What is a Domain Name?
To put it simply, a domain name is an address to your website. Think of you website as your home and the internet is an intricate and complex map of streets with billions of website destinations. The domain name allows you and others on the internet, to easily find your website.
Delving slightly deeper, every website has an IP address, this is a string of what seems to be random numbers. When you register and purchase a domain name, it saves your domain name to that IP address. So when ever someone searches for you domain name, it points them to the correct IP address (Website). Domain names makes it easier for internet users because it is easier to remember a name rather than a group of numbers.
Let's look at an example of this in practice.
When you search for Underdogcreatives.com in a search engine and press enter, the computer, laptop, smartphone or other device will send a request to a bunch of servers which make up the DNS. DNS stands for Domain Name System, this looks up the correct IP address and points your device to the correct website, all in under a millisecond.
What are the costs to owning a domain?
Domain names are purchased for a set period of time like one year or three years etc. When the term length finishes, you’ll need to pay to renew ownership for the Domain Name. Renewal costs are normally close to the initial registration cost, however if popular, some renewal charges can be a lot higher than the initial payment.
It's also possible to transfer you Domain Name to another provider. There are a number of reasons for transferring domain names, such as swapping to a provider that offers better prices, or one with better a service and support. These fees depend on the host and vary from one time flat fees to annual registrations.
According to StartUps, a new domain registrations are typically in the £7-£12 price bracket. Please do remember however Domains are a running variable cost, you’ll also need to factor in domain name renewal costs, email setup/running costs and any possible additional charges like privacy protection.
What do I need to consider when choosing a domain?
Keep it short. The longer the Domain name is the harder it will get for people to remember it. This come in handy when implementing SEO strategies and Email account with your new Domain Name.
Check to make sure you Domain Name is available. Two websites can not share the exact same Domain Name. Do some research first before getting your heart set on one you like. If the one you want isn't available, don't be afraid to get creative. Just remember to include your brand name and keep it memorable.
Make sure your name doesn't conflict too much with a Domain that already exists. Although you can't purchase that exact Domain Name, you may be able to purchase one similar. Try avoid this if possible because you may cause confusion among web users and make it harder to develop the SEO of your site.
When you have decided on a Domain Name, make sure you have spelled it correctly. It may seem silly, but it can be easily done.
It could also be wise to purchase multiple Domains. Although you can't have one Domain Name point towards two websites, you can have multiple Domains point to one website. This reduces the chance of a competitor acquiring those domains and pointing it to their website. One example of this could be using the same Domain name but changing the ending to include .co.uk, .com and .org. Another example could include any abbreviations of you company name.
Other things to note
If you own a domain name, the registrar must provide the owner’s contact information to the internet corporation for assigned names and numbers (ICANN). This includes your name, your company's registered physical location address, email address, and phone number. This information is stored in the WHOIS database, which is a publicly available resource.
To keep this information confidential, lot's of providers offer privacy protection at an additional cost. Your personal information is still provided to the registrar, but theirs is then listed on the database. This is particularly useful for avoiding spam emails and phone calls.