Domain Names Explained – the Who, What, Where and Why.

Part 2 of a 7 part “website terminology” series.

Domain Names Explained – Technical terms can be very daunting if you’re not used to computer speak, but when you get to know them they’re really very simple !

A Domain Name is, in its simplest form, the name that a website uses to make it unique and identifiable.

When we look at the address of a website, the Domain Name is the part after the familiar “www.”
www.ThisIsTheDomainName.com

A domain name is completely unique.  It is the name given to each website, in order to help users find the sites they want to visit.  No two websites will ever have the same domain name.

You can think of a website as you would a house.  The domain name would be the house number and street name, e.g. 123 Main Street.

Two houses can’t be both be called, for example, 123 Main Street.  If there are two buildings, then one would be called 123a Main Street and the other would be called 123b Main Street – two unique names.

The same concept applies to domain names.

Without a domain name, your website cannot be viewed on the internet…. so it is a very important piece of your website creation puzzle.

The extension at the end can vary – “dot com” or “dot net” or “dot com dot au” or “dot co dot uk”, for example.  These extensions determine such things as country of origin and perhaps give a little more information about the website itself.

“Dot com” has arguably become the default across the internet.

A domain name registration company is where you can buy domain names.  Once you have purchased a domain name this gives you, the purchaser, the right to use that domain name for an agreed period of time – usually in multiples of one year.

Domain names are actually quite inexpensive.

A “dot com” will cost around $10-$12US per year.

When you have bought your domain name, you can use it as your own. You can pay for and renew it for as long as you like.  Essentially, if you continue to renew each year, you can own it forever.

You can use it to make your own DIY Website, or you can provide the details to someone else to help you with your website creation project.

Once purchased, you need to “point” your domain name to your website hosting location.  Don’t worry – most domain name registrars and hosting companies provide instructions and this process is fairly easy.

There are several components to websites and being able to view these websites on the internet.  The Hosting is where the actual files, text, images, etc are stored.  Your webs browser (eg Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer / Edge, Opera ) allwos the user to view these stored images.  The domain name essentially “points” the web browser to the hosting / storage space.

A domain name is used to tell people how to get to your website.  Just as you would tell people your street address if they wanted to find your house or business, you tell people your domain name so they can find your website in the same way.

Many people pick personal identifiers as their domain names. E.g. Mr John Smith may choose www.johnsmith.com as his domain name, because it means something to him and it explains who he is.  Companies often use their company name as their domain name, e.g. www.Microsoft.com or www.Apple.com as everybody immediately recognizes who the website belongs to because of its domain name.

When you are choosing your domain name, make sure you put some thought into it.

If your domain name is for personal use, then pick something personal to you, such as your name, or something that is special to you. If you want your website to be for business use, then pick either the name of the business or something related to the business so that customers will be able to find your website easily.

Domain names play a big part in the hocus-pocus of Search Engine Optimization.  SEO is beyond the scope of this article, but in a nutshell, it is a good idea to try to have your main keywords in your domain name if at all possible.

For example, if your website is going to be about saxophone t shirts, then try to have the words “saxophones” and “t shirts” in the domain name – eg SAXOPHONETSHIRTS.COM .  Google and the other search engines will rank your website higher in their search results if, in this example, your website is about saxophones AND t shirts AND the words “saxophone” AND the word “t shirts” appear within the domain name.

Another example that would please Google could be “AwesomeSaxophoneTShirts.com” or “SuperDuperSaxophoneTShirts.com”.

Higher rankings in the search engine results pages means more visitors to your site 🙂

Whatever you decide to choose for your domain name, make sure it’s easy to remember !

Thanks for reading Domain Names Explained.

Interesting fact: The most expensive domain name ever purchased, so far, is insure.com, selling for $36 million !

Thanks,

Matthew

P.S. Please feel free to share this article, using the sharing icons below.

P.P.S. If you need a hand with your website, please feel free to let me know, or visit DomainsByMatt.com

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Part 2 of a 7 part “website terminology” series.

Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3 – Part 4 (coming soon) – Part 5 (coming soon) – Part 6 (coming soon) – Part 7 (coming soon).