What are Domain names and how do you how pick the best domain name for your website?
If you are just starting out online these are some of the questions that you will be asking. In this article I will try to explain what domain names are and the best practices for choosing the right one for your website.
So, what is a domain name? Every device on the Internet has an address assigned to it. This is known as its IP address. An IP address is made up of a number of letters, numbers and other characters.
When you search for a website, you are directed to its IP address.
However, just imagine that you the user had to remember and type in that long list of letters and numbers that make up an IP address. Just think how difficult that would be. Here’s where a domain name-sometimes referred to as a domain- comes to the rescue.
When you choose a domain name for your website, this is what a searcher types into the search bar instead of an IP address. This makes life a lot easier for everyone who is using the website.
How to Pick the Best Domain Name for Your Website
So, you do you choose a domain name the is just right for your site? Let’s see. The most important thing to keep in mind is that you want it to be easy for users to get to your website.
Therefore, below are a few things to take into consideration when deciding on a domain name.
- Length of the name of your domain
- Domain Extensions
- Using dashes, hyphens and other symbols in your domain name
- Domain names cost
- Best places to buy domains
We will look at each of these factors individually.
Why the Length of Your Domain Name and the Extension Matter
“Keep is short and simple. Remember ease of use for your website visitor is your top priority. That’s why you use a domain name instead of an IP keeping address in the first place.
So, make it easy for them to type and remember.
Wpbeginner.com recommendation is, “Keep your domain name under 15 characters. Longer domains are harder for your users to remember”.
Domain extensions. Domain extensions are called Top Level Domains-TLDs for short. TLDs are the domains at the top of a class of domain names.
These extensions or TLDs are the letters that follow the dot at the end of domain names.
Examples of Top Level Domains are .Com, .Net, .Org, .Edu, and a host of others. So why are top Level Domains classes important when you pick your website’s domain name?
Just think for a moment. What is the first extension that you think of when you search for a website? More than likely it is the .com TLD. That is unless you already own a website with a different extension.
Dot Com extensions are the most popular making them the easiest to remember. Therefore, whenever possible it should be your first choice especially if your goal is Internet marketing.
On the other hand, say you are picking a domain for a teaching institution, you would want to get the .Edu extension while a government entity would secure a .Gov one.
Structure of the Best Domain Name to Pick for Your Website
In addition to keeping it simple, there are few things to avoid when picking out a domain
- Keep your domain name one word. Don’t use symbols such as hyphens, dashes and similar characters in your domain name.
- Avoid using numbers. If you chose to use numbers make, use figures and place them at the beginning of the domain-e.g. 3bears.com.
The advice from Namecheap.com is to register both the number and the spelled-out version of the domain and redirect the spelled-out version to your website.
- It is okay to use keywords in your domain name. But be sure they are a natural fit and don’t be excessive in their use. Keep in mind the mis-use of keywords could affect your site’s search engine ranking.
- If you are striving to rank for something like particular location, then it may be helpful to use that keyword in your domain.
These are some examples of great domain names are: Google.com, Facebook.com. and Twitter.com.
If you go to Alexa.com top 500 sites on the web you will see a list of the best domain names examples.
How to Find Which Domain Names Are Available
Visit one of the popular domain name Registrars type in your chosen domain name in the search bar. This will let you see whether your domain of choice is available.
Two of the most popular domain registrars in the industry are Godaddy.com, and Namecheap.com. Simply type in their names to get to their website.
If the name is available you register it by paying the required fees and filling out the information they ask for. After you’ve completed that you’re good to go.
If the name is not available, they will offer you alternatives. And if they are available, they will offer you up sells that you most likely will not need at that particular time.
There is also a huge amount of domain name generators on the Internet whether a particular domain name is available. Go to the website and enter the name in their search box. They will also let you know the availability of the domain name you are interested in.
If it is not available, based on the keyword you enter, they will offer alternative names suggestions.
Type in words relating to your online business and they will return a number of suggested domain names for your website.
In addition, some hosting providers also offer the service of registering your domain when you purchase hosting from them. A couple of these hosting providers are Bluehost.com and Hostgator.com.
But the bottom line is the choice of domain is up to you, so don’t settle. Choose a name that suits your business.
What It Cost to Register a Domain Name
The cost of a domain is dependent on a number of factors. However, the initial cost purchasing a domain is usually between a few cents and a few dollars.
But be warned that when it comes time for renewal, the cost can increase significantly.
As for the initial cost, your hosting provider may also throw in free domain name for a limited time when you sign up for hosting service. You will need to pay to renew the registration when the time comes.
Bottom line is you must have a domain name for your website if you want to be found on the Internet. Some things to consider when picking a domain name for your website are:
- You want to make it simple and easy for your users to remember
- Stay away from hyphens, dashes, underscores and other special characters. Keep the name to One word and if you must use numbers, place them at the beginning of the name.
- Check to make sure the name is available for use before you start using it.
- Check out examples of the best domain names.
I hope you found this helpful. If I missed anything that you think is important, please comment below.