If you are wanting to start a business or have a presence online, you need to have a domain name. This is how people will find your website. It’s the address they type into the search bar to find you.
This can be a confusing topic when beginners start researching online businesses. There’s talk of domains, domain names, web addresses, URL’s, etc… Simply put, your domain name is your web address, and your web address is your URL. Does this help to answer your question of “what is my domain name”?
If not, don’t worry. I’ll break it down some more for you, starting with an actual definition.
If you’re in a hurry, this is where I learned all about domain names and building my business online.
What’s a domain name?
I chose this definition for you because it was the easiest to understand. Website.com says:
“A domain name is your website name. A domain name is the address where Internet users can access your website. A domain name is used for finding and identifying computers on the Internet.”
All computers have an IP address (Internet Protocol) to find another computer online.
They look something like this: 220.127.116.11.
Can you imagine having to remember numbers like this for each of your favorite websites? Because its too hard for people to remember such a long string of numbers, domain names were developed. These are much easier for people to remember.
A domain name is the unique address to your website. For instance, my domain name is legitimateaffiliatetraining.com. If you type this into your browser address bar, you’ll bring up the front page of my website. It’s like my unique fingerprint that no one else can use.
What’s the purpose of a domain name?
Just as your fingerprint is unique to you, your domain name is unique to your business. It’s your online business card. When you work hard to get yourself known online (branding), you develop an online identity attached to that particular domain name.
Your customers and viewers remember your website name, so they can repeatedly return. This is why it’s so important to renew your domain name registration each year. If you fail to renew, anyone else can purchase the name, and you will have lost your online identity.
For safety sake’s, you can just set it to auto renew with your credit card. Just remember to always keep your credit card and email address up to date. It would be a shame to lose your domain name because no one could contact you.
I found an informative video that may help you as well:
Do you know that some people will have the forethought to buy a domain name of some up and coming trend, then hang on to it to sell later on? Some have made thousands doing this!
How Do I Choose A Name That’s Right For Me?
Once you’ve discovered your niche, you just need to find a name that’s relevant to it. Something that is “brandable”. Let it reflect your personality, or the personality of the business you want to build. It can be serious, or something “catchy” that’s easy to remember.
Examples of domain names may be:
- if your niche is bamboo duvets, you may choose “bambooduvets.com”
- if your niche is building websites, you may choose “uniquewebsites.ca”
- if you run a safari business in Tanzania, you may choose “safarisarefun.org”
Do you see how these are relevant to the niche? The first one matches the target keyword as well. This is a wonderful way to increase your ranking with Google, though I wouldn’t waste too much time overthinking this. The important thing is to choose a relevant name that you’ll enjoy keeping for the long run.
You’ll also notice the extensions behind the name. The .com, or .ca, or .org etc. There are many more options to choose, and those options will appear when you start researching.
Though .com seems to be the most universally desired extension, the .ca is an example of a country code extension.I believe the .org might look more trustworthy for something like a non-profit business.
But the choice is yours. If you really desire a name that’s not available in .com, you may want to choose a different extension. If possible, stick with .com, .org, .net, or your country code. These are the easiest to remember.
I would also recommend you do not use dashes, abbreviations or numbers in your domain name. You want people to be able to type in a “word-of-mouth” description.
For example, if your domain name is luv4you.com (a dating site, let’s say), someone who hears it will most likely type in loveforyou.com. Clever isn’t always smart.
If you’re not sure about a certain name, or it sounds familiar, I would recommend checking into it’s past. Make sure it’s not associated with any criminal activity or trademark infringement. I use the “Wayback Machine” internet archive to check out names. It’s easy and gives you peace of mind.
Does This Name Have To Stay With This Website?
No, it doesn’t. Your domain is not locked to a specific location. Think of your website as a cell phone, and your domain name as the phone number. When you want to update your phone to a newer model, you can keep your phone number and connect it to your new phone.
So if you want to change your website for a newer look, you can transfer your domain name to your new site.
But what if you want to change the phone number to your existing phone? You can do that too. Just purchase a new domain name for your existing website, and all the content will remain the same.
I wouldn’t advise this though, if your website is nicely branded. You may lose your ranking within Google, and potential traffic to your website.
There are proper ways to do this so you don’t lose out on your SEO efforts.
But that’s another article… :).
So Where Do I Buy My Domain Name?
Just as you would research different companies like Telus, Bell, or Roger’s (can you tell I’m Canadian yet…lol), you will want to research domain registrars. These companies are where you would buy your domain name, and register them.
Some providers offer free website building if you register your domain name with them. Or another might give you your domain name free for one year if you sign up for their yearly plan.
There are many providers and many plans. But you should be able to find what you want for approximately $14.95 per year.
Some provider names include Godaddy, Namecheap, and Bluehost. I would recommend you look into registrars that offer:
- Privacy Protection – anyone can look up the owners of a website, through the Who.Is database, if you don’t have privacy protection. That means they have access to your address, phone number and email.
And then comes the SPAM! I would recommend you spend a little more for this protection.
- Free SSL – this stands for Secure Socket Layer. Basically, it means you have advanced protection for people who visit your site. This is especially needed if you sell anything, or store sensitive information.
So instead of seeing “http://legitimateaffiliatetraining.com”, you see “https://legitimateaffiliatetraining.com”. There have been debates that Google prefers SSL, so it may be an advantage to do so.
- WordPress Integration – you want to make sure your registrar offers easy integration with WordPress which is my platform of choice. It’s easy to use and doesn’t require an IT degree in coding!
These providers include hosting, which is the place your website goes to live.
Hosting? What’s Hosting?
Domain names, websites, and hosting all go hand in hand. Think of it as your phone again. The domain name is your phone number. The website is your phone, and the hosting is the service provider. Without a service provider, all you have is a pretty, but useless, phone. It’s the service provider that makes it live.
Same with the hosting provider. Without it, your website isn’t live. All the files that make up your website needs to be stored somewhere so that when a visitor types in your domain name, they can access the files (your website).
OK, we’re getting off track here a bit. Learning about hosting will be in another post. This one is long enough I think!
If you’ve gotten a few ideas for names, try typing them into the link below to see if it’s available.
This post gives you a basic knowledge of what domains are and how to choose one. There is much more to learn if you want to start your own business. It doesn’t have to be complicated. You just need to find the proper training and you’ll be up and running in no time
If you’d like to see where I learned everything I needed to start my business, please read my review below.
So what names have you thought of so far? Please let me know in the comments below. If you need any additional help, just ask me. I’m here to help you.
And if you know anyone who is wondering what a domain name is, please share this post.