If you are here, chances are you are thinking about doing something with the internet, and you are told you need a domain name with a website. To a non-technical person, they are a little difficult to visualize and understand.
What is a domain name?
A domain name is a business name and it has all the related information about that business: name of a business, its address, what it does or sells, contact details, and ownership. Similar to physical business signage in front of a store, a domain name serves as identification to an online business so people can find it on the internet.
In other words, a domain name is a name of an entity on the internet. A domain name points to a website, a location where it holds content that is already digitized. Therefore, a domain bears the similarity of a real-world business name except that it has its own technical terms that seem foreign but they essentially mean similar things to real-world ones.
Now let us look into more detail how a domain name relates to an online business and how similar it is to a real-world business name.
Why do you need a domain name?
Similar to a physical business, your online business must have a name. Without it, you will not be able to register your business to various government agencies, declare that you are the owner, and be able to interact with other online and offline businesses.
Imagine if you run a physical store in your local area without putting up a business sign out in front, it will be hard for people to know that you are there and what you have in your store.
It is the same thing with an online store. You need to give your online store a name so people will know what it is about.
The benefits of having a domain name?
Just like a physical business, having a domain name for your online business will give you all the benefits like create revenue, pay expenses, etc.
You can also include your domain name on your business card to pass to people. Your website will complement your physical store and will increase your business exposure and potential revenue.
Without one, you will not be able to refer your online business to other people.
What are domain names with examples?
Now we have to dissect a domain name so we can understand it better. We could use the domain name “yourfirstdomainname” as an example. The complete writing would be this:
“www . yourfirstdomainname . com” (Spaces on left and right of the periods are added for clarity) where:
www: is the abbreviation of the phrase “worldwide web”. This tells people who search online would know that this is your business and it can be a supplement to your existing regular store or you conduct your business completely online.
Yourfirstdomainname: is the name that you choose for your online store or website. All the domain names consist of lower case letters, numbers, and hyphens. However, you should only choose a domain name that has just letters.
.com: indicates this is a commercial site.
What are different types of domain names?
The extensions .com, .net, .org, and .edu were among the first and they are called the top-level domain (TLD). As people creating more websites, the number of available domain names becomes smaller. Therefore, people created other extensions like .me, .xyz, etc. to increase the number of available domain names.
Because of this, “www . yourfirstdomainname . com” is a totally different “www . yourfirstdomainname . net” (Again, spaces on left and right of the periods are added for clarity), technically speaking. It is a normal practice that a person wants to buy all relevant sites so his customers will not be confused.
The difference between a domain and a website
As you can guess by now, they are two different things about an online business.
A domain name is just a name for an online store whereas a website itself is an online store. The main difference between an online store and a physical one is an online store does not carry real products or services, only photos or videos of products or articles about services.
For a blog, a website is where all the written articles are stored. Therefore, it can be called a digital copy of a publication printed on paper.
In other words, a website is a digital publication, brochure, or catalog of a physical store and the domain name is the name or title of that publication.
Another example is a domain name is a business sign and a website corresponds to a physical store.
How do choose your domain name?
Similar to a physical business, you would want to name your business before anything else. You normally will want to combine one or more of the followings to your domain name:
- People: who you are
- Location: your locality, nation-wide or international
- Products or services: what you sell or services you provide
- Quality: how good your products or services are
- Quantity: retail or wholesale
From these ideas above, you can create a few domain names for the business name that you like. You do not have to combine all of them, just use anything that you think is most important.
Keep in mind that the name you create should be:
- short: people will have to type your domain name on a keyboard.
- Easy to remember: your domain name should have a good flow so people can remember it.
- Convincing: a good domain name should carry the positive aspect of your business because you only have one chance to create a first impression.
- Trust-worthy: people should be able to feel that your domain name might fulfill all their needs.
One more thing to consider in choosing a domain name that a domain should be as short as possible and no more than 30 characters. If a domain name is too long, it will be hard for a person to remember or type it on a keyboard, and this is not a good user experience.
Why do you need to choose your domain name?
Similarly to choosing a business name for your real-world store, you have to find one that you like and it must not already be used by anyone. You do this to avoid any confusion when a person is looking for your business.
