What is a domain?
Your domain name represents a vital piece of your website.
Prospects and customers will use your domain name to find you online.
Strive to choose a good one that represents your business well.
In this guide, we will teach you everything you should know about domain names and how to get one for your business.
We will also discuss the types of domain names and how to choose the best one for your needs.
What Is the Definition of a Domain?
A domain is a website address. It is also known as a URL.
It’s what a person places inside the top bar of a browser to locate and visit a website.
For example, Microsoft’s domain is www.microsoft.com.
How Does It Work?
Domain names work by pointing to an IP address.
Every device connected to the internet has an IP address.
It includes computers, phones, and servers.
The domain name is what tells a computer or other device what IP address to go to.
Parts of a Domain Name
You can think of domain names as broken down into two parts: the top-level domain and the second-level domain.
- Second-Level Domain (SLD): The SLD is the aspect of the domain that comes before the dot in your website’s URL. You can call your second-level domain anything you want, but it’s usually your business name or brand. It’s what comes before the dot in your URL.
- Top-Level Domain (TLD): This part is the extension of the domain that follows the dot.
Let’s look at an example.
We can break up our domain, www.bloggingtips.com, into two parts.
One is the SLD “bloggingtips,” and the second is the TLD “.com.”
The TLD is what identifies what kind of website it is.
For example, “.com” is a commercial website, “.org” is an organization, and “.edu” is an educational website.
What’s the Purpose of Getting a Domain Name?
There are several reasons to buy and use domain names.
No matter your type of business, you should consider how important your domain name is before purchasing it from a registrar.
Domain names are like your home on the internet.
By owning your domain name, you have the right to build a website and email address that uses that domain.
You can also use it for marketing purposes and redirect traffic to other websites.
You will own your domain permanently once you buy it and continue to renew it.
Your domain name is a crucial part of your brand.
It is how people will find you online and helps them remember your business.
A good domain name is short and matches your company’s branding.
You might look at your domain name as the front door to your business.
It’s what welcomes people in and what they’ll associate with you.
3. Create Authority
A proper domain name can help you build authority for your business.
Using a well-thought-out domain shows that you are a professional.
A proper domain name reveals that you are serious about what you do.
Owning a website with the domain name most relevant to your industry shows that you are an expert in your field.
It also helps you rank higher in search engines.
Improved SEO rankings will lead to more traffic to your website.
4. Remain Memorable
As you market your business, the domain name becomes a vital piece of the process.
It’s what people will remember when they think of you. Use the domain name your target market will easily recognize.
For example, if you sell children’s toys, choose a name that includes the word “toys” in it.
5. Differentiate Yourself From Competitors
Your domain name is an opportunity to stand out from your competitors.
You want customers to remember your domain name over others in the niche.
Use a unique and relevant domain name to stand out.
6. Build Credibility
When you’re starting a new business, credibility is everything.
You need to build trust with your potential customers.
For example, you could choose to build your website on a free platform like WordPress.com.
If you do, your prospects will see your domain name as YourBusiness.WordPress.com instead of YourBusiness.com.
The latter version establishes more credibility with customers than domains with WordPress in them.
What’s the Difference Between a Domain and an URL?
A domain is the name of your website.
On the other hand, a URL (Universal Resource Locator) represents how you find a website.
For example, the domain of the blog you’re reading is bloggingtips.com.
The URL to reach this blog is https://www.bloggingtips.com.
The domain stays the same, while the URL changes depending on what page you want to go to.
For example, if you want to find the best domain registrar to use when buying your domain, you will go to this URL: https://bloggingtips.com/best-domain-registrar/
Another way to differentiate these two website factors is to think of it this way: a domain is what you tell people when you want them to go to your website’s home page.
The URL is what you type into the browser when you want to go to a specific page on a website.
Or, you might think of it this way: Specific URLs help us find a website’s blog pages, while the domain represents your website’s overall entity.
What Are the Different Types of Domains?
Let’s look at the different types of domain names and how they differ from one another.
If you understand the following information, you’ll avoid becoming confused when it comes to buying a domain and building an entire website on it.
Top-Level Domain (TLD)
The domain name system (DNS) uses a hierarchy. At the top of that hierarchy is what we call a TLD.
You can think of a TLD as the main category that your website fits into.
When more advanced searchers want to discover a website related to the content they’re looking for, they sometimes start with the TLD.
For example, if someone wants to buy a product, they might start their search with .com. If they want to find information on a specific topic, they might use .info.
