What’s in a name?
At TechArk we know you have questions, and we strive to provide you with answers.
Once a week we tackle a unique element of website building, business strategy, mobile app and software development, digital marketing, and anything else that strikes our fancy and brings value to our readers.
This week, we’re taking a look at domain names. Prepare to learn what are they, why you need one, and how to set one up. Ready? Let’s talk techy.
What is a domain name?
If you have a website, you have a domain name. Simply put, it’s the text between the “www” and the “.com.” For example, TechArk’s domain name is “GoTechArk.” A domain name is the unique identifier of a website—part of its identity. There can only be one website hosted at a unique domain name.
Why does my website need a domain name?
There is no getting around it—just as a home or storefront needs an address, so too does your digital website. Otherwise the internet wouldn’t know where to send the roses and fan mail (kidding).
Just as a residential or commercial property owner must pay rent for that address, a website is no different. Nobody gets to live rent free, not even digital collections of files (websites). First, you’ll need to find a host.
How do I set up Hosting and a Domain name for my new website?
You’re in luck! Not only are we living in a digital world with innumerable conveniences and luxuries, we also have simplified and streamlined complex technical tasks into simple, user-friendly tutorials. Hosting, domain registration, and website building have all been converted into easy-peasy step-by-step services, whether you choose to work with an agency (like TechArk) or a website building tool. Most include hosting, too!
No matter who you choose, the steps are the same:
- Choose a reputable hosting service. There are a lot out there now, and they’re not all as secure as you might think. Do your research, and remember—this company will have your credit card information. Make sure you trust them.
Note: The “T” in TechArk stands for “Trust.” Just sayin’.
- Brainstorm potential names. This is the fun part! Start with your company name and get creative from there. Typically simpler is better, and the closer to your actual company name, the better. But it’s always good to play around—worst case scenario, you can repurpose the list for brand hashtags once you set up social!
- Check availability of your preferred domain names. There are lots of places you can do this, but at the top of the list is the WHOIS database. This houses all of the domain names currently being used out there (A LOT). We recommend using WHOIS.net, because it will show you whether your searched domain is available, and if not, what variations might be up for grabs.
Please note: some domains are free, while others may be available for a small fee ($2—$100). Others may have been purchased but not used. We call this “squatting,” because the purchaser now owns it and is able to auction it to the highest bidder (usually these types attempt to charge thousands of dollars).
A few tips when searching domain name registration availability:
- Don’t be discouraged if your first choice is not available. Ours wasn’t either.
- Try adding words like “go” around your preferred domain (or “eat,” “shop,” “play;” something appropriate to your service or industry.
- Play around with unique suffixes! As the “.com” universe fills up, users are experimenting with suffixes specific to their business, service, or industry. For example, “.cc,” “.info,” and “.net” are rising in popularity as cheaper options with less crowded playgrounds, so to speak. An edgier option is the mysterious (and somehow vaguely sexy) domain suffix “.xyz.”
- When you’ve settled on your domain, register it through your preferred host, and get started building your website! You can upload photos, embed videos, add text, and even install plugins to increase your website’s capabilities (add contact forms, galleries, homepage rotators, and more). Just be sure to do your research and select only tried, tested, and highly reviewed plugins.
If it's all Geek to you, don't worry.
TechArk speaks Geek and we talk Techy, so fill out the form below when you need assistance registering your domain or building your website. We’d love to help.