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Choosing Your Domain Name

A domain name is an important part of your website's online presence. It's how potential visitors will remember you.

In this article, we will discuss the following topics.

If you're looking for domain-related documentation, we've listed some of them for you in the Related Articles ⤵ section below.

Want more tips in choosing your domain? Please visit the following article to know more!

What is a domain name?

The internet is a network connection capable of communicating with each other using a network protocol called TCP/IP. To identify themselves, the machines are assigned a numeric value called an IP address (for example, Domain names were introduced as it is impossible to remember all those numbers for all the different sites. A domain name is a human-readable and memorable representation of an IP address. When someone types in a domain name like HostGator.com, the browser communicates with a root domain name server that acts as a dictionary and provides the appropriate IP.

What do you see in a domain name?

A domain name consists of a top-level domain (TLD) and a second-level domain (SLD). In the domain name "hostgator.com," the TLD is ".com," and the SLD is "hostgator." The "HTTP" and "www" are not part of the domain name; they are part of the entire web address, called a URL. So, when you choose your domain name, you are only concerned with the TLD and SLD.

.com is just one of many TLDs from which you can choose. Your choices include variations such as .net, .org, .biz, .us, and many more you may have never seen. The major deciding factor when selecting a TLD is availability. For example, mystore.com may be taken while mystore.net may still be available. The second factor affecting your TLD choice may be price. A .cc domain is typically more expensive than a .com domain.

The SLD is where your creativity and originality come in. You may choose any name you like, as long as it does not infringe upon someone else's trademark. You may only use alphanumeric characters and hyphens, though hyphens can not be used adjacently. Symbols and blank spaces are also not permitted in domain names.

Acceptable domain names
  • mystore.com
  • my-store-4-u.com
  • MY-STORE.com
  • m-y-s-t-o-r-e.com

As you notice above, one of the domains contains capital letters. This is still acceptable since domain names are not case-sensitive. In other words, when you register "mystore.com," you also get "MYSTORE.COM," "MyStore.Com," "mySTore.com," and any other variation where lowercase and uppercase letters are interchanged.

Unacceptable domain names
  • my_store.com
  • my--store.com
  • my store.com
  • www.mystore.com

How to choose a domain name

When selecting your domain name, you should ask yourself:

What is the purpose of my website?

  • If this is a hobby site or a special interest site, you probably want your domain name related to the hobby or interest.
  • If your answer is "to make money," the next question is "doing what exactly?" You might consider including the name of the service or product you are selling in your domain name; this will help you get better traffic, especially from search engines. Although you may like mystore.com, it doesn't tell a potential visitor what you're selling. A name like rare-electronics-and-lamps.com is identifiable and contains keywords visitors will Google to find you.

What should I consider when choosing my domain?

The domain is your brand

Do you know that a good domain name defines your website's branding? Yes, choosing a domain is a branding opportunity! Your domain gives your website an edge in the vast online community and makes it stand out from the competition. For example, "hostgator.com" sounds more catchy than "iamyourwebhost.com," doesn't it? It is because "hostgator.com" stands for what we offer - web hosting - without using generic terms like "web host," which may only increase the competition when visitors are looking for the term "web hosting" online. Branding is business, you see. The more you stand out, the more visitors you attract! Hey, HostGator even gave birth to Snappy!


The "first impression"

Once your visitors load your website on their browsers, the first thing they will notice is your domain name. If they see that your domain name "radiates" a good impression, they will likely stay on your website. If the domain name "sounds off," they just might scroll away.


Your domain affects SEO

It may sound too technical but don't fret. Simply put, SEO helps your website's ranking on the world wide web. It makes your site "more searchable." If it has a good domain name, it may even look and sound "more likable." SEO improves your site's visibility, thus garnering more attention and attracting potential customers.

It says I can't have the domain!

Getting the domain name you want can be frustrating if you realize what you want is already taken. If this happens, you may want to try submitting the same name with a different TLD. For example, if mystore.com is taken, you may want to check if mystore.biz is available.

You can also try changing the name slightly by altering your spelling or arrangement of words or finding synonyms. For example, if mystoreforyou.com is taken, you might try yourstorebyme.com, mystore4you.com, or myshopforyou.com.

Exciting, isn't it?

Good luck! Hopefully, you'll create a name your visitors won't forget!

Ready to register a domain name now? Please check the following article to guide you through the process.

Or you may also go directly to https://www.hostgator.com/domains and get started right away!

  • Domain Overview - Here is our consolidated guide of domain-related articles.
  • Domain How-To's - You may visit our go-to articles for domain management.
  • Domain Concepts - Learn more about domains and what you can do with them!
  • Domain Troubleshooting - This is an ultimate guide to troubleshooting common domain-related website issues.

Hey, we've got blog articles too!


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