Domain Name 101 for Business Men and Women

Domain-Name-101-for-Business-Men-and-Women - Macaulay GidadoDomain-Name-101-for-Business-Men-and-Women - Macaulay Gidado

Are you thinking of setting up a website or landing page for your business? Among the first set of things you need to do is register a domain name for your business. The problem is that when you are not IT savvy, understanding how the Domain Name System works alongside the terminology associated with it can seem challenging. This guide was designed to simplify everything for you.

First of All, Do You Know What an IP Address Is?

Domain Name 101 for Business Men and Women - Macaulay Gidado

An IP address simply means an internet protocol address. It’s consists of four numbers separated by a dot, and each number has one to three digits. An example of an IP address is 78.123.0.218.

Every computer or server has a unique IP address. Computers on the internet use IP addresses to locate and share information with one another. For a clearer picture, think of a computer or server as a house. Then think of an IP address as the mailing address of that house.

Relationship Between Websites and IP Addresses

Every website has one or more IP addresses. Which means that a website can be hosted on one or more servers. To simplify this, a computer is like a house, an IP addresses is the address of the house, and a website is the occupant of the house.

What Is a Domain?

Domain Name 101 for Business Men and Women - Macaulay Gidado

Typically, if you want to visit a website online, you are supposed to type in the IP address of the computer hosting the website. Now, looking at the IP address 78.123.0.218, you can see it’s not easy to memorise, especially if you are not good with numbers. When you now consider that you need to visit many websites from time to time, you begin to see how memorising a lot of IP addresses (a bunch of numbers) can be a huge problem for the human mind.

This is where domain names come me. They are a way to identify IP addresses. For instance, www.amazon.com is a domain name identifying some of Amazon’s IP addresses. So instead of memorising Amazon’s IP addresses or typing them to visit their website, you just need to memorise or type their domain instead. Makes everything easier, doesn’t it?

In URLs, domain names can also identify web pages–as in the example www.cnn.com/contact, which will point you to the contact page on CNN’s website.

Domain Name System (DNS)

Domain Name 101 for Business Men and Women - Macaulay Gidado

You have probably heard of the term several times but don’t know what it means. The DNS is an electronic address system (an internet service) that translates domain names into the corresponding IP addresses they identify. So when you input and send the domain name www.example.com, the DNS finds the IP address it identifies and then locates the computer associated with that address, so that you can view the website hosted on that computer.

The DNS consists of three levels:

  1. The Top-Level Domain (TLD)
  2. The Second-Level Domain (SLD)
  3. The Third-Level Domain or subdomain.

Top-Level Domain (TLD)

This is the DNS root zone. It’s the highest level of domain names you can find online. All domain names end with a TLD, and there are over 800 top-level domains. Another name for Top-Level Domains is ‘domain extensions’. They come in three categories:

  • Generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs): These are domain extensions like .com, .net, and .org.
  • Country code Top-Level Domains (ccTLDs): Any domain extension associated with a particular country is categorized under ccTLDs. There are more than 200 domain in this category. Examples are .es for Spain, .nz for New Zealand, .us for the United States, .ng for Nigeria, and so on.
  • New Top-Level Domains (nTLDs): These are the same as gTLDs above, except that they were introduced recently, from 2013 to 2016. They are associated with generic words and are very easy to remember. Examples: .agent, .tokyo, and .blog.

To register a domain name for your business, you get to choose from over 800 TLDs.

Second-Level Domain (SLD)

In the DNS hierarchy, right below the top-level domains are the second-level domains. Take a complete domain name like www.example.com; the second-level domain is the name immediately left of the TLD. ‘Example’ is the SLD.

To register a domain name for your business, you have the freedom to make up your SLD. It can be a random word, your business name, and it can include numbers and even hyphens.

Third-Level Domains

These are called subdomains. They are written immediately to the left of SLDs. In www.example.com, the third-level domain is ‘www’. In mail.example.com, it is ‘mail’. And in ftp.example.com, it is ‘ftp’.

Third-level domains refer to the designation of servers: ‘www’ refers to web servers, mail.example.com refer to a mail server, while ftp.example.com refers to a file transfer protocol server. Third-level domains simply offer structure to a website.

How Do I Get a Domain Name?

