If you want a website, you need a domain name. But:
What is a domain name?
How do you make a good one?
Where do you get one?
This article will explain the answer to these questions in ways an everyday person who wants a website designed can understand.
What Is a Domain Name?
A domain name is a unique address that helps people find a website on the internet. It’s like the street address you have for your business or home.
When someone types a domain name into a web browser, it tells the browser where to find the website’s files and content so that it can be displayed on their computer or mobile device.
Examples of popular domain names include:
A domain name includes the name itself and an extension at the end.
The extension describes the nature of the site (e.g., .com = commercial business, .org = informational or charitable).
Further, it often includes a country code (e.g., .au for Australia). When a domain has no country code, it has an international audience or an audience within the US.
How to Choose a Good Domain Name
To choose a good domain name, follow these steps.
- Brainstorm names that:Are short, easy to spell, and easy to remember. This will make it easier for people to remember your site.
- Reflect both what you are offering and your brand or business name. I chose websmall.net as it was short. It also reflected my business name WEBsmall Website Design, which in turn reflected my focus on websites for the small end of town.
- Check availability. Use a domain name availability checker to check which domain names on your brainstormed list are available.
- Pick the right extension:
- .com.au is the best extension for most Australian small businesses.
- .com is good for businesses with a US or international customer base..org or .org.au are good for non-profits
- .id.au or .me are good for some personal websites
Bonus Tip 1
In previous years, it was a good idea to include search phrases your ideal website visitors would type into Google in your domain name. This no longer helps. And as it makes your domain name longer, I recommend avoiding it.
Bonus Tip 2
Avoid using dashes in your domain name.
Where Do You Get a Domain Name?
You register a domain from an accredited domain registrar. There are currently 30+ accredited domain registrars in Australia, but there are also international ones.
Registering a domain name is like renting it, not buying it. You:
- Own the right to use it for some time.
- Have the right to re-register it at the end of that period (before anyone else)
But if you let your registration lapse, your domain name is up for grabs.
In one sense, it doesn’t matter where you register your domain name. There aren’t different levels of quality.
But I personally prefer to register domain names with the same company I purchase my web hosting from. Hosting quality varies a lot.
For Australian small businesses, I recommend VentraIP as the best hosting company.
So now you know:
What a domain name is
How to choose a good domain
Where to get a domain from