What Is A Domain Name A Quick Overview
Kelly is a former Google Tech Entrepreneur and Apple Developer who has counseled businesses of all sizes and growth stages. You can find her expertise across Fit Small Business in , business website, and business trend content.
You know you need a domain for your website or business email, but exactly what is a domain name and how does it work? In short, domain names are the web address used to locate your site online . Think of a domain name like a mailing address for websites. When someone types in your domain, theyre brought to your site.
However, a domain needs to be first linked to your website to work. If you are planning to use WordPress for your website, you can save yourself time and money by getting a domain through a web hosting provider. The best web hosts, such as Bluehost, cost as little as $3 per month and include a free domain name for free. Whats more, it also eliminates the headache of this connection process by doing it for you.
A Domain Name Has Authority
Hosting your content on a third party blogging or social media platform can seem unprofessional, and undermine your efforts to build a business or professional identity. Since these hosted platforms are often used for personal blogs and other kinds of informal sharing, it can be harder to establish your site as a trustworthy, authoritative source in your niche. Thats where domain name registration comes in. Your own domain name can let potential customers and clients know that youre a legitimate business with long term plans.
Should My Domain Name Be My Personal Name
People who are well known, or plan to be famous, should choose this option. However, if you have an unusual name that is difficult to spell and remember it is a bad idea to use your personal name for your businesss domain address.
Know that your name may not be unique to you alone! It is highly likely that somewhere else in the world of 8 billion people there is a person with your name.
Plus your name may change after marriage or divorce. And, using your personal name as a business name and domain name limits both your branding options and ability to sell your firm in the future.
You should take into consideration if branding yourself through your name will actually work for you because there are benefits and disadvantages both ways.
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Keep Your Domain Name Short Pronounceable And Ownable
If you already have a business name, try to claim it as your domain. This will make it easier for people to make the connection between your business and your site. No matter what name you choose, it should be easy to type and spell.
Be sure to:
- Keep it 15 characters or less
- Avoid slang
- Never include hyphens or numbers
Above all, your domain name should sound like a company name.
Have An Authoritative Email Address
Buying a domain isn’t just about websitesyou can also use them for email addresses. This means, instead of an address that ends with gmail.com or outlook.com, email addresses can end with a domain owned by your company.
You can read about , but it boils down to a few key points.
Branding. Emails look like they’re coming from your company, not from a free email service. This looks more professional.
Control. You can give employees an address ending with @companyname.com, which you can take control of should they leave the company.
Flexibility. You can point your domain to any email service, meaning you can switch email providers without having to inform all of your customers about a new email address.
Need an email host? Check out our list of .
Recommended Reading: Transfer Domain From Wix To Shopify
Understanding The Business Domain
Here are some thoughts about the questions to ask and answer to get a high-level understanding of how a business works.
These questions are fairly high-level and they will lead you to obtaining a big-picture overview of the business model. As you work on specific projects, youll want to dial in more specifically and get more detailed in your questions. This is when creating a project-specific requirements questionnaire is useful.
Best Domain Registrars For Small Businesses: 2021
All prices are for “.COM” extensions. Other domain extension prices may vary.
Data effective 11/23/21. At publishing time, pricing and features are current but are subject to change.*Applies to new customers on their first domain purchase
We verified each brand’s pricingeverything is mostly the same, although GoDaddy increased its renewal costs for .COM by $1.00 to $18.99. We also verified all features and information presented in this article.
We also rearranged some sections to enhance readability.
This article has been updated with the most recent pricing information for 2021. Changes include a minor price decrease for DreamHost and minor increases for Name.com and Dynadot.
We updated this page to reflect recent pricing changes among our top-ranking providers. Though it didnt affect our rankings, HostGators latest .com domain renewal price and Dynadots new starting price may make a difference for some users.
Bottom line: 1& 1 IONOS is the best overall pick since it’s the most transparent with pricing. Google Domains is ideal if you just want something quick and simple, while Namecheap’s user-friendly experience makes the process super easy.
Trying to figure out which domain registrar is best can feel a lot like trying to spot a specific golden retriever in a crowd of golden retrieversthey all seem to have the same features, they all do pretty much the same thing, and unless you know specifically what youre looking for, youll have a hard time telling them apart .
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Have Fun With The Word Domain
Sometimes we want to be lazy when using the word domain because its meaning can easily be determined from the context. In those cases, there is no need to add a hundred qualifiers to the word.
On other occasions the word domain may lead to confusion and arguments about semantics. In those cases, there are two little tricks to keep in mind: can you be more specific about the type of domain, and would it help to clarify the level of scale?
You Cant Build A Website Without A Domain Name
The most important reason for you to register a domain name for your business is that you cannot create a website without one.
As we discussed earlier, your website is the user-facing experience someone receives when they visit your domain name. Therefore, you need a domain name if you intend on creating a website which you most certainly should!
There is an endless amount of reasons to create a website for your business. Here are a few of the top reasons to build a business website.
Consumers are researching you online
Your consumers are searching for information about your business online even if youre a brick-and-mortar business. Its reported that 82 percent of consumers consult their smartphones before making an in-store purchase.
