The Domain Name is one of the most important digital assets for your business.
Make sure to pick the right one & have 100% control over it…
What is a Domain Name?
In short, your Domain Name is your digital name – my-domain.com
Your website and your emails are hosted on a server. To access this server via a web browser (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc.), we have to reach its IP address (ex: 220.127.116.11).
A Domain Name is a friendly readable translation of your website’s server IP address.
Pick the right Domain Name
Do not confuse Company Name, Brand Name & Domain Name.
Company refers to the organisation that markets or produces products or services; Brand refers to the image and “personality” a company conveys through its products.
The Domain Name should be chosen in accordance with the Brand Name.
Ideally, before your Brand Name is definitively validated, it is recommended to check the following…
Is your preferred Domain Name available?
There are many tools around to check if a Domain Name is available or not. In the screenshots below, we used instantdomainsearch.com.
Go for a common TLD if possible (ex: “.com”)
TLD stands for Top Level Domain. There are many different TLDs: ccTLD for country-code, gTLD for generic, etc… Check Top-level domain on Wikipedia if you want to know more.
You may have noticed that many startups, especially in tech, have an “.io” TLD. But do you know “.io” stands for British Indian Ocean Territory? So why are so many startups having an “.io” TLD? Mostly because Domain Names are more likely available there, fewer restrictions and has been widely associated with technology (IO = abbreviation for Input / Output).
Even if “.io” is now considered as a generic TLD instead of country-code TLD, we recommend to pick into the Original Top-Level Domains:
- .org, .edu, .gov if applicable regarding restrictions
- country-code TLD (ex: “.sg” for Singapore) if your market is 100% country based
The TLD is one of the numerous SEO factors to rank your website vs others. Even if this SEO factor tends to be less important than before, it could make the difference with a close competitor.
New or upcoming TLDs (.gay, .fan, .miami, etc…) should be used with caution. If it really makes sense, then why not? But keep in mind that some people still do not consider new TLDs as trustworthy.
Domain Hack, Keyword Domain vs Branded Domain
Sometimes your prefered Domain Name may not be available. In such a case you may be tempted to go for a Domain Hack with a new or a country-code TLD. For example “learn.it” (Italy TLD). If “learn IT” is your targeted keyword, I would recommend to go for “learn-it.com” instead, especially if your market is not 100% italian.
Having a targeted keyword included in the Domain Name can be a bonus regarding organic SEO vs your competitors. Years ago, having a keyword included in the Domain Name was a simple way to rank higher. This ranking factor tends to be lower today (if not null) but I noticed it still can help in certain cases. On the other hand keyword stuffing in the Domain Name can be considered as spam by the Search Engines. Ex: “how-to-learn-it.com”.
Branded Domain (ex: amazon.com – with no meaning words included) is absolutely fine. Google says Keyword Domains don’t rank better than Branded Domains.
Just query your preferred Domain Name and check what is coming out. You don’t want your Brand Name to be related with inappropriate content, right?
Register a Domain Name
The need to access your Domain Name panel to change DNS (Domain Name Settings) is quite frequent.
Why you shouldn’t ask anyone else to register your Domain Name on your behalf?
Just because you should have 100% control over it.
In so many cases, my clients didn’t had control over their domain name. In most cases, their first web agency had it. Sometimes, a trainee who spent 3 months in the company had the control! In some other cases, the Domain Name was registered with an email address that does not exist anymore… In these cases, it is very difficult to regain the control, especially if you are not in good terms with your first web agency or trainee.
Where to register a Domain Name?
How much does a Domain Name registration cost?
Prices can vary from 5 USD / year to 66.000 USD, or even more. The shorter and more meaningful the Domain Name is, the more expensive it will be. Lots of short and meaningful Domain Names are not used and have been bought just to be sold to the highest bidder.
How to give access to your Domain Name panel for any technical operation by a third party?
All the above recommended registrars provide a client area where you can add a delegate access with specific roles (IT, admin, etc.). Create a temporary delegate access or user and revoke it after operation is done.
How to handle Domain Name in an organisation with frequent turnaround?
Non-profit organisations, NGOs or associations in general have a frequent staff turnaround. Almost every time I did a project with these organisations, we lost 1 to 3 weeks to regain control over the Domain Name before we could switch the new website to live. For these organisations, the Domain Name panel credentials (username/email) should be generic instead of personal so it makes it easy to obtain a new password in case it got lost. In short, register or change your account details with a dedicated generic email address (ex: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, etc.).
When it comes to a website, some Google Services are essential: Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Google My Business or Google Maps.
For all website projects I do, I invite my clients to create a free Google Account. This account is only dedicated for the website usage. It generally holds:
- automatic website backups
- website guidelines Google Doc
- all needed credentials for external webapps
- image folders
- and more
Contact us and get in touch with Philippe to learn more about website development!