Editor’s Note: Evans is a Senior Designer who works in both web and print, driving creative solutions through the Evans Akanno Creative Design Agency. His eye for precision was developed from his background in industrial chemistry and has grown into one of the agency’s unique proposition. Fueled by good music, a relaxed atmosphere for work and an insatiable hunger for web technology, he develops innovative branding and clean websites to grow businesses.
Your domain name is usually the principal web identity for your business and your brand generally. Think about big names like Coca-Cola, Nike or Sony Electronics. What comes to your mind when it comes to their domain names? I am sure you agree with me that even in your unconscious mode, you will assume www.cocacola.com, www.nike.com or www.sony.com as the domain name for the respective company.
With over 140 million domain names registered across the world and with tens of thousands more being registered every day, the odds of getting a single word domain name under any top-level domain (TLD, everything after the dot) are slim unless you are willing to pay premium for your domain name. You might want to look through our domain registration and hosting options .
What is a Domain Name?
According to Wikipedia, a domain name is an identification string that defines a realm of administrative autonomy, authority, or control on the Internet.
Domain names are formed by the rules and procedures of the Domain Name System (DNS). Technically, any name registered in the DNS is a domain name. The domain name represents both the web address of your website and the name your site visitors will use to refer to your website. It is what you see in the address bar after the “www.” in your web browser and what comes after the @ sign in an email address.
Your business and your domain name?
- KEEP IT SHORT AND MEMORABLE: Domain names can be of any length (up to 67 characters) but you should have it in mind that people need to be able to remember your domain name. So, try to make the domain name as short as possible. The general rule of thumb is to keep it under seven characters if possible (not including the suffix). Remember that people may misspell your domain if it is too long and complicated.
- DOT WHAT? There are many different extensions available right now. For businesses, we recommend a .com suffix. It is the first extension that most people try when searching for a website address. Also, since it is one of the oldest extensions, .com shows that your business has been around for a while and that you have a well-established presence on the Web. If you don’t own the .com extension, you are probably missing out on a lot of traffic.
- AVOID HYPHENS OR NUMBERS: The bottom line with hyphens and numbers is that most domains don’t include them. Think about it; people may naturally forget to include the hyphen and will then be directed to the domain of another business. You definitely don’t want this to happen to you or your business. The hyphen can also get lost in translation especially when you have to tell someone your domain name over the phone. The same applies to the usage of numbers in domains.
- DIGITAL IDENTITY: Your domain is your identity. Try and make your domain name as close to your company name as possible if your company name is already well established outside the Internet. Many visitors may try to guess your domain name based on your company name.
- RENEWALS: If your domain is registered for just a year, do set a renewal reminder on your account. Interesting thing is that most domain name registrars have this feature. So, there is no way you can’t miss the information about your domain renewal. You can also consider setting auto-renew for your domain if you are worried about forgetting. Don’t let your domain name expire, or your competitors may snatch it out from under you.
- NEED FOR MORE: Sometimes, it is not a bad idea to register several similar domain names. If you have “yourname.com”, try to register “yourname.net” so that no one else takes it. You can register your full company name and a shorter, easier to remember version. Consider the case of Facebook. After purchasing facebook.com, fb.com was also purchased as an add-on. And if you operate in multiple countries, you may consider registering the respective country domain extensions. All you need to do is to redirect all the different domains to the main domain.
- CHARACTER RULES: Domain names can only use letters, numbers, and hyphens. Spaces and symbols are not allowed. So, make the best of what you have.
In general, when choosing a domain name for your website, we recommend you use a username and a site name that are easy to pronounce and spell.
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