While you might not be able to control consumer reviews on Google My Business, Yelp or other review sites, you can dictate the message on your website.
Following the pandemic, business has pivoted mostly online which increases the need for a website. People are looking for you online, so what do you want them to see?
If you dont have a website, youre at the mercy of your consumer reviews assuming they are leaving reviews.
Your website is open 24/7
There are many limitations to physical stores most notably, the hours of operation. Websites dont have the same problem.
Your website is available all the time and can continue to generate leads and business long after youve locked up for the night.
Its another marketing channel
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How Do Domains Work
Every website has the following two main elements: a domain name and a web hosting server. Your domain name points to the web server that hosts your site.
Keep note that every domain is linked to an IP address. When a user enters a domain name into a browser, the server will search through a global server network that makes up the Domain Name System .
The DNS servers will search for the IP address associated with the domain name. The server that has information about the IP address will return it to the web browser. Then, it will request data about the site from the domains hosting server.
The web server stores all of the websites data, including its files, database and HTML code. Once the hosting server sends the data back, the web browser will convert it into a web page that users can visit.
Picking The Right Domain
Many of the “best” domain names are taken. You won’t find any three-letter domain names available. For example, ABC.com and Go.com are owned by a television network. Enter your last name as a URL and someone probably owns it. Selecting a good domain name means paying attention to the following characteristics:
- Memorable. Choose a name that resonates with visitors and will bring them back.
- Distinct. Pick something that stands apart from the crowd not confusing or conflicting with similar names or businesses.
- Informative. Have a name that helps visitors understand what you do or sell.
- Short. You dont want a name that will be difficult to remember or type.
- Intuitive. Ideally, your name should be one that people would logically assume to be the domain name of your website if searching for it online.
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How Do You Get A Business Domain Name
To get a business domain name, you must first decide the right domain name for your business and then purchase it from a domain name registrar. You can often purchase a domain from your web hosting company, as oftentimes, a website builder technology doubles as a domain name registrar. In fact, the initial domain-registration process and website hosting steps often take place simultaneously when you start your business website. In other words, many companies through which you can register your domain double as web hosting companies.
Make It Easy For Customers To Find You
People have short memoriesthey aren’t going to remember a long web address. Try telling someone your company’s website is at yourbusiness.wix.com and you might have to explain that, yes, there’s a dot in the middle and, yes, Wix is spelled W-I-X. It’s an extra step you’ll have to take every time someone asks what your website is. Not to mention it’s not as pretty on a business card.
Buy a domain name, though, and you don’t have this problem. You can just tell people to head to yourbusiness.com, and you’re done. That alone is worth so much more than $15 a year.
Of course, buying a domain isn’t all you need to have a website the domain name is just the address. You’ll also need to buy so that your website can live on a computer somewhere, and a web host will end up costing you upwards of $100 a year. But here’s the catch: not everyone who runs a business has a website. You might only have a Facebook Page or Google Maps listing. Even if that’s the case, you should still get a domain name.
In the short term, this gives people an easy way to find your profile on those services. You can also use the domain name for a future website, if you think you might build one later. Domains are cheap, and redirects are easy to set up. Just buy the domain name, then look for the “Forward” option offered by your domain name service.
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Add Credibility To Your Business
Having a personal domain name with the right extensions makes every company look more professional. Generic addresses simply dont inspire confidence in clients, therefore making a poor choice would directly reflect on the business that is being promoted. Logically, the customers might think that you are not willing to invest in your business, thus come to the conclusion that your products or services are also low quality. This is a risk that needs to be avoided.
Should You Worry About Domain Squatting Or Cybersquatting
One of the bigger annoyances about buying domain names is dealing with cybersquatters, also known as domain squatters. These are people who purchase domain names of popular brands, people or trademarked brands and “sit” on them, hoping to sell the name back to the rightful owner for a profit.
You can avoid this by securing those top-level domains all at once when you are first looking to secure your business’s domain name.
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Where To Get A Domain Name & How Much It Costs
How and where you decide to get a domain name from will dictate the cost of your domain name. You can register a domain in a couple of ways, from using a domain name registrar for around $9 to $15 per year , for free with a web hosting plan for around $3 to $5 per month , or for free through the best website builders .
Pro tip: Dont make the classic rookie mistake of buying a domain before getting web hosting. Most web hosting plans come with a free domain name. On top of that, it will also save you the headache of manually connecting your domain and web hosting.
Clever Hacks For The Future
The two-letter country codes reveal another use too. Some of them are well-understood abbreviations for vital concepts in particular fields. If the regional registry is on board with unrelated entities buying domains in their zone, there can be fun possibilities if you are in the implied business.
The .IO registry has become popular for projects and companies in a wide variety of electronics-related fields both digital and analog, from the internet of things to modular synthesis. This would be a good match if you are providing B2B IT services or running a technology blog.
In the same vein, companies providing machine-learning software, big-data analysis, or neural-network services have been creating strong domains in the .AI zone, taking advantage of the country of Anguillas moniker being the abbreviation of Artificial Intelligence.
Is this an angle for you to pursue? In any case, have fun exploring the TLD list.
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