What is a domain name?
In simple terms, a domain name is the “address” of a website. A domain name is the URL of a website that typed into a browser to find and access it.
The longer, more technical answer of “what is a domain name?” requires a breakdown of the structure of a domain name and all of the techniques required to make it work on the web. Basically, there’s a lot more to the definition of a domain name than just the name.
A domain name is like a street address on the web. It is essentially what is used by the web to find where your website, emails, etc are hosted. When you register your domain you are creating your own unique online identity. No two parties can ever hold the same name simultaneously; therefore your Internet identity is totally unique. If you have a business site on the Internet your domain is your own online brand and in a sense you can use it as your online business card.
With your own domain your web site, and e-mail addresses for example will have that professional look, being unique to your business. Many people often miss the importance of having and then keeping their domain until they lose it. Once this happens they soon realize that they have lost their whole online identity.
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What is a Domain Name Example?
Amazon.com, Google.com, iThemes.com and Apple.com are all examples of a domain name. As you can see, each domain name is also the name of the business or brand, so you automatically know who owns the website you are visiting.
How does a domain work?
To understand why you need a domain name you first need to know how a domain works.
A domain name is an addressing construct, used for finding and identifying computers on the Internet. Computers use Internet Protocol (IP) Addresses, which are a series of numbers used to identify each other on the Internet; however, many people find it hard to remember IP Addresses. Because of this, domain were developed so that easily remembered names and phrases could be used to identify entities in the Internet instead of using an IP Address.
For example, the domain name FASTDOT.com.au identifies the company FASTDOT When a user types the domain name FASTDOT.com.au in their browser or sends an email to FASTDOT.com.au, the Domain Name System (DNS) will translate the domain into IP numbers. These are then used by the Internet to connect the user to FASTDOT’s web presence.
What should I use as a domain for?
You can use a word or phrase as a domain . When thinking of registering your domain , think of catchy words or phrases that are easy to remember and that will bring more traffic to your site. Try to use a domain name that is relevant to your web site. If your web site is a business site, it is a good idea to use the companies name as the domain name or if your site is a personal site try to think of a name that is related to the topic of your web site.
Also try to keep your domain name as short as possible, around 5 to 20 characters is fine. The shorter the domain name the easier it will be to remember.
One thing to keep in mind is assumed spelling issues; if you think up a ‘clever’ domain name such as 1luv4u.com, One Love For You (dating service), people may type in oneloveforyou.com believing this is the domain ; or oneluv4u.com, or 1love4you.com etc. This leads to brand problems. In this case the ‘oneloveforyou.com’ name would be best. Another unfortunate example: Flo Office Supplies ? flooffice.com?
How Do I Find a Domain Name?
Creating a domain name takes some thought. The goal is to have a name that fits the overall structure and concept of your business. It should have some meaning behind it.
Your domain name is one of the first things people see. Is it something catchy and unique that will stick in people’s heads? Or is it long and forgettable? One of the first steps to having a rockin’ website is your domain name. You need a short and catchy url that people can remember and share with their friends. It needs to be something you can build a brand around.
Why should I keep my domain name registered?
If you loose your domain you can loose your whole online identity.
Because you can only register a domain for a year or so, you will need to make sure that you renew it before the expiry date. Once your domain expires you will no longer own it. Your Registrar will then own it and be able to sell your domain to the highest bidder. To make sure you don’t lose your domain you will need to make sure you renew at least two weeks before it expires.
Also make sure that your information is registered properly, especially if you didn’t register your domain yourself. Ensure that your information is displayed as the registrant, administrative and billing contacts; most importantly make sure that the email addresses for these contacts are ACTIVE. When you receive any information about your domain name, such as renewals, price changes, etc? an email will be sent to this email address. If you can’t receive any mail from the email addresses listed under the domain contact then you are at risk of not receiving important notifications, which could result in loosing your domain.
People often miss the importance of having their own unique name for their web sites. A domain represents you, your company and your online presence; as does a business card. If you don’t have your own domain name you won’t be able to promote your own online identity and web site on the Web.
Tips for How to Find a Good Domain Name
Here are some tips to help you find a domain name:
1. Keep It Short. The longer your URL is, the harder it will be to remember, and the more likely people will misspell it.
2. Make it Easy to Remember. A string of six random letters might be really short, but it’s not easy to remember. Your domain name has to stick in people’s minds in order for them to remember it and tell others about it.
3. Work With Your Brand. If you already have a brand name, you really need to find a URL that works with your brand. People will try to type in the name of your company with a .com at the end anyway, so you might as well go with it. It goes without saying that you don’t use someone else’s brand or brand terms without their written permission. For example, WordPress is a brand, so you can’t use that term in your domain name.
4. Use Keywords. Using search terms as part of your domain name can increase your search engine rankings and increase the chances of people finding your site. They need to fit into the name naturally, though. What keywords would people search under in order to find your type of business? Can you work one or more of them into your domain name without it sounding too awkward?
5. Relevant and Descriptive. It may help if your domain name describes what your website does in some way. It doesn’t have to (Amazon, Google, Yahoo are all good examples of brand/business name domains), but it makes it make it easier for visitors to know what you do, especially if you’re not Amazon, Google or Yahoo.
6. How Does It Sound? Say your URL out loud—is it clear how to spell it? If someone tells a friend the URL over the phone would they have to spell it out? If you did a radio ad would it be perfectly clear how to spell it?
7. Avoid Numbers. Numbers in a domain name can be very confusing. It is never clear if the numbers should be written out or not: 7 or seven?
8. Avoid Homophones. 4 or for? There, their or they’re? Your or you’re? To, too or two? See how confusing that can be? When someone is confused, they usually just move on to the next thing – such as your competitor’s site.
9. Spell it Right. Beware of words that are easily misspelled. If you do use them, buy the URL with the misspellings and redirect users to the correct URL.
10. It’s Dot Com. As much as possible, stick with top-level domains, like .com for businesses and .org for nonprofits. There are all kinds of other options out there, such as .biz, .info and .tv, but they’re just not as accepted and people are likely to type .com anyway. The iPhone includes a “.com” button, which shows you just how widespread .coms are. If you do use one of the other types of domain names, make sure you are using it for a specific purpose.
11. Ask Other People. It’s easy to think you have a killer domain name and overlook the fact that it could easily mean something else. Getting a different perspective can save you some embarrassment.
12. Avoid Hard to Read Letters. Certain letters next to each other can be hard to read, depending on the font, like l and i (lilili) and m, n and r (mnrmnrmnr) or v and w (vwvwv).
13. Buy What You Need. If the URL you love is taken you can always make the current owner an offer. It will cost you more money, but it can be worth it in the end. And it might be less expensive than you think.
Spend some time brainstorming and come up with lots of ideas. If you have a few you like, it might be worth registering them all just in case. There’s nothing worse than spending weeks debating a domain name, finally deciding and discovering that someone beat you to it. However you get there, you need a strong URL that works. It can be something practical that just does the job, or it can be something memorable that helps your site spread. Re-branding your site later on can be challenging, so choose wisely the first time.
So to answer your initial question of What is a domain name, its is your online identity?
Check if your domain is still available: