A domain name in its simplest form is just an Internet Website address. Just as your house or apartment has its own unique identifying address for the post office, so does each and every Website in existence.
The domain name system was originally created for the benefit of humans. The actual address used by computers is numerical in format (e.g. ) and is referred to as an IP, or Internet Protocol, address; however, many people find it hard to remember IP Addresses. Because of this, domain names were developed so that easily remembered names and phrases could be used to identify entities in the Internet instead of using an IP Address.
Why Do You Need a Domain Name?
If you are like some people, you may be wondering what the big deal is with getting a domain name. Why does anyone want or even need one?
For individuals a domain name can be used for family or genealogy website, e.g. if your name is Paul Brooks, you could try to get the domain name of "paulbrooks.com" so that anyone looking for you online would easily find you. If you are an up and coming author, artist, activist, volunteer or otherwise it would also give you a unique and memorable address with which to promote your causes.
In the business world, domain names are becoming as common as telephone and fax numbers. A domain name is vital for a business:
- Increases your name recognition
If for any reason you need some particular, recognizable name as your site’s address, the only means to do so is to own your own domain name.
- Indicates you are a serious Internet player
It is a marketing maxim that if you’re advertising to the general public, it is vitally important to present a simple, memorable message. Web addresses are no exception to this. Thus a well-chosen domain name can be absolutely essential to your enterprise on the Internet.
- Provides you with your own unique identity (your Internet identity is totally unique)
- Adds a level of trust and integrity to your website
If you intend to build a huge website, or one that is intended to attract hundreds or thousands of users every day, you will need your own domain name, and have it hosted by a provider whose facilities are up to the task.
- Provides a professional image for your company
Think of the credibility it lends to your company to have a name based on the business: contrast this to a cheap sounding name possibly hosted by local ISP or on a free site.
- Protect copyrights and trademarks
Generally, safeguarding your personal identity is crucial today. This should be the same for your online identity, as well as that of your trademark. When it comes to business, protecting your assets is critical; that includes everything from your bankroll to your domains. If you fail to register your name, it is only a matter of time before someone else does. Attempting to procure a domain after it is registered is much more labor-intensive than being the first to obtain it.
- Ease of use for your customers
A well chosen domain name makes it easy for your customers to remember your address. It will also be shorter to enter into a browser and easier to say over the phone or appear on a business card. In addition a customer may guess that your site name is www.[yourcompany].com and reach it successfully.
- Secure unique product names
If your advertisements and business cards don't display a domain name, you run the risk of being completely passed over by customers that prefer to browse merchandise and services online.
- Helps brand your image (increase brand awareness).
If you have a business site on the Internet your domain name is your own online brand and in a sense you can use your domain name as your online business card.
- Submission to search engines
Many search engines refuse to list pages from free sites
- Domain names plays an important factor when it comes to SEO
Domain names containing 'keywords' aid in higher search engine ranking.
- Allows you to use your domain address (www.yourname.com) and virtual email addresses (email@example.com) on your business cards and letterhead
- Avoids somebody else from registering the name you want.
- Provides for portability of the domain name
A domain name means that you are free to move to a different web host or Internet Service Provider (ISP) and leave the name unchanged.
Why would you want to move? Some of the reasons could be:
- A better standard of support (quick response and competent replies to technical questions)
- Lower prices
- Faster connectivity to your site
- Better tools and features
Whatever the reason you are no longer tied to your old ISP.
The ability to move domain name:
- Protects your Internet advertising investment from failure of your ISP or web hosting company
- Lets you change your current email provider and still keep the same email address