With the internet becoming a more popular place to do business, domain names are an…
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No matter what business you are in, having an online presence is not a matter of opinion anymore. You have to have a website and social media presence so that you can reach your audience as and when you like. And when we say business, we are talking about bloggers and freelancers too, who themselves are the brand and the business.
Now, if you want to set up your own blog or a website, you need a unique address that makes it stand out when someone searches for that name. Like, apple.com or walmart.com. It’s the name your users will be typing into the address bar of the browser. In the business, that is referred to as the domain name and there are a few things you should know about it to make the most out of creating a website. Let’s dive right into it, shall we?
In technical terms, the domain name of a website is a label that has a unique IP address. This is connected to the server that hosts your website. Your host is the provider who gives your website room on a webserver to store files including the code, images, and so on.
Every website has a variety of files like HTML files that store the content that is to be displayed, CSS files which are the stylesheet of the website with details about colors, buttons, spaces between all the elements on the web page, and the various font sizes, etc. The amount of space your website occupies on the server depends on the kind of host you pick.
The visitors to your website land on your page because they are connected to your IP address which is made possible by the domain name. Now, each domain name has two parts: the name and the top-level domain name or TLD.
For instance, if your website is websitename.com, the “website name” is your domain name and the dot com is the top-level domain name. There are different types of suffixes like .com, .net, .gov, etc.
There is another part of the name which is called mid-level domain. This is the part that is typically the name of the website and the one your users will be Googling if they are trying to find you through a search engine.
For instance, when you type Google into the address bar, you will go to www.apple.com. The “apple” in that URL is the mid-level domain name.
You can also check for the guide to sell domain names online for further help.
While we’re at it, here’s a quick look at the different components of your website address. https://www.google.com is the URL or the Uniform Resource Locator.
Now, the system of connecting the words in the domain name to the IP addresses is an internet system called the Domain Name System or DNS. It is essentially the phone book for these names and numbers.
The DNS is under the jurisdiction of ICANN which is the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. ICANN came into existence in 1998 and it manages the DNS. They have contracts with the registrars who sell domain names which is how they get to execute their vision.
We’ve already looked at TLDs which are the top-level domains that end with dot com or dot net. But sometimes you will notice other not-so-popular extensions. That is because top-level domains are not the only type of domain names in existence.
Within TLDs, there are other options like:
Apart from that, there are also second-level domains like .co.uk or .gov.uk and third-level domains like subdomains (which we have already covered).
The TLD has categories within it because the DNS is a system based on hierarchy. The best way to ensure that your website has a reputable name is to add a TLD like a .com or a .net or a .org.
But unless your website name is unique, there is a chance that someone else snagged this name before you. In that case, you can opt for a less popular TLD like .biz for businesses, dot info for informative sites. This is an extensive list and you can check out your options on the IANA website. That’s the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority and it manages all the TLDs.
The next type of TLDs is one where the website has a sponsor and is meant for a specific purpose. Government websites that use .gov, international organizations that use .int, and websites of education institutions that use .edu fall in this category.
This is, as you may have guessed, a country-specific code that has the last two letters that tell you which country the website belongs to. US websites end with .us, UK websites use .uk, Canadian sites have dot ca and the Germans go with .de. It’s .cn for China, .br for Brazil and .fr for France. As you can see, some are more obvious than others.
The process of registering for a domain name and buying it is actually not all that difficult. Even if you are doing it for the first time, you only need to follow a few simple steps to get it right.
Before you have the domain name of your choice, you must register it with ICANN. So, find yourself a domain name registrar like Domain.com, Namecheap or GoDaddy. Then you must make sure that the name of your choice is available with the extension of your choice. Usually, you can do a quick search on the registrar’s website and see what names and extensions are available.
Let’s do this with an example. If you go to Namecheap. There is a search bar at the top. Once you enter the domain name of your choice, it will give a list of extensions that are available for that name. Pick the extension of your choice and buy it.
For the purchase, you must add to the cart and give some information.
It’s basically like shopping on Amazon.
After a period of time, it is possible that you might want to try out a different domain name registrar. In that case, you will have to transfer it and that process isn’t too hard either. Say you want to take it to GoDaddy. Here’s how you work it out.
First, you must make sure that the email ID with which you originally registered your domain name is still the one you want to use because this is required during the transfer. In some cases, the new registrar-to-be will ask for an authorization code or a transfer key from your existing registrar. You won’t need this if yours is a ccTLD. But if you need one and don’t have it, you can just ask your present registrar and they will email it to you.
Make sure that the extension is available with GoDaddy before you start the process. But if it does exist, choose the option ‘Keep my current nameservers’ which is for active websites so that the transfer happens without the site’s performance interruption.
You can also change GoDaddy’s nameservers if they already have your email for the domain name of your choice. This option is also for those who have created a Premium DNS transfer template before transferring the domain name or use GoDaddy’s off-site DNS.
The transfer will be complete in five to seven days. For some extensions like .ca, .UK, and .au to name a few, there are special instructions that you must read before you start the transfer process.
Every registrar gives you a set of services and features. This includes key aspects like hosting and privacy options.
This is a very important decision considering this is how people will remember your website’s name. Here are some of the basic ideas that need to be a part of the decision when you are picking a domain name.
You are free to pick any name as long as it is available. But there will be a few limitations. Here are a few roadblocks you can expect to encounter.
There might also be specific restrictions for certain domain names. You should check with your registrar about that. After creating a website, do secure it from hackers by following our guidelines.
Domain names are an important part of making your brand credible with visitors. Whatever the name, it places you in the same league as the leaders in your industry. And if you are a small business, your customers get the idea that you are in sync with their 21st century needs in terms of making yourself accessible to them. This is a priceless asset and it might even inspire them to put you above other local businesses that have not yet reached this point.
Once your domain name becomes a recognizable brand, your website becomes a great place for you to attract potential customers and tell them more about yourself. This strengthens your business’s image and is the first step towards making yourself a relevant entity on the internet. And you should know by now that it’s the most happening place right now.
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