You might have decided to build your own website and reached a point where you need to pick a domain name to identify your site on the web, how do you start getting one? What difference will it make to your site if you just picked one without giving any consideration to it? Or what is a good domain name? To get answers to these questions and many others you might be having in your head follow me on this page on how to pick a domain name for your website.
The purpose of this page is to give you some information on domain names so as to help you understand what they are and put you in a position to make wiser decisions when making your choices. To achieve that objective I will start with a description of the structure of the domain name and later on lead you on how to choose a domain name for your niche website.
Let us have a few definitions before we proceed . According to the Science Dictionary, a domain name is a series of alphanumeric strings that are separated by periods, such as www.hmco.com, that is an address of a computer network connection and that identifies the owner of the address.
Domain names are used in many internet applications for the naming and addressing of an Internet Protocol (IP) resource such as a personal computer used to access the web, a server computer that is hosting a website or any other service used for internet communication. Just analogous to the international phone numbers, the domain name system helps to identify every internet server using a friendly and memorable (nickname) address.
Domain names are chosen following the rules and procedures established and overseen by the Domain Name System (DNS) and any domain name has therefore to be registered by DNS.
History Of Domain Names
The first commercial internet domain name in the TLD com, symbolics.com, was registered on 15 March 1985 by Symbolics Inc, a computer firm in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The number of registered domain names was less than 15,000 by 1992 but around 192 million had been registered by December 2009. A big percentage of the registered domain names are in the com TLD and as of July 2012 , com TLD had registered more names than all other country code top level domains combined.
Structure Of Domain Names
A domain name is composed of one or more parts called labels that form a string each part being separated from another by a dot such as example.com. The hierarchy of labels is read from right to left the right- most being the top level domain in this case com, each domain to the left being a subdomain of the one to its right.
Top Level Domains
Top Level Domains (TLDS) are the highest level of domain names on the internet. The most common top level domains include the generic top-level domains (gTLDs) such as
.com which up to recently is the most popular TLD in the world. Being the abbreviation of the word commercial it was intended to be used for websites that sold products or services on the internet but today you can use it for any type of website and benefit from its popularity.
. net originally used for internet service providers and similar companies ranks second in popularity.
. org popularly is used by non-profit organizations and charitable services .
. tv originally a country code top level domain for the island of Tuvalu now is used for websites with content related to television, entertainment and multimedia.
. edu is widely used for websites of an educational nature
and the country code top-level (ccTLDs) domains such as ca, us, uk, au, tz, ke, etc.
Second Level And Lower Level Domains
Next in the hierarchy of domains are the second-level domains which are placed directly to the left of the .com, .net and other top level domains for example co is the second level domain in example.co.uk. Second -level (or lower-level, determined by established parent hierarchy) domains are mostly formed in relation to the name of the company (e.g. tigo.co.tz), product or service provided by the company (e.g. hotmail.com). There can be third-level domains, fourth-level domains and so on and last you have a label designating a particular host server like ftp to designate an FTP server, www for a world wide web server, mail for an email server etc.
It is worthwhile to note that a domain name is not the same as URL (Universal Resource Locator) in that, while being part of it, the URL is more detailed and gives more information including the specific page address, folder name, machine name and protocol language. Examine the URL of the page you are viewing now
Tips For Choosing A Domain Name
Having seen how the domain name is structured, it’s time we discussed what to observe while choosing a domain name for your niche website. When a customer searching through the internet reaches your site he will be given some information of your site. Information given will be the title of your site, description and the domain name.The title and description of your site can be changed any time but the domain name remains. So to enable your customer remember your site easily the next time he wishes to revisit your site, your domain name should give an idea of what your website is all about. It should be short, use common words which relate to the products or services you are promoting or selling.
Steps To Follow To get Your Domain Name
1. Go to a keyword research tool you prefer and put the general term of your niche. Observe the number of searches per month. If it gets a few hundreds searches a month, it should be a good one. If searches are in the order of thousands month it means there is a very high competition for it in which case you should try to narrow your search to a more targeted area of your niche i.e. if for example you tried “clothing”, narrow down your search to something like ” baby clothing”
2. Get a list of keywords that are composed of two or three words and that get at least 50 searches per month.
3. Go to your search engine and search for each keyword the number of sites that are ranking for it. Generally a keyword with a number less than 300 should not give bad competition if your site is well SEO optimized.
4. Choose the keyword with a fair competition and which you feel is very relevant to your website and go to the registrar for registration. Prices vary from around a dollar fifty to a hundred and twenty dollars.
With your domain name registered, what follows is hosting for you website a topic we will cover on a separate page.
Please feel free to put your questions or comments here below, I will be more than happy to answer to all of them.