In the real world, we have addresses for our homes, which we give out to people who want to visit us. On the Internet, we have domain names that we give to people who are interested in visiting our website. All the files on your website subsequently can only be reached with your domain name and all files start with your domain as well before ending with the actual name of the file. Web pages are just like rooms in a house. Thus, just like you cannot enter a room without first reaching the house, you can’t get to a webpage without the domain name being in the address of the web page.
Formats for Domain Names
The format for domain names includes 3 parts, the top level domain, the second level domain, and the machine name. The top-level domain is the general descriptor of your website. The most common general description is .com. Other popular ones include .net, .org, .edu and .biz. Some countries have general descriptors known as Country Code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) such as .co.uk for the United Kingdom. There are also some new general descriptors such as .xyz, .store and .marketing.
The second level domain name is the specific or actual name of the website. It could be any name as decided by the owner of the website, as long as the name has not been registered by any other user yet.
The machine name is the www. that is normally typed before the specific name of the website. This isn’t necessarily used in the domain though.
Rules for Naming a Domain Name
An individual interested in a domain name is expected to choose the top level domain from the list of available ones. The most popular is .com and a lot of people automatically choose that. If you have a business in a country or you are developing a website about a country, you might want to check if that country has a top level domain. If they have a top level domain, it will be best to use it.
For the second level domains, here are some rules to follow:
- You can’t use a name that has already been registered by someone else.
- The second level domain should be a maximum of 63 characters and a minimum of 2 characters.
- Can consist of dashes, numbers, and letters.
- Cannot contain special characters such as !, & and ?.
- Cannot contain spaces.
Domain names are generally not case sensitive. This implies that if you type it in all capital, initial capital or small letters, it will still open the website.
Buying a Domain Name
Buying a domain name is generally a very easy process. There are several web hosting platforms that can sell you domain names. As long as your domain name meets all the rules that have been listed above, then you would mostly have to pay a sum between $1 and $20 for the domain name. This depends on the pricing on the platform you are buying from as well as the top level domain type. Countries often have agencies that are responsible for selling their ccTLD types. These agencies are responsible for setting the prices and regulating the usage of the websites registered with the ccTLD.
There are also instances where you might want a domain name that is available for sale. In this case, the owner of the domain name is at liberty to determine how much he or she is willing to sell the domain name for. This could range from less than $100 to over $100,000. If both the buyer and seller are able to reach an agreement, then the buyer could own the domain name by transferring it, despite being formerly registered to a different user.
Tips for Choosing a Domain Name
Your domain name is very important. If it is easy for people to remember your domain name, then it will be easier for them to come back. You don’t want to risk your customers using search engines to look for your business. The competitor’s websites could come up and you could lose your customers.
To avoid this, it is important to use an easy to remember and easy to spell second level domain for your website. Preferably, your top-level domain should also be .com. Due to the popularity of this top-level domain, it is easier to remember it. Furthermore, when they only remember your second level domain, their first guess will be .com for the top level domain.
Make sure it is not too long, the longer your domain name is, the more difficult it is to remember and the longer it will take to type it out. Avoid numbers and hyphens as much as possible. When you use numbers, your customers will be confused as to if to type the number in numerals or spell it out.
These were some of our tips for choosing a domain name if you are a beginner and planning to launch your business online.