A domain name is the cornerstone of your online presence. It is what your clients identify your business with and a core part of your marketing strategy. Before you can even think of the amazing website you're going to build, you need to put a lot of thought into your domain name because it helps solidify and enforce your brand.
What is a Domain Name?
The term "domain name" will pop up several times during the initial phases of your online presence creation process. The domain name is the address that people will type into the search bar to find your website, and it will also play a critical role in helping you attract your ideal customers.
Domain names are much like fingerprints. Each domain name is unique to a specific website and cannot be shared or copied by other websites. The domain name you select will be identifiable to you, your website, and your business. A domain name could either grow or hinder your business. That's why you need to put enough thought into it.
Why Do You Need a Domain Name?
A strong domain name serves numerous benefits for your new website and online business. Some of the reasons why you need a domain name include:
- It's impossible to launch a website without a domain name
- It adds professional credibility to your website and online businesses and sets you apart from the competition
- It creates awareness and attracts your customers
- It lets customers know what your business is about
- Regardless of where you go or who hosts your website, your domain stays with you as long as you own it
- It can improve your search engine ranking
How Does a Domain Name Relate to My Website?
If you had a brick-and-mortar store, the domain name would be the equivalent of your store address. It is as important to your brand as the business name or the logo. If it can't be found, no one will visit it. Even if you get the website and everything else about your online presence right, but something about your domain name puts visitors off, they'll likely go elsewhere. Case in point – whorepresents.com – I know it's a crazy example, but you would think twice before clicking that domain name, wouldn't you?
A domain name is so crucial, so give it some thought and effort when selecting the right one for your website.
What's The Process for Getting a New Domain Name?
Registering a domain name for your business requires following several steps. You have to follow each step closely to ensure the registration is done the way you want. Things like private versus public registration come into play here.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is responsible for overseeing the entire domain names system. Through this organization, domain registrars can sell and manage domains. There are numerous domain names to choose from, depending on your preference. But first, you need to check if the domain name you have in mind is available.
Search for your domain name's availability
Open the official website of your selected domain registrar and type the domain you want in the search bar. Millions of domains are registered every day, so don't be surprised if your preferred option is already taken. Try adding essential keywords or synonyms to see if you will land on something close that is still available.
Choosing the right domain name
When choosing a domain name, there are a few things you need to keep in mind to ensure you settle on the best possible domain name to drive brand visibility for years:
- Keep it short
- Use keywords relevant to your niche
- Target your audience
- Avoid numbers and hyphens
- Pay attention to the extension (.com, .biz, .net, etc)
Where can you buy a domain name?
Just because your domain name is not available doesn't mean you can't still purchase it. Some sites have specific domain names for sale. This is customarily done to purchase domains perceived to have more value than the standard $15/year. You may have to pay more money for them, but you can find exactly what you want or something close.
Top domain name registrars
Some of the leading places to buy a domain name include:
Qualities of a Good Domain Name
Whether you're lucky enough to get your preferred domain name available or purchase it, before closing the deal and registering the domain, you have to make sure it has all the qualities of a good domain name. These are:
- It should be memorable, catchy, and easy to pronounce and spell
- It should describe the nature of your business
- It should be unique and stand out
- It should make the most out of SEO. Going for your brand name as the domain name is one way to go about it.
- It should be short, preferably under 15 characters
- It shouldn't contain numbers or symbols
- It should use a common top-level domain like .com
Examples of Good Domain Names
If it's your first time choosing a domain name, you may be overwhelmed. Don't worry. Millions have gotten it right before you, and you can too. ;)
If you're still stuck on what the best domain name for your website would be, here are a few examples of excellent registered domain names to get your creative juices flowing:
- YouTube.com – short, descriptive, unique
- Greathomesinsandiego.com – descriptive, memorable, and niche-specific (although a bit long)
- Webmd.com – unique, descriptive, and short
- Google.com – catchy, short, memorable, and descriptive
A carefully chosen domain name creates an excellent foundation for your online presence and makes it easier for you to grow your brand visibility.