A domain name is an identification string that defines a realm of administrative autonomy, authority or control within the Internet. Domain names are formed by the rules and procedures of the Domain Name System (DNS). Any name registered in the DNS is a domain name. As per Wikipedia.
The statement above clarifies what a domain name is. Famous examples are www.google.com and www.facebook.com.
Think of a domain name as your online street address. Technically, your IP address will lead a customer to you, but the domain name is the way they can get to you. So, while the website is like your online shop, people get to find you with your domain name. Therefore, it is the first step to getting your online presence and growing your brand using the internet.
Thanks to the Domain Name System (DNS), visitors won’t need to memorize your IP address. Instead, they use your domain name, making the registration process vital because it will become more than just a street address; it becomes part of your brand.
There are some opinions that domains don’t affect SEO. However, this is a misinterpretation because, as you already know, a good or dictionary word is searched more often in search engines than a random word. Thus it makes it a brand with more searches and rankings because of its credibility, along with Google having more than 200 ranking factors, including domain elements. Therefore, choosing an SEO-friendly domain name is necessary and is not a meaningless job. Then let’s move on to how to select a great domain name.
Choosing a General Top Level Domain name (TLD)
1. Memorable Domain Name
Please make sure that your domain name is unique and easy to remember. It is supposed that your domain name was informed to a potential customer at a conference. Will they be able to remember it in a few days accurately? That can happen if your domain name is unforgettable. The domain name is considered to be memorable by the following criteria:
- Brief, simple, easy to write, read, and remember.
- General reflecting on a topic that you’re doing.
- Unique, separate, and available.
- Don’t contain numbers and hyphens.
- Legally protect.
Here are three ways to choose memorable domain names:
- Descriptive words: to make the domain name related to your site’s content. You first need to describe the topic and tell customers what your website is talking about. And think of what you want to provide to users. Then write topical keywords and find synonyms and antonyms related to that thematic keywords. Finally, to put the words right back together.
- Brand name: The second method is to create your brand name, which is easier to remember than the keyword description because of being unique. To create something special, try techniques such as word mixture, blending, truncation, affixes addition, foreign words used… However, more advertisement about your services is necessary if you prefer this second way.
- Yourname.com: You can also build a name for yourself. However, this type often is used by bloggers.
2. Your Keyword
Domain names with all keywords contained express unprofessional and crude. According to a survey done in 2013, using keywords in the domain name accounted for 6.98% / of all Google ranking factors. Now, this figure is declining and becoming a myth. However, it is still appreciated if your domain name has natural keywords. Below I will introduce the different types of keyword-rich domain names:
- EMDs (Exact Match Domains): It includes all keywords you want to rank your site. It is representative of the best SEO. However, branding is not included.
- PMDs (Partial Match Domains): Include some keywords that you want to rank. It still has the benefit of SEO and no brand name in the domain.
- No Domain matching: It doesn’t include keywords. It has little direct SEO benefit but brings long-term SEO benefits.
And Google still recommends you should build by brand.
3. Domain Extension
When buying a domain name, you need to care about Generic Top Level Domains (gTLD). These gTLD doesn’t target specific countries, and they will be more known. So it will help you compete and spread your brand. In this case, the following Generic Top Level Domains should be used (Google recommends):
- .aero (for aerospace-related fields).
- .biz (for business websites).
- .cat (use to highlight the Catalan language and culture).
- .com (the most popular).
- .COOP (use of cooperatives).
- .edu (for education organizations).
- .gov (for Government organizations).
- .info (for providing information websites).
- .int (use for international organizations).
- .jobs (for employment-related sites).
- .mil (for military).
- .mobi (for websites related to mobile services).
- .museum (for museums).
- .name (only used for the personal name).
- .net (for network).
- .org (for organizations).
- .pro (for organizations and individuals active in the field of highly specialized).
- .tel (use in the field of online telephone directories).
- .travel (use in the travel industry).
Besides, if you just want to compete in a single country, you can use domain extension for specific countries such as: .us, .au, .br, .ca, .cc, .ck, .etc. It helps Google understand that your goal is to high rank in Google of that country.
It would be best if you did not use hyphens in your domain. Because spam websites generally use domain names with hyphens contained. Then, try to avoid it and not make Google misunderstand your site as spam.
5. Trademarked Domains
If your website uses “WordPress,” you should not register trademarks for a domain because it is forbidden.
6. Domain Registrations Length
According To Matt Cutts from Google:
To the best of my knowledge, no search engine has ever confirmed that they use length of registration as a factor in scoring….
Choosing a .ccTLD domain name
Choosing your .ccTLD domain name can be a bit overwhelming, just like any other domain name. But you can make the exercise easier by following either of the two practices. The first is to use your business or brand name. This method makes perfect sense as it has a lot of SEO benefits since Google favors the brand a lot.
