Whoever’s worked on a website, knows it well: the domain name is extremely important for website credibility and recognizability, and it can even affect its ranking among search results.
But what is a domain name, how does it work, why is it so important and, above all, how can you choose the best one for your website?
That’s what we will find out together in this article.
What’s a domain?
The domain name, shortly domain, is the address used to visit a specific website. It's the part of the web address you find after the // , and after @ in the e-mail addresses.
For instance, in the following URL https://www.websitex5.com/en/tutorial.php, the domain name is "websitex5.com".
As you can see from the example, domain names and URLs are connected, but they aren’t the same thing. For instance, if your website was a house, the domain would be the address (house number and street), and the URL the directions necessary to get to it, or to a particular room.
How does a domain work?
Internet connects to one another services and devices, worldwide. To put it simple, each and every computer, mobile device and web service available online is connected to a unique IP address (for example, 22.214.171.124), the TPC/IP protocol uses this address to identify the device or service and to reach it.
The Domain Name System (DNS) translates these IP addresses into domains, they are easier for us to read and to remember, for instance www.example.org. This process is known as "name resolution".
In other words, while we identify a website by its domain name, computers identify the same website by the IP address: the DNS translates the website domain into an IP address that can be understood and can communicate with a computer.
Why is it important to pick the right name?
Your domain, as mentioned previously, is how your visitors find you online. There are 3 reasons why you should choose a good domain name:
- It makes you look more professional: a customized domain helps brand image by adding professionalism and prestige.
- It is easier to find your website: an appropriate and easy-to-remember domain helps potential visitors find and reach your website more easily.
- It helps your SEO: the domain is important for your SEO strategy.
Now you should be able to understand why you have to pick a good name, easy-to-type and to remember, unique and that identifies with you. Want a couple of examples? amazon.com, apple.com, change.org. Each one has been chosen and carefully analyzed by its owner.
10 Tips For Choosing The Perfect Domain Name
Choosing the perfect domain name for your business or website is crucial and, with the right tips, you will be able to find the one that suits you best.
Here are a few tips to help you pick a domain name that will make you stand out:
- Be clear and concise
Choose a brief and concise domain name, it can help your visitors remember it and type it easily on their browser. Technically, the domain can have up to 63 characters but, actually, it should be between 3 and 12 characters long.
- Make it easy to pronounce
Easy to pronounce = easy to type. You don’t want potential visitors to have a difficult time trying to spell your domain name or trying to remember it after they’ve heard it. Try to keep it simple and don’t choose words which may cause doubts or misunderstandings.
- Avoid hyphens and numbers
Avoid using hyphens, numbers and special characters within your domain name: they could complicate user experience and increase mistakes.
- Promote your business:
You already have a business name, but you do not have a domain? Consider using your business name as domain name.
- Don’t forget SEO
A good SEO tip is to include a relevant keyword in your domain name: this can help both people and search engines better classify your website for a specific topic. But don’t overdo it: add a keyword in your domain only if it really fits in, otherwise it could be considered as spam.
- Avoid legal action
Make sure to search for existing trademarks before registering your domain. You don’t want to build your domain and website only to run into legal issues.
- Creative and appropriate TLD
Top-Level Domain (TLD) is your domain extension, the last part of the address: .com is the most common, but there are many. Consider building a TLD into your domain name both to better explain what your website is about and, more creatively, to create some alternatives if the domain you want is already taken. For instance, .org clearly identifies an organization, .co.uk identifies a country, .travel could be perfect for a travel agency.
- Check social media availability
There’s a good chance you will be promoting your business or website on social media. It’s not a bad idea to check first if the domain you want to register has the same username on all of the most popular social network sites as well, or at least on those that are useful for your business.
- Think long term
Pick a domain name with your future in mind. It’s good to be trendy, but if you want to choose a lasting domain name that gives you a professional image, you have to go beyond that.
- Protect your brand
You should consider registering the most popular TLDs to protect competitors from registering alternative versions of your domain (not only .co.uk for instance, but also .com and all the extensions that could be useful for your business).
How to register a domain name
At this point, you should know what your website domain name will be, and we can help you register it.
Find out more about our domain registration service and discover the domain that suits you best.
With WebSite X5 you get 12 months Hosting included for free and an automatic domain, like name.websitex5.me. Then, once your website’s ready, you can bring it online immediately without extra costs. By using a customized second level domain, like myname.com for example, you could go a step further and have access to the extra benefits mentioned previously, and achieve online success.
But mind you: a huge number of domains are registered around the world every day. The risk for your domain name to be taken by someone else increases every second, so don’t get stuck when you decide whether to activate a domain or not, or if you have doubts on the perfect domain choice. Think carefully, but try to act quickly: in the end, as Google puts it: "An average domain name is better than no domain name".