Using a .com TLD is the most common way to build a website.
However, it helps to consider other ways to differentiate your business and think about alternatives to .com domains.
For instance, you can get creative if you’re building a website all about using video.
Instead of calling it Videotips.com, you might consider calling it ExpertTips.video.
Other examples that reveal how you can use a TLD creatively include the following.
If you’re creating a business that revolves around the idea of building a club, you could use the .club extension.
Examples might include GolfMethods.club or BookReading.club.
In these cases, you could easily monetize through the use of an actual club or coaching program that your site visitors can join.
If you’re an organization, you might want to use a .org extension.
For example, Greenpeace.org is the website for the international campaigning organization Greenpeace. Nonprofits can also use .org.
If you’re a government agency, you could use .gov.
For example, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website is NHTSA.gov.
Are you interested in building an eCommerce store?
How about using the .store TLD extension? You could call your website HappyChildToys.store or WeddingDresses.store.
If you’re creating a website for an educational institution, such as a school or university, then you might want to use .edu.
The .app extension is an ever-increasing popular way to create websites and apps that go hand-in-hand.
For example, you might create a website for a new app you’ve developed and market it on the web with AppName.app.
If you’re creating a website for a location-based business, such as a restaurant or store, you could use the .city extension.
For example, Joe’sDiner.city or LovelyGiftShop.city.
There are many others to choose from, and the list of available TLDs is continually growing.
The important thing to remember is that a TLD helps categorize your website for visitors and search engines alike.
Additionally, using a new or unique TLD can help your website stand out from the rest.
If you want to be memorable, make sure to choose a TLD that’s relevant to what you’re offering on your website and simple to remember.
Some companies use a branded TLD, which is usually the company name.
For example, Google uses .google. Amazon uses .amazon.
Apple uses .apple. These are all examples of what’s called a closed generic TLD because only one company can own it.
There are also what we call open generic top-level domains.
These are domains that anyone can use, but they usually have to do with a specific industry.
For instance, .tech is an open generic TLD that has to do with the technology industry.
As an example, you could use a .tech extension if you’re creating a blog about technology.
Other examples include .blog and .shop. We’ll give you more examples of generic top-level domains below.
- .com – Commercial businesses
- .org – Nonprofit organizations
- .net – Technology and Internet service providers
- .edu – Educational institutions
- .gov – US government entities
- .mil – Military
- .biz – Businesses
Country-Code Top-Level Domain (ccTLD)
A ccTLD is a country code top-level domain.
Registrars use it to indicate how to associate a website with its related country or territory.
A ccTLD is two letters long, and it corresponds to the ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 country code standard.
For example, .us is the ccTLD for the United States, .ca is the ccTLD for Canada, and .uk is the ccTLD for the United Kingdom.
When deciding whether to use a ccTLD, you should consider your target audience.
If most of your target audience is in a specific country, then using a ccTLD associated with that country would make the most sense.
Note that ccTLDs are not restricted to businesses or organizations within their corresponding countries.
For the most part, anyone can register and use a ccTLD.
However, some countries do have restrictions on who can register a domain with their ccTLD. For example, only US citizens can register a .us domain.
The main advantage of using a ccTLD is that it can help improve your search engine optimization (SEO) for searches taking place within the country associated with the ccTLD.
If you’re targeting an international audience, then you might want to consider using a generic top-level domain (gTLD) instead of a ccTLD.
- .us – United States
- .ca – Canada
- .uk – United Kingdom
- .au – Australia
- .nz – New Zealand
- .jp – Japan
- .cn – China
- .vg – Virgin Islands
Generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD)
A gTLD is a generic top-level domain and is not associated with any specific country or territory.
The most common gTLD is .com, but there are many others to choose from, such as .info, .net, and .org.
If you’re targeting a global audience, then using a gTLD would make the most sense if you’re targeting a global audience.
The main advantage of using a gTLD is that it’s not associated with any specific country, so it’s more accessible worldwide.
However, because gTLDs are not associated with any specific country, some people might see them as less credible than ccTLDs.
If you’re targeting a local audience, then you may want to consider using a ccTLD instead of a gTLD.
- .com – Businesses
- .net – Network organizations
- .org – Charitable organizations
- .info – Information-based websites
- .biz – Businesses
- .name – Personal websites
- .pro – Professional services providers, such as lawyers and accountants
A subdomain is a domain that is part of a larger domain.
It usually appears when someone creates a more specific address for a website within a domain.