However, if the brand name is unavailable, what you do is incorporate a keyword that is related to your niche. These are referred to as keyword domains, and although they no longer have substantial SEO weight as they used to, they are still of immense help as solid sources of relevancy signals.
Also, they help in marketing and conversion because of their descriptive nature. For instance, a domain name like medic.pk shows users what you do. That way, you can even have it on your business card, which speaks volumes about your site and encourages more clicks. Most of the top domain name generators will have you enter just a seed name, and they will generate domain name ideas for you in minutes.
While choosing the ccTLD name, there are a couple of things to consider:
- Length: best practice is to leave your domain name below 15 characters. People remember them better when they are short. This is why some websites use their business name abbreviations as a domain names. The key is to figure out which nickname your users will prefer.
- Spelling: if your customers don’t misspell your business name, then while registering your domain name, also register misspellings. That way, you can easily direct the traffic from there to your leading site. If you don’t do that, your competition might cut off half of your traffic.
- Target: it is essential to register the domain name of your place of business, and since that is your home country, you can register any ccTLD available. You can also consider a generic name for your company alongside a .ccTLD domain name. For instance, you now have .pizza or .lawyer to choose from. Although, that kind can be counterproductive as they seem spammy.
- Legal: there are many big brands, and you might get your hands on an available domain name similar to their trademark. It applies to even brands outside the country, and registering such domain names can land you in big trouble that can translate into thousands of dollars in the form of infringement.
If you are done picking a domain name, the next thing to check is if it is available. There are many tools available to check if your domain name is available. Tools are mentioned at the start of the article.
Apart from being up to 18 years of age, a registrant for a domain name is required to provide the domain name they have chosen. However, some registrars have tools on their websites where you search for domain name ideas and then register them. In the same way, most domain name generators allow you to register after choosing a name quickly.
You will also need to provide your name. You must provide your name and company, as insignificant as it might sound. Allowing another person to be the registrant of record means that you stand to lose your domain name the moment you fall out of favor with them, or they die or disappear. You will provide some other of your details alongside the technical contact details and administrative contact details.
Other requirements include:
- Name server list
- DD record list
- Registrant preference
- Privacy option
Registrant must also ensure that all necessary fields are filled and in the correct format.
Process of registering a domain name
Once you have arrived at a domain name idea for your business, it is the registrar’s job to register it for you. Of course, you need first to ensure ICANN accredits them. The ICANN website contains information on every registered registrar. There isn’t much difference between the registrar you end up using and the ones you turned down. However, there are a few differences, and since you are buying a domain name, it is helpful to buy from a reputable domain registrar. Next, make sure ICANN accredits the registrar. Do that by logging onto the ICANN website to see where they published a list of accredited registrars. There are many of them so it won’t be difficult finding one.
If you are planning on launching a WordPress website, then it is recommended you find a registrar who will also provide you with a web server. This saves you lots of time and money, and a couple of them are listed here. That way, the web hosting service will configure everything from the beginning to the end.
After picking your desired domain name and the registrar who would go about registering it, go ahead and pay for the domain name. PayPal is entirely secure and popular nowadays, so it will be an acceptable mode of payment between you and the registrar.
Locking in your registration
The idea of locking your domain name after registering it is born out of the need to protect it from human error and any unauthorized activity. Sometimes we can unknowingly make changes to our main domain servers, which can seriously impact the website and our business. You also lock your freshly registered domain name to prevent unauthorized persons from doing such things as transferring your domain to a different registrar or web host without due notification.
To lock your domain name, log onto your account with your registrar and locate the “my domains” button, which is usually located at the top right-hand side. Then click on the “padlock” icon, which will show you the “lock” and “unlock” options so you will make your choice. Don’t be alarmed if your account name refuses to be unlocked. This is primarily because of ICANN’s strict rule that once a domain name has been locked, it cannot be transferred to another registrar after 60days of its registration or transfer. This is designed to prevent any foul play like fraud, and there is no way your registrar can do anything even if you want it. Fortunately, you can still be making full use of your domain name if it were locked.
How Many Years Should You Register a Domain For?
Once you register, you would need to renew your domain name annually. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be after just a year of your registration. You can register your domain names for between a year and ten years. But it is recommended you register for more than two years. This will ensure you don’t continue running back in for renewal after just 12 months. However, there are also more benefits of registering for an extended period apart from not wanting to renew over and over again. At the top of these other reasons is the need to protect your business from falling short on renewal, primarily when you have worked hard to gain many visitors.
40 Must-Know Facts About Domain Names
Now that you know what domains are, you can also learn some interesting facts about domain names, as compiled by the guys at Openhost.
