Setting up an online business is a busy time and there are so many different aspects that need to be considered.
One of the first things that many website owners have to do is to purchase a domain name. It might seem like a fairly straightforward task but this could be one of the biggest decisions of your on-line business career.
Step One – Choosing A Domain Name
A domain name is an identification tag that connects your website to the internet through the domain naming system (DNS).
A domain name can be anything that is not already registered in the DNS, however from a SEO perspective there are a number of things to remember when deciding on a suitable name.
The next part of this article looks at the following 6 things to consider when deciding on a domain name.
- Domain name length
- Use of hyphens
- Top Level Domains (TLD)
- Root domains and subdomains
- Keyword rich
- Easy to remember
Domain Name Length
There was a time when it was the craze to have really long domain names that could describe your website in a lot of detail – howtowriteandgetpaid is bad enough but believe it or not there are plenty of others that are even longer.
According to one website the longest domain name at one time claimed to be –
Another name for an email service is –
According to the DNS, the current longest legal domain name has 63 characters, however how practical are these names if you want your clients to remember and type them in (accurately) in a search?
The recommendation today is to go for a shorter, probably 15 characters or so, and an easy to remember name. Preferably one that can be typed without mistakes.
Use of hyphens
Some people use hyphens to clarify the name of the website when more than one word is used. Classic errors in website names such as.
A therapist website soon became – therapist.com (or the rapist)
Pen Island a pencil company made the mistake of not hyphenating their name – penisland.com (I’ll say no more) so that would have looked better as pen-island.com.
The drawback to hyphens is that a lot of spam websites use them, and they have become an indicator of spam.
Top Level Domains (TLD)
TLDs are the .com .net endings that you see on websites. Traditionally .com and .net are the biggest and most popular endings and the ones that most people remember. If someone has remembered your domain name but not the ending, then more than likely they will start by adding .com
Geographic domains are also used by some companies – these are endings such as .co.uk / .ie /.eu
They are useful for businesses especially those that only deliver services in a specific country. They are also more likely to be ranked in localised Google searches.
Although there has been some discussion as to which TLD ranks better, Google have stated that they give no preference to which TLD is used. This means that newer TLDs should not be penalised.
Root domains and subdomains
A root domain is the top authority within a domain name so abc for example is the root domain in abc.com
A sub domain is a third level domain so 123 is the subdomain in 123.abc.com.
There are certain ranking differences associated with domain names and subdomains, but for new bloggers starting out a subdomain name is not a major difficulty.
Sub domain names are usually free and many bloggers start building their businesses or blogs on these type of domains.
In marketing and business the temptation is to consider everything as a potential keyword. This also applies to domain names, which some SEO enthusiasts believe can influence ranking and search engine visibility.
One type of domain that uses keywords is known as an exact match domain (EMD) for example – woodenkitchens.com
Exact match domain names used to receive a high ranking score with Google, but from 2012 onwards this weighting has dropped. It wasn’t necessarily the domain name that caused the problem it was the low level of quality content that tended to be found on exact match domain named websites.
Targeted domain names are still useful, but like all SEO techniques they need to be supported with plenty of good quality content.
Easy To Remember
This last point really ties in all of the other headings, so you choose a name that addresses the other points AND …. make sure that it is easy to remember.
Step Two – Purchasing A Domain Name
Once you have decided upon a suitable name you need to make sure it is available and then purchase it, so that it belongs to you.
There are a number of companies that provide the option to purchase a domain name, and each company offers different additional promotions. The following list shows some of the main things to consider when looking at domain names;
- domain cost – this is the actual price of the domain name and is usually for a year
- renewal price – this is the price you will pay once the year is up, some companies can increase the price
- privacy protection – this can vary between companies and is described in more detail later in this article
- email accounts – many website owners want to have an email account linked to the website e.g. email@example.com
- upsells – these are the additional services that you need to pay for and are not included in the base price
- flat rate guarantee – this is not offered by many companies and is a guarantee that the pricing won’t be changed ever.
The cost of a domain name depends on the service provider.
The following table outlines the main prices for the top domain name services, which include Godaddy, Namecheap and Name. Each one of the areas mentioned above has been included in the table for comparison.
Wealthy Affiliate Site Domains
As you can see from the table above, one of the best options in terms of pricing is for the wealthyaffiliate.com site domain. This is a relatively new service and unlike the other companies, they are offering a flat rate guarantee with all purchases.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Wealthy Affiliate, it is a marketing platform that offers web site building, hosting and now site domain service as one complete package. In addition to the web site services, it provides an open university style training programme in affiliate marketing.
It is an easy and straightforward process to sign up for a free account and through this account domain names can be purchased. In addition to the domain service, two free websites and access to one module of marketing training (10 sessions), are also available as a taster package when you sign up.
One of the factors to consider when you purchase a domain is the level of privacy you will get through the company you purchase from. Privacy details are often referred to as WHOIS data.
How to check whether your domain is private?
There are websites that will show the level of privacy you have on any existing domain names that you own such as http://whois.domaintools.com.
Some companies will charge additional fees for ensuring your privacy details are kept private. So this can be an important factor in assessing the overall cost, especially if this is an annual fee on top of the domain name registration cost.
What Happens When Your WHOIS data is public?
Public access to your WHOIS data means that spammers and other sales companies can access your email,and also know your website address. From this information they can send unsolicited emails including scams.
You can read about some of the typical scams that you may come across in this article by the owner of wealthy affiliate.
Conclusion – Domain Names
Domain names are an essential part of building an online business, but there are a number of things that need to be considered. In particular it is important to ensure that the domain name you purchase is –
- Short and easy to remember
- Contains no hyphens
- Only uses a Keyword if relevant
In terms of pricing make sure you know exactly what you are paying for and what is an additional fee. Look specifically for information on privacy and check whether your domain fee is a once off offer, or whether this is the normal annual fee.
If you are interested in further reading on this topic, then the following articles might be of interest.
- SiteRubix Free Website Builder and Hosting Platform
- Digital Marketing at Wealthy Affiliate University
I hope you enjoyed the article and will share this on your chosen social media. Also please do feel free to share any experiences that you may have had on registering and purchasing domain names, I am always interested to add more information to the site.