Domain Names: Everything You Need To Know

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You can’t build a successful commercial website without a domain name. All websites are powered by a domain name. It’s the unique identifier specifying a website’s location on the ever-expanding internet.

According to the security services provider Verisign, there are now over 350 million active domain names. While registering a domain name may seem like a straightforward process, though, there are several myths that can lead you down the wrong path.

1. Ownership Is Forever

Registering a domain name doesn’t mean that you’ll own it forever. Registration does, in fact, indicate ownership. As long as it’s registered under your name, you’ll own your domain name. You’ll have exclusive rights to sell or transfer it to anyone whom you choose.

The companies that sell domain registrations, known as registrars, only offer registrations for a fixed length of time. As required by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the minimum length for registrations is one year, whereas the maximum length is 10 years.

Therefore, you must renew your domain name before it expires to maintain ownership. If you don’t renew it, you’ll forfeit of ownership to the registrar. The registrar may then auction off your domain name to the highest bidder.

2. All the Good Domain Names Are Taken

Another widely believed myth is that all the good domain names are taken. During the dot-com bubble of the late 90s, speculators scooped up massive amounts of domain names to resell for a profit. When the bubble burst, many of these speculators struggled to find buyers, so they allowed their domain names to expire.

There are still speculators who register domain names solely to resell them, but there are plenty of amazing domain names currently available. You can often find a short and brandable domain name simply by playing around with different words.

If a domain name is taken, try replacing some of its words with synonyms. Alternatively, you can use a domain name generator tool like namemesh.com or nameboy.com to find an amazing domain name.

3. Alternative TLDs Are Available to Everyone

Registrars offer dozens of top-level domains (TLDs) besides .com and .net. Since they aren’t as common as their .com and .net counterparts, these alternative TLDs can be an attractive choice.

You should know, however, that alternative TLDs aren’t available to everyone. ICANN has restrictions on certain alternative TLDs that limit who can register them and for what purposes.

The .edu TLD, for instance, is limited to colleges, universities and other higher educational institutions. The .gov TLD, on the other hand, is limited to U.S. government entities and municipalities.

Many country-specific TLDs come with restrictions as well. Only U.S. citizens and residents can register a domain name with the .US TLD, whereas only E.U. citizens and residents and register and use the .EU TLD.

4. Your Personal Information Is Always Protected

When you provide your personal information – name, address, email address and phone number — to the domain registrar, you may assume that no one else will see it.

After all, why would a registrar share your personal information with other people or businesses? Well, ICANN requires registrars to add their customers’ contact information to a database.

Known as the WHOIS database, it allows relevant individuals and businesses to get in touch with a domain name’s owner. Unfortunately, spammers and scammers alike use public WHOIS records to find new victims. To prevent your personal information from showing in the WHOIS database, you need to secure WHOIS privacy protection.

WHOIS privacy protection is a service that conceals your personal information in the WHOIS database. It’s offered by most registrars. With WHOIS privacy protection, the registrar will display its contact information in the WHOIS record for your domain name rather than your personal information.

5. Must Contain Only Letters

While domain names consisting solely of letters typically work best, you can use other types of characters in your domain name. ICANN allows domain names to contain numbers. It also allows them to contain hyphens. The hyphen is the only special character that you can use in a domain name.

Keep in mind, neither the first nor the last character of your domain can be a hyphen. You must place hyphens somewhere in the middle. Otherwise, the registrar will reject your domain name.

6. The Registrar Doesn’t Matter

If you think all registrars are the same, you could be in a world of hurt. There are obviously price differences between registrars. Some of them charge more for registrations than others. Additionally, some registrars offer privacy WHOIS privacy protection at no additional cost, whereas others charge a fee for this service.

Registering a domain name with the wrong registrar may cost you more than just money; it could cost you the domain name itself. Online message boards are filled with horror stories about unscrupulous registrars hijacking their customers’ domain names.

Fortunately, credible registrars like GoDaddy and Namecheap have honest business practices, so using them won’t jeopardize your domain name.

7. Domain Names Don’t Affect SEO

The domain name you choose, as well as the length for which you register it, can affect your website’s level of search engine optimization (SEO) success. Search engines don’t necessarily look for keywords in domain names. You can include a keyword in your domain name, but it won’t directly help your website rank for it.

For better SEO, you should register a domain name that’s short, memorable and unique. These three qualities will allow visitors to find your website more easily. Search engines will see that your website is popular, so they may increase its rankings.

Choosing a registration period longer than the one-year minimum can prove effective for SEO. To save money, most spammers register their domain names for one year only. Domain names registered for five or 10 years are considered more trustworthy because they are rarely used by spammers.

Wrapping Up

The domain name is the foundation on which you’ll build your website. If if it’s weak, your website will crumble. If it’s strong, your website will grow. Just remember to avoid these common myths when registering a domain name.

Choosing a Domain Name: The Science Behind It

Choosing adomain name is quite a challenge. There is actually a bit of a formula you can use to make sure yours is on point. You want something powerful to represent your new blog, business or company website but it’s a lot of pressure to pick the perfect domain name. Choosing a Domain Name is the number 1 one thing that will represent your business.
It’s something that will stick in the minds of your customers and a bad name may be confusing or prevent your customers from finding your business. Follow this guideline in order to pick a name that is strong and smart for your new domain.

Choosing a Domain Name

Your domain name needs to convey to your reader that it’s crisp and clear. The best way to reach your audience is to choose something short and sweet. It should be something short to be easy to remember and having it be only two or three words allows your customers to do so. Make it easy on your customers. Then, you’ll be able to easily add it to advertisement, email signature and business cards.

It needs to be original

Along with keeping your domain short and easy to remember, make sure your domain is really original. You’ll want consistency between the website and the company but make sure you aren’t stealing someone’s domain in order to do this. If someone else has a domain you want and you try to steal it by tweaking parts of it to make it work for you, it’s going to fail when customers try to search for you and end up finding the wrong link.
Don’t just add a dash, misspell a word, add a number or make something plural and expect that your domain will be different enough from the person who already has the perfect one you want. More than likely, the add-on you try to do will mess up your advertising efforts because dashes and numbers don’t work well when written and a misspelling is hard to say out loud. Make sure you are Choosing a Domain Name that fits your website concept and industry.
When you try to explain verbally your website name to someone at a party and there is a misspelling to mention, it’s going to come off strange to your audience. Plus, too many extras are harder to remember. Customers aren’t going to want to play the guessing game so just pick something simple and memorable that you can call yours.

The domain’s potential

Your company’s domain is going to be like your company’s online name tag so it’s important to choose wisely. Consider everywhere you will see this domain outside of the search bar. You’ll see it on email addresses, business cards, newspapers and it could even end up on the radio or on TV. Make sure it looks good, sounds good, reflects your company and is memorable for all of the advertising it could land in.

Consistency

Make sure you are being consistent. Your domain name should match your company name to give it a professional appearance and prevent confusion. In some cases, your company name is too much like someone else’s and you’ll have to go with a second choice option.
If your company name is taken, try adding a keyword to the domain name that distinguishes your company and attracts your customers to a specific service, product or location. Your Chicago dental office’s name of Smith Dental may already be taken but you could change yours to SmithDentalinChicago or SmithDentalGroup.com to be different. You could also look into a different extension like .net, .org or .biz instead .com.
Lastly, consider buying your own domain for a low price annually. This the science behind choosing the perfect domain name for your company or blog.

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