Are you planning to get a website for your personal brand or business but do not know where to start? These series of articles titled “Everything about a website” which will be published on a monthly basis are designed to help you to get started. I hope these articles will guide you through all the steps that you need to plan, launch and maintain a website.
Let’s go! Part 2: Domain Names
Running a web design agency one of the most common questions that we get from our clients are related to domain names. “What is a domain name and do we really need it? Does a domain name affect my search appearance?”, “Should my domain end in .com or .my, .io, .edu etc?”, “Which website is the best for purchasing a domain name?”, etc. We compiled(no pun intended) all our knowledge in the points below.
What is a domain name?
In simple terms: a domain name is a short phrase(example facebook, instagram, ecompile) followed by domain extension(.com, .com.my, .edu) that anyone can enter into a browser to access a website.
In more technical terms: every server company across the internet where you can host your website, has a unique IP address(something like 127.123.321.123). If you have internet access and try to connect to this IP address, the server will respond with the requested web page. Obviously no one wants to remember a bunch of random numbers in order to access google.com or facebook.com. So DNS(domain name system) helps domain names to resolve to a specific IP address(example you type in google.com and DNS gets the IP address associated with that domain name, example 127.123.321.123 and connects to that server). Imagine a nightmare where we didn’t have domain names and we had to remember all these IP addresses. That’s pretty much what domain names are.
How to choose the right domain name?
Few important rules of choosing a good domain name. Firstly: keep it short(ecompile.com is much better than ecompilewebdesignagency.com). Secondly: don’t use any symbols(webdesignagency.com is good practice. web-design-agency.com is bad practice). Thirdly: domain names are unique, so if google.com is already in use, you can’t own it anymore. Fourthly: it’s not case sensitive(WebDesign.com and webdesign.com are the same). Sixthly: avoid domain names that are too similar to already famous domain names(example, avoid facebooks.com googleit.com, etc)
Does a domain name have any effect on SEO?
Your domain name(i.e ecompile.io, webdesign.com, etc) and domain extensions(.com, .my, .io, .expert, .space, etc) will have no positive or negative effect on your SEO performance. End of story, thank you… On a more serious note this has been said numerous times by Search Engine(google, bing, etc) representatives and has been verified by many businesses(including yours truly, our primary domain name is ecompile.io) that your domain name will not help your SEO perform better. There are other things that you can do for that, which we will explain in other articles. So select the domain name that you like and grow your business without any worries.
That being said, why does everyone strive to get a generic(.com) domain name?
Yes we do confirm again that your domain name does not improve your SEO, but yet when you tell someone that your business is called, say Ecompile. Majority of people, when looking for your website, the first try will be to type yourbusiness.com into the browser. The .com domain names have been and are the most popular option. That being said, this notion has been changing a lot lately. Certain industries are adapting different domain extensions and very soon this will become the norm. Everything related to IT/Software is now in .io extension(examples https://www.apollo.io/, https://opensea.io/, https://laravel.io/, and many more) and it is becoming the standard in this field. All TV related websites now use .tv or .media domains. If it has not happened yet, very soon (.com) domain will not be the immediate thought for a domain name any more.
What’s the best place to buy a domain name?
Namecheap.com is the first suggestion that we give to all our clients. Why namecheap you may ask? Their customer support is what we answer. The cost is almost the same on all the providers, with 1 to 2 USD difference. However, good customer support is much more important, in case one needs any help, and namecheap.com is excellent at that. Our second choice would be godaddy.com. They have good customer service as well. However if you are looking to buy a country specific domain(example, .my for Malaysia, or .sg for Singapore). These domains are sold by local providers only, so you will have to check for the specific country where you need the domain for.
How much does a domain name cost?
The price for a .com domain is around $12 per year. Other extensions such as .io are more expensive and can cost up to $40 per year. The domain purchase is a subscription fee, so the cost is for 1 year and has to be renewed yearly. A lot of providers offer a discount for the first year, or when purchased for a number of years.
Tip: Contrary to popular belief purchasing the domains for a longer period(3-5 years) will have no positive or negative effects on your SEO.
I hope this article helped you to understand domain names better. Read our follow up article in this series: ”Everything about a website. Part 3: Hosting” here.