For example, coaching.mysite.com and about.mysite.com are both subdomains of the mysite.com domain.
The main advantage of using a subdomain is that it can help you organize your website into different sections.
For example, if you have a blog and a store on your website, you can use subdomains to keep them separate.
Subdomains are also a good way to create short and memorable URLs for specific content on your website.
Using a subdomain will help you save money.
Instead of buying more domains to host different aspects of your business, set up subdomains.
If you want to expand your website into a community area, don’t buy another domain you need to keep track of.
Use community.yoursite.com. Or, if you’re building a coaching offer for your business, consider using coaching.yoursite.com as the main URL.
A subdomain will naturally reflect the same look and feel as your primary domain.
When you buy a separate domain, you need to try and match the look and feel of your original website.
For instance, some business owners buy separate domain names for each course in a group of courses they develop over time.
It can confuse your prospects when you link them to different domains here each website uses a different look and feel.
Avoid this issue by using subdomains creatively.
Other advantages of using a subdomain include the following.
- Use different URLs for marketing campaigns without setting up new sites
- Subdomains work well as landing pages for specific products
- Use a subdomain to create a microsite for an event.
Using a subset of subdomains for your landing pages requires more explanations.
Business owners will sometimes think they need to set up different domains to capture leads for specific offers.
For example, they might set up one landing page as the opt-in waiting list page for a “coming soon” offer.
You’re entering into a more expensive endeavor running your business in this manner.
You will unnecessarily start racking up domain name renewals for one-page websites.
Use a subdomain for these opt-in pages and save on the domain name costs.
How To Choose a Domain Name for Your Business
You can divide the process of choosing your domain name into two parts.
- Brainstorming a list of potential domains
- Checking availability and registering your domain
To brainstorm, think about what you want your domain name to say about your business.
Some businesses choose their domain name closely related to their company name.
Others choose the domain name that describes what they do.
For example, if you’re a freelance writer, you might consider domain names like www.writeforus.com or www.contentwriter.com.
You can also use our domain name generator as you go about this process.
As you brainstorm potential domain names, keep the following tips in mind.
- A short domain name is best.
- Make it brandable
- Don’t include slang or jargon.
You also shouldn’t use numbers. Using numbers causes confusion when people hear your website name.
As well, don’t use hyphens. Doing so makes it more difficult to type your website name into the search bar.
Once you’ve brainstormed a list of potential domain names, it’s time to check their availability.
If your desired domain isn’t available, most registrars give a list of similar available domain names.
You can select one of those options or go back to the drawing board.
Brainstorm a different domain name and then check if it’s available for use.
Get Your Own Domain Name Today
Your online presence begins with your chosen domain name.
It’s what people type into their web browser to locate your blog.
It’s also how they’ll identify you on social media and in email addresses.
That’s why it’s vital to choose a domain name that is representative of your business, is easy for prospects to remember, and is available on all the major domain registrars.
If you need help figuring out where to start, use our information on inexpensive domain names to help you finalize your decision.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you still have questions about domain names, here are the answers to five commonly asked questions about the topic.
What’s the difference between a domain name and a domain?
Your company’s domain name is the human-friendly address of a website.
For example, Apple’s domain name is apple.com.
A domain is a more technical term for a website’s unique address on the internet.
How long can a domain name be?
You can use up to 63 characters inside each domain name label.
Labels are the elements separated by the dot in your domain name.
You can use up to 253 characters inside your domain name.
However, shorter domains are easier for customers to remember.
Can you have the same domain name as someone else?
No, each domain name is unique.
You can’t have the same domain name as another website.
Once you buy your domain name, no one can duplicate it.
If two people had the same domain name, it would be impossible to navigate successfully to the appropriate website.
What is the difference between a domain name and a trademark?
Your business domain name is the address of your website.
A trademark is a legal protection for words, logos, or phrases that identify your business.
You can have both a domain and a trademark for your business.
Can you copyright a domain name?
Domain names don’t fall under the protection of copyright law.
However, you can trademark your domain name if it meets certain criteria.
You might do this to stop others from using a name that’s similar to yours.
So, what is a domain? Domain names are a crucial part of any website. Select an easy-to-remember name. Make sure it is a short name. If you’re not sure which extension to choose, .com is always a safe way to go. You should also purchase privacy on a domain to avoid unwanted mail from unscrupulous marketers.
If you have any further questions about domain names, please comment below.
If you’re ready to get started with your website creation process, take the first step by using our above information to purchase your domain name.