Web Design Basics: Choosing a Domain Name

Web Design Basics: Choosing a Domain Name

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  1. Web Design Basics: Choosing a Domain

    You’ve finally decided to get online. You realize that it is time to open up a new customer base for your business, or you have an idea that you must share with the world. Outstanding, now how do you do it?

    When starting a website, the very first thing to remember is to do everything slowly, one step at a time. It can be very simple, but the internet is a big place that will pull anyone in a lot of different directions. It’s easy to get caught in the flow or wrenched apart by the sheer tonnage of information available. This guide will give you a step-by-step analysis of what you need to do. We’ll start with choosing your Domain Name.

    Now that you’ve had the inspiration to get online, the first question you need to ask yourself is what you want to call your site. The name of your website is what is known as your Domain Name. It is what goes after the www and before the .com (example: “www.DomainName.com”). If you are starting a business website, odds are good that the name you have for your business, even the name that is on your business license is already taken in the online realm. In addition, the name of your business might not be the best choice when it comes to picking a name for your website. The internet doesn’t have many rules about choosing a name, so be creative. It can be whatever you want it to be whether it has anything to do with your business or not. If you have a highly recognizable brand, like Pepsi or Nike, then using your business name will work fine. However, if you are not Pepsi or Nike (and you aren’t, because they already have websites) then you might consider picking something other than the name of your business as the Domain Name of your website.

    “What,” the Shakespearean question goes, “is in a name?” Well, when it comes to registering your domain name, it can be almost everything. It can also mean absolutely nothing and be useful only as a brand marker. It depends very heavily on what it is you are looking for. When it comes to the great and powerful internet, catchy is often better than precise. You want a name that is easy to remember. Online you aren’t just competing with the businesses in your area, you have to compete with the whole world, everyone battling to get a piece of the pie. Pick a name that is simple, something that rolls off the tongue and / or describes your business. Make sure you have multiple options in mind.

    Once you have picked the name of your website, you’ll need to register it so that you have ownership of that name. This can be done through any number of websites. The cost of registration varies from website to website, and domain name to domain name, but you should not be paying any more than $15.00 per year of domain name registration. The sites I recommend for registering your domain name are the largest and most popular, because then you can be guaranteed that they will have all the additions to your domain name that you will later require (I will explain what these additions are in the next article: Hosting). I suggest places like http://www.GoDaddy.com , http://www.namezero.com , and http://www.maddogdomains.com.

    One of the things to consider is what kind of business you have. That determines what the suffix will be for your website (the .com / .net / .org etc.) Please review the following list for the guidelines of these attachments:

    .aero—For companies that specialize in air transportation of goods

    .biz—Businesses only

    .com—For companies and corporations. Can also be used by non-profits or personal pages

    .coop—Only to be used for Cooperative enterprises and endeavors

    .edu—For schools, Universities, and other government and non-profit educational entities

    .gov—Only to be used by the Government or Government sanctioned bodies

    .info—Only for sites that offer information without profit

    .int—International organizations with treaties

    .jobs—For job seeking websites and sites that specialize in employment listings

    .mil—Only to be used by officially sanctioned military branches

    .mobi—For sites dedicated to mobile and cellular technologies

    .museum—To be used by museums

    .name—This is for personal websites, individuals, or blogs. Usually resumes or portfolios

    .net—A network or organization. The most flexible of all extensions

    .org—For organizations that are typically not for profit, but can be used by any organization

    .pro—Only for those persons or partnerships that are professionally licensed, usually by the Medical or Bar associations

    .tel–For phone, internet, and other telecommunications endeavors

    .travel—Travel agencies, airlines, cab companies, passport offices or other travel related bodies

    Make sure you are using the appropriate extension. For some extensions there is a great degree of flexibility, for others there is not. Most notably, .gov, .museum, .mil, .coop, and .edu are only to be used by the organizations specified. Here, too, it is important to focus on what is easiest for customers to remember: .com, .net, and .org are the most common, and cover most private kinds of organizations.

    Once you have your name chosen and registered, you’re on the first step to your website. The Domain gives you the name, now what you will need to do is find Hosting for your site.

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