even if you don’t plan on using social media right away, you’ll want to have the option when you’re ready, and it’s easiest if you can use the same phrase on each site.