South Metro Web Designs

Web Domains – An Explanation

domain name graphic

Web domains. What are they?

This post will attempt to explain domain names, and why they are so important to a business.

The internet is, simply put, a network of networks. Your home or business computer is on a network, as is your phone. The internet allows devices on your network to connect to other devices on other networks, usually via websites.

Every device on a network has an address, it is their “ip address”. The ip address for whitehouse.gov is 23.39.24.108. So if you wanted to go to the white House website, which way would be easier to remember, 23.39.24.108, or whitehouse.gov?

US white house

Of course whitehouse.gov would be simpler to remember. That is their domain name. Every website on the internet has a domain name, that’s the way people can easily remember the address.

The domain name is important, as it should easily identify the website. When you see “whitehouse.gov”, you know instantly what website it goes to. Just as your domain name should easily identify you. If your company name is “Bob’s Plumbing”, a good address would be “bobsplumbing.com”. And it’s possible to have more than one domain name. You might register “bobsplumbing”, “bobplumbing”, “bobs-plumbing”, etc., all pointing to the same website.

Who assigns domain names?

The domain name structure was introduced in 1985, and was managed by the US Government. In 1998 the responsibility for managing domain names was transferred to the “International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers” (ICANN). And while you can’t register directly from ICANN, there are many companies that register domain names through them.

What’s the difference in “.com”, “.gov”, “.org”, “.net”, etc.?

web domains and TLD graphic

These are called “top level domains”, or “TLDs”. Originally in 1985 when the internet went public, there were 7 TLDs, they were:

.com
.org
.net
.int
.edu
.gov
.mil

Each TLD identified what type of organization used it (.com is for commercial, .edu for education, .gov for government, etc.).

Due to the rapid growth of the internet, more TLDs were created. There are (as of June, 2021) now 1,589 TLDs.

How do I get a domain?

Choosing the right domain name may not be easy, but registering one is. There are many registrars out there, I recommend Google Domains, they offer simple registration, and their prices are usually one of the lowest, starting at $12 per year for a .com domain. And no, we are not compensated for this endorsement in any way.

clipboard with domain names

What if someone else has the domain I want?

If your preferred TLD has been taken, you could choose another one. Right now the domains bobsplumbing.com, .net, & .org are taken, so you could use bobsplumbing.us for example. Or if the domain is for sale, you could buy it from the owner. And you can also choose another variation of the name, as of the writing of this article, bobs-plumbing.com is available.

Choose your domain name wisely, you will be relaying it to potential customers constantly.

Domain Name Ownership

The website company can help you with this process, even register it for you. If you choose to go that route, make sure they register it in your name and address, not theirs. You need to be the owner of your domain, not someone else.

If someone owned the domain for another company, it would take them 5 minutes to change where that domain points to, effectively crippling the other company’s website. I have seen instances where a business let the web company own and manage the domain. Then the web company either went out of business, or had a disagreement with the business owner. If The business owner created another website, they wouldn’t be able to point the domain to it.

Your Domain Is Your Brand

Bottom line is, you will likely be putting your domain name on your business cards, in ads, on the door to your business if you have a physical location that people visit, or maybe on a sign if you sell at farmers markets or craft shows, Make sure it reflects your business well.

laptop with brand stickers

For any questions on domains, or any other topic, email me at Larry@southmetroweb.com, or call me at 770-692-0075.

Our website is southmetroweb.com

Larry

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