Domain Name 101 for Business Men and Women - Macaulay Gidado

By now, you already know that your domain name should have three levels as depicted in www.example.com. To get yours, all you need to do is visit the website of a domain registrar. A domain registrar is any institution that the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has given license to sell domain services to people.

An example of a registrar is NameCheap, which we use for our company website at Macaulay Gidado and for our clients’ websites. When you are looking to register a domain cheaply and also get renewal charges and add-on services that are very cheap, NameCheap is the registrar to go with.

Be aware that registering a domain for a year means you own that domain for one year. Should you fail to renew it at the end of your one-year registration, the domain will become available for other people and businesses to register.

Find out more about how to choose a domain name for your business.

This article also appeared in Macaulay Gidado Medium Publication.

How to Choose a Domain Name for Your Business

How to choose a domain name for your business - Macaulay Gidado

When choosing a domain name for your business, you obviously want to get it right. A great domain name can make a big difference in your quest to make your business an online success.

How then do you choose the right domain name?

Many experts have come up with various tips on choosing a great domain name. Unfortunately, the sheer number of these tips has made it even more difficult and confusing to choose a domain. It’s now hard to tell which tips are the real deal and which ones are chaff.

You are not alone. Below, I have compiled some of the tips that have worked for Macaulay Gidado.

Your Domain Name Should Be a Branding Tool

Take hot-iron branding, for instance. People in the olden days used it to place marks of identification on things they own–for example, slaves and livestock. Hot-iron branding was all about identity.

Using your domain as a branding tool thus means using it to give your business an online identity. When people see or hear your domain name, does it remind them of your company? If yes, then you have succeeded.

Here are some ways you can use your domain name as a branding tool

  • Use your business name as your domain name. Just as Coca Cola, Apple, Amazon, and Facebook did.
  • Avoid names that are too generic.
  • Avoid including numbers in your domain. Numbers are not easy to remember.
  • Don’t use a name that sounds like that of a competitor.
  • You service coverage is limited to a specific location, then you might want to localise your domain name by adopting the country code top-level domain (ccTLDs) of that location. For instance, if your business only serves people in New Zealand, then consider using www.yourdomain.nz instead of .com, .org, or any other domain extension. This will improve your search engine optimisation and help your site rank higher for relevant searches originating from the country your business covers.
  • You might want to trademark your domain to safeguard it from competitors and squatters who might try to use variances of it.
  • You might also want to register your chosen name under various top level domains (TLDs) in order to prevent other businesses or people from registering them. For instance, don’t just register yourdomain.com. Also register yourdomain.org, yourdomain.net, and other domain extension you don’t want other people to register.

Make Your Domain Name Memorable

Make it easy for your customers to remember your domain name.

  • Shorter names are easier to remember.
  • Use a name that is easy to pronounce.
  • Avoid hyphens and numbers. They complicate things.
  • Avoid misspellings. Even though misspellings worked for Flickr.com and tumblr.com, they are tricky and can work against you.
  • Use a catchy name. Catchy makes for easy remembrance.

Never Use a Trademarked Name

Using a name associated with a trademark translates to cybersquatting. You will be basically infringing on another business’ trademark. You could end up in a lawsuit that will take away your domain and leave you paying damages to the trademark owner. Avoid trademarked names. Use this tool to check the trademark risk associated with your chosen domain name.

Is Your Chosen Name Available on Social Media

Before registering a domain name for your business, you might want to check whether the name is available on the top social media platforms. Why? Using the the name in your domain as your social media handle will help you:

  • Create a uniform online presence for your brand.
  • Make your brand easy to discover.
  • Improve your online credibility and authenticity.
  • Prevent other people or competing companies from stealing your brand’s identity on social media and doing God knows what with it.

Therefore, if your domain name is www.yourbrand.com, you might want to snag the Facebook and Twitter URLs www.facebook.com/yourbrand and www.twitter.com/yourbrand. Do the same for other social media platforms.

To check if your name is available on the top social media platform, use this tool.

Having acquainted yourself with the tips above, you mustn’t take all of them into consideration when choosing your domain name. However, making sure that your domain name conforms to some or most of them can improve your chances of snagging a domain name that makes all the difference for your business.