Memorize a few, and you can stand tall among your peers or colleagues at work. So, without any more fluff, let’s get to its meat as provided. Bear in mind some of the statistics change rapidly.
Did You Know?
- The very first domain name was registered on March 15, 1985 (thirty-three years ago as I write this) by Symbolics.com, a computer systems company from Cambridge, Massachusetts.
- Domain names depend on the Domain Name System (DNS), invented by Paul Mockapetris and Jonathan Bruce Postel.
- Apple.com was the 64th registered internet domain.
- You can add spice and pizazz to your domain names by going beyond text and using emoji domains. So, feel free to do something like www.😉.tld,♨️.com, 💩.la. To work, they must be converted to something called Punycode.
- The most expensive domain ever is LasVegas.com ($90,000,000). In second position is CarInsurance.com ($49, 700, 000). Domains have been famously called online real estate.
- Apple did not own apple.co.uk until 2012.
- Microsoft forgot to renew hotmail.co.uk in 2003.
- Trump was the trending keyword in .com and .net registrations in January 2017.
- The world record for the highest number of domains registered twenty-four hours was set in April 2012 by Mike Mann, founder of several successful, active, and for-profit corporations such as Phone.com, DomainMarket.com, and SEO.com. He registered 14,962 unique names. Don’t bet against this guy! When asked about his investment, he replied: “I’m just greedy; I want to own the world.“
- While most registrars allow you to register domains for 1-10 years, you can register one for up to 100 years with a company called Network Solutions.
- .de domains expire before the expiration date.
- The Soviet Union may have been confined to history, but you can relive some of that with a Soviet Union (.su) domain, which you can still register today.
- You can add the .com domain extension to your domain name by simply typing Ctrl + Enter after the domain name. Again, you save time and maybe, keyboard life.
- The .tv domain extension (ccTLD) is from the island country of Tuvalu.
- The .tm (Turkmenistan) ccTLD can be used as a trademark.
- The .dj extension used by disc jockeys (DJs) and other music entities comes from Djibouti, located in the horn of Africa.
- The longest gTLD (generic Top-Level Domain) is .northwesternmutual. Eighteen (18) solid characters.
- The most used ngTLD (non-generic Top-Level Domain) is .xyz. It costs a paltry $0.59, which might be a factor.
- You can register a free domain under some TLD’s. They include .tk, .cf, .ga, .ml, .cu, .cc, and a few others.
- The king of domains in terms of price is the .ng (Nigeria) ccTLD. So be ready to part with a whopping $40,000 per year.
- It took two years to register the first 100 domains. Today, the same number is registered every few milliseconds.
- The minimum length of the .com domain is two characters, but all possible combinations of the domains are taken. We’re sorry to be the ones to tell you this.
- Domain names were free to register until 1995.
- The body that manages the global domain name system is ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers).
- You are only allowed a combination of 63 (sixty-three) characters for a domain name.
- If you want a domain name that is a string of successive “A” s, you’ll not be able to. ALL such possible domains are registered already. Again, sorry to have to break it to you.
- Youtube.com was registered on Valentine’s Day (February 14, 2005). Unfortunately, this caused problems for another company, Universal Tube & Rollform Equipment, whose Utube.com domain experienced such massive traffic that it crashed its servers.
- Domain names are usually 11 characters long and start with the letter “S,” probably because more English words begin with “S.”
- Google.com was originally to be Googol.com. Well, what happened? Larry Page and Sean Anderson wanted to name the company Google.com. Googol stands for the number 1, followed by 100 zeros. A spelling error while searching if ‘googol’ was available defined history as we have it today.
- Again, all 3-character domains are taken. Being accessible and quick to recall, they had all been snapped up by 1997 across more TLDs than just .com.
- Your name can be canceled if the information provided at registration is incorrect and the registrar gets no reply from you within 15 days.
- GoDaddy remains the undisputed leader of new domain registrations, with over five times what the nearest competitor does.
- 331.9 million domains were registered in the second quarter of 2017, a 0.8% increase over the first quarter.
- Domain registrations have increased by an astonishing 6.7 million (2.1%) yearly.
- ccTLD domain name registrations have steadily grown by 2.6% year over year.
- China’s .cn is the second-largest top-level domain as of the second quarter of 2017.
- The largest free top-level domain is Tokelau’s .tk.
- You cannot register some words as a domain. They include Test, Invalid, Example, local, and localhost.
- Multiple domain names for the same website will not improve search engine rankings.
- Google once lost its Google.com domain for one minute. Then, in October 2015, a former Google employee and researcher, Sanmay Ved, managed to buy Google.com. He bought it for a princely $12.
So, these were some interesting domain name facts that you enjoyed reading. If you know any new or old domain name facts, you can email us via the contact us page.
I hope the things that have been mentioned above will help you choose a great domain name. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me using the contact us page on this website.