How to Choose a Domain Name?

How to Choose a Domain Name?

Are you planning to set up a website for your business? In that case, you will need a domain. The choice of the name of your domain is one of the key decisions, so it should be carefully thought through. Should it relate to your business? Is it necessary to include keywords? Or should it just be the name of the company? In this article, you will find the answers to all these questions!

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Web Domain – What Is It and Why Is It Important?

A domain is actually nothing more than a unique address assigned to a website. It works as a showcase of businesses and brands on the web because it’s what we enter in the address bar in order to visit a specific website. Having a web domain is essential for the proper functioning of a website. What’s interesting, a specific domain always leads to only one site, but one site may be available under different domains (we strongly don’t recommend it as it results in duplication). This is very important from the point of view of a person who creates a website. Once purchased, the domain can’t be used by anyone else (unless its owner decides to sell it or the deadline for payment for its extension expires).

Why is choosing the right domain name important for your business? First of all, it works as a showcase – it will be visible in the address bar. It will be used by your regular or potential customers to recommend your business to others. A domain is also an element that contributes to building brand awareness – a catchy name will be easily remembered by your target audience, it should evoke positive emotions and connotations.

It is worth considering how a web domain is built. Each address starts with a protocol. We don’t have to enter it each time in the address bar, as it will always appear automatically after confirming the URL – this ensures that the site is displayed correctly. The most common protocols are http and https. The first is an unprotected version of a page, so the data transmitted between the server and your browser can be intercepted by unauthorized persons. Choosing the https protocol, we rely on the already mentioned security of data transmitted. What’s more, https protocol has an impact on our website’s ranking in the search engine results. Google wants to protect users and their data and that’s why it trusts more secure websites. You can change your website’s protocol at any time. If you want to learn how to do it, read the article on our blog: SSL certificate installation – the most common errors

Domain Name Extension – What Is It For?

The domain extension is an integral and significant element of every web address. Its main job is to indicate the range and character of a given name. The main division of the extensions is by level.

Top-Level Domain (TLD)

The first type of domain extensions is top-level domains (TLD). They are determined by their geographical location – therefore, US, Dutch, Italian, German or Asian websites will have other extensions, etc.

Among them, you will find:

  • national, which are always two-letter. Examples of national TLD are: .de for German, .us for the United States, .gb for Great Britain, .nl for the Netherlands, etc.
  • continental, for example: .eu, .asia.

Other most commonly used top-level domains are:

  • .com, which are intended for websites created for business and commercial purposes,
  • .edu, i.e. websites designed for educational purposes,
  • .gov, leading to government and political portals,
  • .info, which will take us to websites with general information, for both individuals and companies,
  • .org, i.e. websites dedicated to non-governmental organizations, so-called “non-profit”.

Subdomains

Subdomains are derived from top-level domains by adding an appropriate abbreviation, e.g. related to a specific region of a given country (for example, in the United States – .ny.us, in Italy – roma.it, etc.). Other examples of subdomains can be those pages that indicate a section of a website: news.google.com, meteo.repubblica.it. In this way, the next level domains are created.

Extensions may consist of any sequence of characters, however, they must be separated by dots, creating a second-level domain. A subdomain can only be created by the owner of a given domain – this process is free-of-charge and not limited, which means that you can create as many subdomains as you want.

web domain extensions - examples
Is the Choice of a Domain Name so Important?

The domain extension that you choose is extremely important for the SEO process. If you want your website to rank high in the search results in Germany, Italy or the United States, the national top-level domains, such as .de, .it, or .us, will be the best choice. What’s interesting, it is also possible to choose a domain name containing diacritics (for example: ę, ś, ó ñ, è, ö) whereas they are not recommended. If you want to achieve global success, the .com domain will be the best option. You should keep in mind that if you decide on a regional domain extension (e.g. roma.it), it will be much more difficult to rank in the search engine results on a national or global scale.

How to Choose the Best Domain Name?

So now that you know what a domain is, it is worth considering what your future domain name should be. Above all, a domain name should be simple, so that every user will remember it easily. As I have already mentioned, using diacritics is not a good idea. The shorter the name, the better – the number of characters is limited, the name shouldn’t exceed 63 characters (TLD and subdomain are not included). You should also remember that domain names are not case-sensitive.

Many website owners are wondering if a domain name based on a company name is a good choice. And they are right – thanks to this you can build your brand image. And what’s more, such a domain name is memorable to potential customers and that’s a good start for creating positive relations with them.

Good Web Domain - characteristics

New? Or Maybe Used? So Which Domain Will Be Better For You?

Once you have chosen the perfect name for your website, the next step is to buy it. You have 2 options:

  • New, never previously used domain – this choice doesn’t involve struggling with problematic domain history or link spamming. You’ll have to build the page authority from scratch.
  • Used, i.e. one that already has its own history and links. This is a good solution for domains that already have high parameters (e.g. Domain Authority in Moz) or a number of visits – Google trusts such domains.

Before buying a used domain, it is necessary to check its history. There are numerous internet tools that will help you with that (the Internet Archive Wayback Machine is one of the most popular and widely used tools). After entering a domain name, we get information about its age and screenshots of a given period. If the history of the domain doesn’t show any spam content, wasn’t banned by Google or there are no signs of a hacker attack – you can decide to buy it.

Domain With or Without www?

Remember that www.delante.co and delante.co are two completely different domains, which can lead to two different websites. In the past, users were used to the www version, but right now many websites don’t include the “www” prefix in their addresses. Why? Because it doesn’t have an impact on the proper functioning of the website or SEO process.

However, keep in mind that if you decide to run both domains at the same time, it will affect your SEO activities.  Then the links you build are split between two separate websites and as a result, they’re not very effective.  So if you already have two versions of your website, it is worth choosing one of them and setting 301 redirects.

Is It Worth to Place Keywords in a Domain Name?

The domain name may have an impact on ranking in the search results. However, this impact is not always as positive as we may think.  Not so long ago there was a common belief that a website should contain keywords in its name. However, for Google, keywords in a domain name are becoming less important. In fact, Google currently has a negative approach to websites containing unnatural keywords in their domain name. The Google algorithm is able to recognize the intention, and the website name is treated by it as a brand. That’s why it may be a good solution to choose a domain name identical to your company’s name. This way you will build brand awareness.

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Author
Delante is an online marketing agency specialized in generating website traffic from search engines and paid ads (SEO / SEM). Over 80% of our clients are from rapidly growing e-commerce industry.

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