Let me tell you how my parents and grandparents used to do their groceries and other shopping. They would typically take a shopping bag (made of cloth), visit a nearby market, and purchase the required stuff after intense bargaining with the shopkeepers. This is the story of shopping almost a half-century ago and many of your parents may also agree.
Now fast forward to our era, we can buy almost any commodity from the comfort of our home conveniently via our smart devices-thanks to the internet and allied technologies. Besides, we have another privilege that our grandparents don’t and that is we, as customers; have a greater choice and therefore businesses (especially online) are forced to woo the customers for surviving in this competitive business environment.
For surviving and flourishing in the intensely competitive environment, businesses are adopting innovative business strategies. Going online is one of such innovative business strategies.
And now many businesses have developed their online websites and e-commerce stores. Most of you may have noticed that the entire giant and many of the small and medium businesses are now maintaining their online presence and not surprisingly, many of the home-based businesses have also become online. But such proliferation of online business enterprises has created another problem and that is businesses find it increasingly hard to compete for limited online customers.
For reaching out to the maximum of these limited online customers, businesses are conscious rather anxious to be visible to the maximum of the customers and here the importance of a relevant and effective ‘domain name’ comes into play. But what exactly domain is?
What is a domain?
A domain name or simply domain is the online equivalent of your physical address. Put it like that a website in the cyber world is a house and the domain is its address. Likewise, in the physical world, all of the communication in the cyber world between these online houses (websites) takes place via their postal addresses (domains).
The internet is a global network of computers and in this network; every computer can connect with and share information with every other computer of the network. For doing this sharing smoothly, each computer is allotted a unique numerical identification address known as ‘Internet Protocol’ (IP). ‘220.127.116.11’ is a typical IP address.
Though remembering these numerical IP addresses for the computers is not a problem, but, we humans can’t remember them and so the experts devised the domain names for easily remembering these ‘online addresses’. Now in a typical website address that is ‘www.xyz.com’ the .com part is a domain. Though the .com domain extension is very popular however there are several types of domains. Following are some types of domains.
- Top-Level Domain (TLD): The generic domain extensions like .com and .net are known as Top Level Domains (TLDs). Lesser common TLDs are .club, .info, .agency, and many more.
- Country Code Top Level Domain (ccTLD): The two letters country-specific domain names like .us for the United States and .pk for Pakistan are called country code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs).
- Generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD): Generic Top Level Domains are also top-level domains and they are institution-specific like .gov for governmental institutions and .mil for military institutions, etc. These generic top-level domains are also known as sponsored top-level domains.
Besides these three main domain types, there are also other types like subdomains, second-level domains, and free domains. While free domains are free to acquire but you have to buy other domain types from domain-seller platforms.
But getting a domain name is not enough for attracting more online customers as you need to consider the SEO factors while buying a domain name for your website.
What is SEO?
SEO is an abbreviation for ‘Search Engine Optimization’ and it means to take all the measures for ranking your website higher in the search results of a search engine. As Google is the giant search engine, so the majority of the online businesses pay heed to more than 250 SEO factors of Google to rank their website higher in its search result. SEO factors are the determining factors that Google or other search engines like ‘Duck Duck Go’ and ‘Bing’ use to rank the websites in their search results.
But why ranking higher in the search results is important? It is important because a majority of the customers after entering their queries in the search engine chose the products/services from the first page of the search result. Therefore, if your website or online store is not on the first page then you are missing a lot of potential customers.
As you don’t want to lag behind your competitors so you must pay heed to every SEO factor and selecting a proper domain name is one of these factors. Selecting the desired domain name is also essential as you can’t change it after launching your website.
The domain name is your permanent address and therefore you must take the following measures before selecting your domain.
Things to Consider Before Choosing a Domain Name
Appropriate Domain Name: You have to select an appropriate domain name. If the international audience is your target audience then the TLDs like .com are appropriate for you. On the other hand, if you want to target an audience of a country then country-specific ccTLDs are a good choice. Still, if you are running a specific institution then gTLDs like .edu are the right option. If you are going for a TLD then choose the popular TLDs like .com as Google and other search engines tend to not rank lesser-known TLDs and similarly selecting country-specific and institution-specific domains will rank your specific websites higher than websites with generic TLDs for the same audience.
Secure Your Domain: Nowadays cybersecurity is a concern for the customers and online businesses alike for the frequency of cyber attacks is increasing with each passing day and therefore by securing your domain, you can rank your website higher in the search results as this secure domain has become a high ranking factor. In fact, Google shows a warning sign to website visitors if that particular site is insecure. The most convenient way to secure your domain is to buy a domain with built-in security.
Buy Domain from a Trusted Registrar: Always purchase a domain from a trusted registrar and always register yourself as the owner of your domain. It is an SEO good practice. Besides, the domain is your private property and you must own it.
Check the Domain’s history: Domains are limited and therefore domain’s registrar resells domains. More often, a domain is blacklisted by Google or other search engines so they are left by their original owners. If you, by chance, get such a domain then your website will not be ranked by any of the search engines. So it is advisable to search for a domain’s history before buying it.
Timely Renew Your Domain: You can buy a domain for a specific period and after its expiry, you must renew it otherwise you will lose your entire online business. Keep note of your domain expiry date and renew it before it is too late. Besides, purchase domain for an extended period let’s say for ten years.
In wrapping up the discussion, it is recommended to do comprehensive research and pay heed to all of the domain-related SEO factors before purchasing your domain as you can’t change or modify your ‘online address’ later. This is the important first step for reaching out to the maximum of your customers and fans out there.