For choosing a domain name, you can go online to look for a name that is available to use. The websites that offer this service are usually the same ones that offer hosting services.
What is a hosting company?
In the real world, you have to go looking for a perfect location to open your business. In the internet world, you do not have to do it because all your content will be stored digitally.
This means that it does not matter where or which company you choose to store your content, you or your customers can visit your website over the internet connection.
The companies that offer the storage for the content of your website are called hosting companies. In layman’s terms, what they have is a giant combination of hard disks (similar to the one on your computer).
These companies make money by renting out hard disk space to people like you and me who want to have a website.
Why do you need a hosting company to store your website?
You can keep the content of your website on your personal computer, but there are many drawbacks:
You have to turn your computer on all the time so people who want to visit your site can have access to it.
You must have a reliable internet connection all the time.
You must know computer programs to direct online visitors to go to your website only, and not to go to other sections of your computer hard disk where you store your personal information.
You must know how to fix or update your computer, both hardware, and software. This is a skill that a non-technical person can master in a couple of months.
On the other hands, a hosting company will provide your website:
- Domain name purchase and registration
- A storage space
- Reliable internet connection so visitors can go to your website any time.
- Security so no intruders can have access to your personal or financial information.
big hosting companies like Bluehost has a lot of customers, so they can offer competitive hosting plans. It costs less than $4.00 a month to store your website with them. Compare this to the real world, you have to put up tens of thousand of dollars before you can put up a real business sign in front of a physical store.
How to search for a domain name
Hosting website companies usually have a function called domain name check or generator free for you to use. If the domain name you like is not been used, it will tell you so. If it is, the domain name generator will give you a list of similar names. You can choose one on the list or type in a new name in the search box.
Keep doing this until you find one that you like best.
If you are serious about making a website, after you select a domain name that you like, give it a few days and go back to register. Otherwise, somebody might have the same idea and registers it before you do.
If this happens, you have to search for another domain name that might not the best one for your website.
Is it worth buying a domain name?
If you already own a business, buying a domain name and create a website for your real business is a wise decision.
Not only the website carrying your domain name which is essentially your business name and can show the world what your business is about, but this website is also always open online so anyone can go to your website to learn about your business anytime.
If your website sells products, it will help you sell to people online without your involvement. It is a second storefront that can bring more revenue for your business even when your regular store is closed for the day.
If you have a service business, your domain name along with its website will allow other people to go to your site to learn about your services without your involvement.
How much should you pay for a domain name?
Typically, a new domain name will cost between $10 to $20, depend on hosting companies. However, there are companies or people who buy up popular domain names hoping to resell them at a higher price.
If you happen to like a domain name that is already registered, expect to pay a much higher premium.
When you pay for a domain name, part of the fee will go to registration. There is a non-profit organization that manages all the domain names and keeps track of who owns what domain names.
This information is available to the public unless you want your name unlisted.
Can you get a free domain name?
Yes, you can get a free domain name from hosting companies that offer this option provided that you sign up with a hosting plan, usually 12 months or more.
Bluehost is one of the companies that offer this special. It waives the purchasing and registration fee as an initial perk to invite you to become its customer.
Where do you buy a domain name?
As I mentioned above, the best place to buy a domain name is through a hosting company. You can also check the availability of your domain name using a domain name check or domain name generator for free.
These companies make it convenient for potential customers so they can go ahead and sign up with a hosting plan which is very reasonable. Bluehost has one very competitive hosting plan for as low as $3.95 a month.
If you were to rent a location to operate your brick-and-mortar business, the rent will start in a thousand figures, not including security deposit and all of the build-out, furniture, and equipment.
So $3.95 per month to have a website, your online storefront that can create extra revenue for you. It a great deal.
Make a domain name yours today
Now I hope you understand what a domain name is and can make the comparison between a website and a regular store.
You now should know a lot more about online business than a regular person and should be ready for your online business.
If you are ready, go ahead to search for your favorite domain name and take advantage of Bluehost special to find you a domain name before someone else beats you to it.
Click on the button above to start your online adventure by searching for your favorite domain name today.
Have fun in your new venture.
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