What is a domain name and why do I need one?
Recently I mentioned domain names to a customer and they asked me if they really needed one. So for the benefit of you all I am here to tell you why you need a domain name and how it can really help your company to thrive.
What is a domain name?
Simply, a domain name is a unique name which identifies a resource on the internet such as a website. Domain names serve as more easily memorable names for internet resources and represent an Internet Protocol (IP) address. IP addresses are a series of numbers which are like the phone numbers of the internet. If you put in the wrong IP address – like if you dialed the wrong phone number – you will end up at the wrong website. However a domain name is an easily searchable, recognisable and memorable address for a website location.
A domain name is made up of three parts as you can see below:
When people refer to a domain name they are often just referring to the second and top level domains. The www. is predefined.
Why is a domain name important?
Domain names are important for a number of reasons including but not limited to:
- Increases your name recognition
- Helps brand your image
- Adds a level of trust and integrity to your site
- Many search engines refuse to list pages from free sites
- Some search engines will only index the first page of a domain site
- Domain names containing ‘keywords’ aid in higher search engine ranking
- Allows you to use your domain address (www.yourname.com) and virtual email addresses (firstname.lastname@example.org) on your business cards and letterhead
- Once a domain name has been registered, it is no longer available. The most popular and easily-remembered domain names are being reserved daily, at the rate of one domain name every 5 seconds!
- Stops somebody else from registering the name you want.
- Lets you change your current email provider and still keep the same email address
- Protects your Internet advertising investment from failure of your Internet Service Provider
However owning a domain name isn’t just important for big businesses! It can be just as important to own a domain for home use.
It is possible to register domain names which include you name firstnamelastname.com or johndoe.com for example. Apart from the novelty of being able to give a very memorable email out to people it has many other benefits. Such as if your name is johndoe.com and you register the domain this prevents any other John Doe’s from registering it and they might have to settle for johndoe2.com.
Furthermore, if you are currently using a gmail.com, hotmail.com, btintetnet.net etc email address then there is no guarantee that you can own that email address forever. What happens when that business goes under or you want to change internet provider or you simply get sick of their service? If you own your own domain and you maintain it then that is yours forever, you will not have to change and therefore your emails and information will always be accessible.
Maintain control over what people see when they search for you
If someone searches your name or your business, then chances are the first thing they will see is the website associated with their search term. If they search for you name John Doe it is likely that the first page they will see is johndoe.com.
Do I need more than one?
There are four reasons that you might want more than one domain. The first one simply might be that you have several businesses or the need for several different websites with different purposes.
Secondly, you may want to register all of the TLDs (.com/.co.uk/.net/.uk/.biz) for your domain name. This is mainly to ensure that no one else registers the same domain name as you so that you can protect your name recognition and brand.
Thirdly, baring in mind that if you register a domain (such as johndoe.com) then anyone else out there can register a domain of a similar name (johndoe2.com), it is common for people to register variations of their domain name. Often this is harmless but it can be used to besmirch yours or your company’s name, for cybersquatting or for any number of reasons.
Finally, to optimise on search queries. If your website is called ‘iluv2boogie.com’ (not a registered domain name as of 2014.12.09) people may search for any variation of this and you might want to register ilovetoboogie.com, ilv2boogie.com, iluvtodance.com etc. You can then point these domains to your main website so that whenever someone searches for a term with those words in it, your website will be in the search results.
Private registration, do I need it?
Private registration is only an option for individuals, not businesses. However, many individuals find it beneficial as it adds a layer of protection to your data. When you register a domain without private registration, your contact info (Address, Phone and Email) are entered into a collective domain name database called the WHOIS record. If you do not opt for WHOis ID protection then your information becomes publicly accessible information.
How do I register a domain?
You might want to read our other blog post from this month ‘How to choose a great domain name’, you should also check the availability of your domain with our Free domain checker.
To register your domain just ask us!
Phone: 023 8024 9820