The world of domain names is packed with interesting anecdotes, from great success stories, risky ideas, to prominent fiascos. It is also loaded with questions, some popping up more frequently than others. Here is a growing list of the most common questions we hear about domains.
Do domain names matter anymore?
Domain names have been at the heart of the internet since its inception. Their role has only got more important over time – from a purely technical element that allows us to access a website, to an intrinsic and important part of any brand.
A domain name can be up to 63 characters long and include letters, numbers or combinations of those, long plus the characters used to identify the domain extension (.com, . net, . org or other). The only symbol character allowed in a domain name is a hyphen. You cannot start or end a domain name with a hyphen, nor have consecutive hyphens.
If the domain name you have chosen is available to register you need to choose a registrar and go through the process of registering the name. Different domain names are governed by different governing bodies. The most common and familiar one – the .com is operated by Verisign, and the .com registrations are processed via registrars accredited by ICANN.
If the domain name is already registered you may be able to buy it from its current owner. Some names have for sale pages with set price and a simple form to contact the owner. Others are harder to get hold of. You might need to do some research and spend some time on getting hold of the domain owner. Depending on the value the name has for you it might be worth hiring some help to reach out and negotiate a deal.
Domain names came around to translate IP locations to a more user-friendly, memorable and readable addresses. For example, if I told you go to 18.104.22.168 to reach my company website, you would have an issue remembering and typing that every time. Those digits translate to the domain name example.com – much more memorable and easy to communicate. Today domains are much more than just a technical detail and play an important role in any business. Most successful brands have serious domain name strategies in place in order to stay competitive.
How many levels can a domain name have?
Domain names have at least two levels. A top-level domain and a second-level domain. The Top-Level Domain (TLD), is the extension attached to Internet domain names. There are a limited number of predefined TLDs, the oldest and most familiar ones include .com, .net and .org.
A Second-Level Domain (SLD) includes the top-level domain name and the unique owner associated with the address. For example, example.com is a second-level domain – it includes the domain name « example » and the top-level domain .com
More and more companies are starting to use third-level domain names, such as go.example.com. Third-level domain names can be used to refer to different servers within different departments of a company, for email use, or for promotional activities – specific campaigns and events.
Over half of all domain names globally are in the .com extension. Generations of people have typed .com over the years every time they want to access a business online. The extension has been used in advertising campaigns on TV, print and radio and billions of dollars have been spent over the past nearly four decades to cement .com as the natural, intuitive choice for accessing a business online. Like it or not, if you are running a business on another extension, you are losing visitors (and likely emails) to the .com. How many? That would depend, but it’s proportional to your marketing efforts.
Good domain names just like good real estate are unique and the demand for them is high. Funded startups, established global brands, Fortune 500 and Forbes list companies – the majority of all invest in securing the best domain names for their brands. Premium domain names are unique sources of longterm return, can be liquidated should the business fail, and give your business a competitive advantage, making them strategic brand assets, and dictating high valuations.
Domain names have been at the heart of the internet since its inception. They are an intrinsic part of how we communicate and connect with the world nowadays – everything passes through a domain name. We access online content; we buy and sell things; we communicate with each other for work and leisure. A good domain name strategy is at the heart of a good digital strategy and is invaluable for building strong, independent and long lasting brands.
There are many views on the topic of how and how much do domain names affect search engine optimizations. It is important to also note that the rules search engines apply change often and without notice. MOZ, one of the most trusted and globally recognized SEO companies, is a great resource for information on best practices for domains and SEO.
Yes, you can have multiple domain names forwarding to the same website, or different part of that website.
Can I own a domain name forever?
You can register a domain name typically for a period between one to ten years, depending on the domain extension, governing body, registrar and potentially other factors. You own the domain name for as long as you keep renewing it regularly. A common mistake entrepreneurs make is not securing a domain name once they have registered it. Once expired, a domain name will be resold and can put your whole company in jeopardy.
While it is technically not an issue, dashes, similar to numbers, can create friction and confusion when communicating your domain name to customers and business partners. You should be careful when considering the use of hyphens and numbers to avoid traffic and email leaks that result in ineffective marketing. It is very rare to find domain names with a dash in our analysis of over 80 000 brands.
Picking the right domain name is one of the most important steps in starting your online business. You want your customers, business partners and investors to find your website quickly, easily, and remember it for future visits. Your domain has a direct effect on all your marketing efforts as it ultimately influences how your audience perceives your company. The feedback from premium domain name owners is unanimously positive.
What’s the best place to buy a domain name?
There are many domain name registrars that you can choose from depending on your location and specific needs. ICANN has a list of accredited registrars that you can refer to. You should also check the registrar’s reputation online, get familiar with the interface they offer, compare their pricing for the domain renewal and any additional services you may use.
A domain name is an important brand asset for your business online. You should select a reputable registrar, offering you full control and security, as well as any other additional services you may require with your domain name.
What is the difference between domain name and a website?
A domain name is your address online, what people type in to arrive to your website. It is not the website itself and you can have more than one domain names pointing to your website. A website is a collection of files – text and images.