A domain name serves as the web address for a website. This is the information you type into the URL bar at the top of your browser to pull up a particular page. Much like your physical address leads clients to your office, your domain name allows clients to locate your practice online.
Since your URL acts as your digital address, it’s important to register a domain name that will easily direct potential visitors to your website. Your domain should also reflect the name of your practice as closely as possible. There are millions of websites already taking up real estate on the internet, so it’s essential that you lock down your domain name before someone else can snatch it up.
Follow us as we go over your most-asked questions about getting a domain name for your practice and why this is a pivotal element of a successful website.
Why is my domain name important?
Your domain name is a simple text name for an IP address. An IP address connects you to the network of the world wide web but is made up of a random series of numbers. Not too easy to remember, right? So we have domain names associated with these IP addresses to make it easier for people to find your website.
While you may update your website or change web hosts, your domain name can stay the same so that users never lose track of you on the web. Once you own it, you can continue claiming that domain name for as long as you would like, so long as you make the payments, of course. But, we will get to that part.
How do I come up with a domain name?
A good domain name is short, sweet, and related to your practice name or purpose. You want web users to glance at the URL and be able to discern what your page is about.
For example, if you were creating a website for a local restaurant called Cafe Hugo located in the suburbs of Chicago, you would aim for a domain name like “http://www.cafehugo.com”. However, if that domain name is already taken, you could try similar variations, such as “hugocafe.com” or “cafehugochicago.com”.
When creating a domain name for your practice, keep these tips in mind.
1. Use keywords when applicable.
When your ideal domain name is being used by another site, it’s time to get a little creative. Try mixing in keywords that help identify what your practice does and what users can expect from your website. For example, if you are a perfume store, you may use a domain name like “http://www.perfumeandcologne.com “ if those keywords rank well.
However, be wary of keyword stuffing. Some users will fear that your site is illegitimate if the domain name seems to be less professional or unrelated to the SEO title and meta description.
2. Try to secure a .com domain name
As you know from being an internet user yourself, .com domain names are the most popular type of top-level domains. They are also the most practical. When users are searching for your website, they likely assume that your domain name includes the .com section.
If you can’t claim the .com version of your chosen domain name, consider other respectable top-level domains, such as .co or .net. Stay away from .name or .info domains, as potential clients may shy away from these types of sites.
How do I get a website domain?
Now that you know what you want to use for your domain name, it’s time to register for it! There are a lot of sites that will allow you to purchase an available domain name. Keep in mind, there will be an annual fee to upkeep your domain. When your registration expires and you decide not to pay the fee, you will lose possession of that domain name. Which means someone else could steal it!
Don’t worry, domain names are pretty affordable and well worth the money. The renewal fee is typically only between $10 and $15 bucks a year!
Should I actually buy a domain name or should I use a free version?
Since you’re creating a website domain for your business, it’s definitely better to invest in your domain. After all, a great domain name can be used for years to come.
When you use a free domain name from a hosting site, you’re actually only getting a subdomain. So, if we were using a free domain, our URL might say something like “imatrix.webhostname.com”. “iMatrix” is the subdomain and “webhostname” is the domain. This would tell you that iMatrix doesn’t own the domain.
This should generally be avoided because if you don’t own the domain name, you can’t transfer away from that service with the same address. So let’s say you wanted to use a different web host. You would have to create a whole new domain name! Who wants the headache?
Do you have more questions for us?
We get it. This can all be a little confusing, especially if you’re new to digital marketing and tech. If you have questions about creating a great website, how to rank better on search engine results pages, or any other marketing questions, reach out! Our team would be happy to help you find the resources you need to make your practice succeed online.