Your company’s website can have a lasting impact on your customers. You’ll want their first experience to be a good one. But in order for them to have that experience, they must be able to reach your website in the first place. Choosing the best domain is one of your top priorities.
There are two parts to setting up your domain-picking out the type of domain you’re going to use and then creating a name for it that is simple enough for people to remember so that they can access your website.
The type of domain you use will be based on the requirements you meet and/or your price range since you will have to pay to register a domain. There are websites available to help you register.
Types of Domains
This is how the domain naming system is set up and how it all goes together in a URL. If you don’t know what a URL is, it is technically called a Uniform Research Locator. Simply put, it’s the web address you type in that instructs your interest browser to where you want to go.
When you register a domain, a URL is assigned to your website. The URL includes a protocol, domain name, and file name. If the site’s URL is https://www.example.net/index.html, [https://] is the protocol, [www.example.net] is the domain name and [/index.html] would be the file name. The domain name is what you’re going to be choosing.
Not every type of domain is available to everyone to use. Some of them ask for certain qualifications to be able to use them. Like, use by a specific type of institution or even citizens of a particular country. It just depends on which domain ending you’re looking at using.
Top-Level Domains (TLD) Available to the General Public
.com – for commercial purposes
.net – for internet service providers
.org – for non-profit organizations
.info – informational
.biz – business or commercial use
You can also use a country extension like .us or .fr for the United States or France. Country codes such as .cc (Cocos Islands), .to (Tonga) or .ws (Somoa) have open availability. Codes like .ca and .br are only available to citizens of those countries, Canada and Brazil.
Exclusive Top-Level Domains
.edu – for educational purposes only
.gov – for US government departments
.mil – for the use of the US military
When looking into these exclusive domains, check the registration requirements to determine whether or not you’re eligible to use them. The requirements are based on the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (e-CFR), and you must apply for the use of the domain.
Where to Register Your Domain
There are many sites to choose from that provide domain name registration. Some of the most popular ones are:
The amount you’re going to spend on the domain depends on which type you select. On the GoDaddy website, there are four main domains that they offer: .com, .net, .xyz and .store, among others. Prices, for the first year after registration, range from $.99 to $13.99.
Google Domains offers a vast variety of domain name endings with a huge range of prices. For example, the ending .movie costs $320 but .business is only $12, with many in between.
Some of the domains give a price for the first year only and then ask for more during the following years.
Choosing Your Domain Name
Now that you have selected a site to use for registration and have a domain ending picked out, it’s time to begin thinking about the domain name that’ll go in the URL. Grab a pen and paper and start brainstorming some ideas for names.
Begin by writing down the main keyword(s) associated with your website and any other words that are descriptive or identifying of your business and the services or products it provides. At least one of the keywords, or a variation of one, should be used in the name. It shouldn’t be too long or too complicated because you want the address to be easily remembered by people wanting to visit the site. Odd spelling can cause confusion as well, especially slang words. The less complexity, the better.
If your business is in a specific city or state, try including the name of your location in the domain. For example, if you’re a business that bakes cakes out of Orlando, consider using the name, orlandobakery.com, or something similar to that. It helps local customers to find and remember it easier.
On the registration website, such as GoDaddy or Google Domains or whichever one you’re using, search possible domain names to see which ones are already taken. It may be hard to find one available at first because millions of domain names are already registered by other companies, so be creative. Some sites will also help you determine the value of your domain. The value is based on many factors.
Different domain endings have more or less value than others. Abbreviations and hyphens, when included in the domain name, lessen the value and if it contains words that aren’t real or aren’t in the dictionary, that’ll lessen the value as well.
Once you find a name that is available to be registered, do your research and make sure the name you’ve selected isn’t trademarked, copyrighted or being used by another company, to avoid costly legal problems. Check this before officially registering the domain. It’s better to be safe than sorry, if you’re not thorough, you could jeopardize your business.
Also, to protect your brand, purchase misspelled or slightly varying versions of your domain name. This prevents competitors from using the variations for their own sites and ensures that potential or existing customers are redirected to the correct site even if they mistype it.
Choosing a domain is simple to do. Having a creative but easily remembered name to your company website is going to encourage more customers to come your way and want to stick around.