Domain Names 101
Somehow you've found your way to the internet, and if you're reading this article, then you are one step closer to registering your first domain name. Whether you're looking to register a name for a personal blog, or for your online business, the right domain name can mean the difference between success and failure.
Once you are familiar with the basics, you will feel confident enough to make a sensible decision, and find the best domain name solution for your specific needs.
What is a domain name? The best way to understand the concept of a domain name is to think of it as a mask, or the alphanumeric equivalent of an ip address. This mask allows you to access web pages on the internet in an easy to remember way. For example the domain name for this site is http://www.DomainBash.com. That is a lot easier to remember than something that looks like 126.96.36.199, which is what the ip address that the domain name is masking. Your domain name will essentially become your online identity, and how your visitors will be able to find your website in the endless sea of sites that is the web.
Understanding the parts Now that you have a basic understanding of what a domain name is, you are ready to understand the individual parts of the domain name. Again we will use http://www.domainbash.com for our example. The www stands for "world wide web" which encompasses all things accessible on the internet. The second part, which is the part where some minor creativity will help, is the domain name - in our example, this would be domainbash. This, more often times than not, is also the name of your website, or business. Last, we have the TLD - Top Level Domain, or the extension. There are various extensions available for your consideration.
TLDs In Depth TLDs can be further broken down into gTLDs (generic top level domains) and ccTLDs (country code top level domains).
Generic Top Level Domains gTLDs .aero - airport industry .biz - business .com - commercial, unrestricted .coop -cooperatives .edu - US education .gov - US government .info - informational, unrestricted .mil - US military .museum - museums .name - individuals .net - networks,unrestricted .org - organizations, unrestricted
Country Code Top Level Domains ccTLDs There are over 240 ccTLDs which correspond to country codes. Some ccTLDs offer open registration, while others restrict their usage. Some that offer open registration are .cc - Cocos (Keeling) Islands, .bz - Belize, and .ws - Western Samoa, to name just a few. The entire list can be found at the Globe Domains Blog - http://www.globedomains.com
Using ccTLDs that are available to you in your area is a good way to get a quality domain name that suits your website or business.
Using a ccTLD is no different than using the more popular gTLDs, and you will have a better chance of obtaining the domain name you really want, rather than settling for a .com domain name that is just so-so.
Where should I register my domain? I have been dealing with domain names for quite some time now, so I've dealt with many domain name registrars. An important factor that you may not consider right away is how much control you have over your domain name(s). The key is going with a company that has a well known reputation. Reputations speak for themselves. The company you choose should have outstanding customer support and a simple control panel so that you can easily control your domain name settings.
For domain name registration, I recommend two companies. 1. GoDaddy.com and 2) eNom.com.
Both of these companies have outstanding reputations, plus offer the best control panels I've seen. The last thing you want is to be overwhelmed by your domain name. If it so happens that you don't like the registrars I've recommended, feel free to do your own research, and find a company that works for you and your business.
Unless the domain name you want to register is very unique, I wouldn't count on it being available for registration using the .com extension. That's not to say that it's not for sale, however. After you try to register your name, and you find that has already been registered, go directly to the web address on the net, and see what's there. Sometimes there will be a developed website, sometimes there will be nothing but an error page, and sometimes you will find that the domain name is for sale by owner. You can then attempt to contact the current owner to purchase the domain on the aftermarket.
Domain names are generally more expensive on the aftermarket, so expect to pay more than you would if you were registering the domain name through a company like GoDaddy.com. Keep in mind the domain name market is competitive. The cost can be tremendous depending on the demand for the name. If you are just starting out, using an alternative extension would be a better option for you. Those will a larger budget should seriously consider investing in their first choice domain name if the option is available.
Whatever you decide to do, remember that your domain name is your web presence. You want people to remember your domain name, and never forget it. Try to choose something that represents your website or business, while being memorable and pleasant to say aloud. People tend to forget cumbersome domain names with too many words. Try to keep it as short as possible, if possible and let it flow.
I chose DomainBash.com because it related to domain names, without being restrictive. It is also unique which allows me trademark or brand the name. Combining a more common keyword, in this case "domain" with another word that is less commonly used "bash" is always a good idea if you want to include keywords in your domain.
If you have any questions relating to this article, and you still don't feel prepared to register a domain name, please feel free to contact me by visiting one of the sources below, and I will help you in any way that I can.