A domain name is an integral part of any website because it serves as your address on the web. With that said, choosing the right one is extremely important especially if you want to mark your spot in the online world.
When it comes to building a domain name, it helps to understand its parts.
Let’s drill it down one by one, shall we?
URL vs. Domain Names: What’s the difference?
Some people often get these two mixed up. But technically, they have distinct functions.
URL or Universal Resource Locator is the complete file address used to locate any page on your website.
Sample URL: https://www.crazydomains.com.au/
Domains, however, is only part of a URL. It’s a readable form of an IP address — a.k.a that looong string of numbers that only machines can understand.
Domain names usually come after the “@” sign of an email address and after the “www” in a web address. So, if someone asks you what your website is, you answer with your domain name.
Sample domain name: youtube.com, wikipedia.org, crazydomains.com.au
Now that the difference between a URL and a domain name has been explained, let’s proceed to the main topic of this blog: the parts of a domain.
Understanding the Key Parts of a Domain Name
SLDs are responsible for making your domain name/s unique. This could either be your name, brand name or company name — whatever floats your boat.
In www.crazydomains.com, for example, crazydomains is the second-level domain.
You can customise your second-level domain to your heart’s content. Use it to flaunt your unique brand and boost your search ranking.
When choosing an SLD, remember these quick tips:
- Keep it short and simple — around 6 to 14 characters.
- Keep it catchy and memorable.
- Make sure it’s available and not trademark-protected.
- Minimise using numbers, hyphens and other special characters.
- Insert a keyword related to your industry or niche
- Try the keyword + modifier formula, for example, bestkitchen.com or easycredit.com.au
Top-level domain (TLD)
TLDs, more commonly known as domain extensions, are found at the end of your domain name.
You can’t register your domain name without a TLD. They’re allocated by ICANN — the organisation that manages the internet — to those who want to rent a space online.
The most popular domain categories include:
Country-code top-level domain (ccTLD)
ccTLDs are country-specific domain extensions. You can use them if you want to market to a certain country or locale.
There are over 200 ccTLDs out there. Generally, they contain two letters of the Latin alphabet, such as:
- .AU for Australia
- .SG for Singapore
- .UK for the United Kingdom
- .NZ for New Zealand
An exception to the rule is IDN ccTLDs (internationalized country code top-level domains). These are domain extensions that use their native country’s script.
China, for example, acknowledges both its ccTLD .CN and its IDN ccTLD, .中国 — which translates to “China”.
Generic top-level domain (gTLD)
Generic TLDs depict what kind of website you are. They’re also the most common domain extensions.
Think of the popular websites we visit — Facebook.com, Google.com, Youtube.com. .com shows that they’re commercial websites.
Almost all the websites you visit use the .com extension. That’s because 48% of websites globally use .com.
So, it doesn’t come off as a surprise if your ideal .com domain name is already taken especially nowadays, businesses are all trying to transition online.
If this happens, try registering for other popular TLDs, such as:
- .co (company, also used as the ccTLD for Colombia)
- .org (organisation)
- .net (network)
- .edu (education)
- .gov (government)
- .info (information)
- .biz (business)
- .shop (ecommerce)
Remember that other gTLDs are not like .com, which is open for anyone to register. For example, .edu is restricted for educational institutions and .gov is for government organisations.
But getting a TLD other than .com for your business can work wonders. It helps you stand out amongst millions of websites on the internet.
Important Components of Your URL — Explained
The following are not components of a domain name, but your URL. Nonetheless, it pays to understand their use and how they affect your domain name:
The protocol identifier or URL prefix is what you usually see on the first part of your URL. The term itself identifies the protocol used to locate a resource online.
There are various protocol identifiers, such as FTP, mailto, file, and news. But what we commonly see is HTTP or HTTPS.
HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) represents a data transfer protocol that directs how a web server and a browser communicate.
HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure), meanwhile, is the same protocol embedded with SSL.
SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encrypts the data a user inputs into your website, protecting all website information from being stolen. This data could be personal information, like bank account details.
That said, SSL provides an extra layer of protection to your website, making it more trustworthy for customers.
So when browsing a website, keep an eye for that HTTPS:// label. While you’re at it, get one for your own website, too.
You might have an idea what the most common subdomain is. That’s right, it’s the www!
Subdomains are a part of your main domain. They’re easily changeable, and you can use them to create unique pages for your site and help drive traffic to your main site.
Get started with these examples:
- blog.yourdomain.com – for publishing informative, relevant content for your audience
- support.yourdomain.com – for a separate landing page for customer support
- store.yourdomain.com – for the ecommerce side of your business
Note that changing subdomains depends on your user access level. If you need assistance, make sure to ask your domain provider first.
Subdomains help drive traffic to your main website. Take advantage of them!
Ready to Choose Your Ideal Domain Name?
Now that you understand what comprises a domain name and how it can affect your business in the long haul, create one that’s best for your business branding.
If you need a little help, register to our Online Academy and take advantage of our free online courses to help you take the first step.