Seven Things You Can Do with Your Domain Name

Seven things you can do with your domain name - Macaulay Gidado

When people say they need a domain name, the first thought that comes to mind is, “they want to set up a website”. While that may be appropriate, a domain name can do much more. Are you holding off on registering a domain name? Perhaps because you are not quite sure what to do with it? Here are seven ways you can use it.

Secure Your Online Identity with a Domain Name

Cyber-squatters and domain investors are getting more desperate to make money online every day. Securing your online identity has never been more important. You may not need a website for yourself or company today (very unlikely). But you most certainly will in the future. Registering your ideal domain name now will save you the headache and cost of acquiring it tomorrow from any domain investor who beats you to it.

Also, if you own a company, then securing your domain name become paramount. You might also want to secure similar names relevant to your brand. This will protect you from competitors or traffic hijackers looking to divert some of your customers or site visitors to their websites.

Even if you aren’t currently making use of the domain name, you can let it sit there, until you are ready to use it. This is referred to as domain parking.

Make Money Through Monetized Parking of Your Domain Name

People sometimes confuse domain parking and monetized domain parking. With domain parking, you simply register a domain name without using it. But with monetized parking, you opt in for your registrar to set up a dummy webpage for your domain name and list adverts targeting type-in traffic to the domain.

Making tangible money with monetized parking is not as easy as advertised online. Going with the meaning of ‘type-in traffic’, your domain name should be a popular keyword or keyword phrase. One people are likely to type into the URL bar out of curiosity or when searching for a website related to the keyword. Example: people.com. Your domain can also be a misspelling like twtter.com. The goal is capture people searching for twitter.com, but who omitted the “i” by mistake.

In any case, the number of such domain names you register will also count towards how much you make from monetized domain parking.

Sell Your Domain

Many people are into domain investing. And it’s extremely profitable for those that understand the mechanics. It involves registering domain names you believe will be in demand in the future. It also involves a bit or a lot of waiting. After which you then sell the domains off to whoever is willing to pay the price you want.

While many domain investors make hundreds or thousands of dollars on a single name, some great domain names go ahead to land their owners deals worth tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars—sometimes even millions.

If you have some domain names you want to sell, here is how you go about doing it.

Set Up a Website

This is the major reason for domain name registration. When someone types in your domain name into the URL bar of their browser, your website is what they should find. It doesn’t matter what type of website. It can be:

  • A blog, where you share regular compelling content about a topic in which you are an expert.
  • An ecommerce website where you sell products online.
  • A company website where you display information about your company and your product or service, generate leads, and relate with your customers.
  • A personal website with info about you (this can come in the form of an author website, an online resume, even a virtual business card listing where you can be found online and offline, and so on).

You can set up a website at your domain by selecting a webhosting plan.

Setup a Personalised Email Address

Have you have ever wanted an email address that says @yourname.com? Perhaps for your personal use or for your business? You must have at a point wondered how to procure it. Well, it all starts with you registering a domain name that equally says yourname.com. Whether you set up such an email via your domain registrar or Google app, there is no denying that it will make you appear professional to whomever sees your email in their inbox.

The best part is that you can even set up as many email addresses as you want at that domain.

Forward Your Domain

There are many applications for this. You can forward your domain name to your website, Facebook page, twitter timeline, or to some other social media profile. This is especially handy when you have high-traffic domain names you simply don’t want to park. Instead of letting the traffic waste, you redirect it to any webpage of yours that needs it.

To forward a domain, simply login to your domain account manager, select the domain you want to forward, input the URL of the page you want it forwarded to, save, and you are done.

Lease Your Domain

This is another alternative when you don’t want to sell your domain name. However, it’s not a very popular one. Even so, if you find someone that is willing to pay monthly or yearly to host a website on your domain, by all means enjoy the opportunity. With leasing your domain, you can eat your cake and have it. But your domain must be a hot cake (commands much traffic or benefits whatever the renter wants to do with it) for anyone or company to want to lease it.

Just make sure that your contract with this person clearly states what they can’t use the domain for, as you don’t want them jeopardising its value by doing something illegal or something that may get it blacklisted by bodies like Google. The contract should also include the conditions under which any of you can terminate the lease.

These are the major ways you can utilise your domain name. Here are other alternatives, although most of them fall under the abovementioned ones. Learn more about domain names here.