Knowledgebase: Domains & DNS
Choose Your Domain Name
Posted by CTX Admin on 11 November 2014 02:38 PM

A domain name is an important part of your website's online presence. It's how potential visitors will remember you! See below for some tips and tricks on choosing your very own domain name.

What is a Domain Name?

The internet is a network of computers which are connected and capable of communicating with each other using a network protocol called TCP/IP. In order for the machines to identify themselves, they are assigned a numeric value called an IP address (ex: 123.12.123.12). As it is not possible to remember all those numbers for all the different sites, the concept of domain names was introduced. A domain name is a human readable and memorable representation of an IP address. When someone types in a domain name like Cirtex.com, the browser communicates with a root domain name server that acts as a dictionary and provides the appropriate IP.

What's in a Domain Name?

A domain name consists of two parts: a top-level domain (TLD) and a second-level domain (SLD). In the domain name cirtex.com, the TLD is ".com" and the SLD is "cirtex." The "http" and "www" are not part of the domain name; rather, 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, example.net may be taken while example.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 comes 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 for example:

  • example.net

  • exam-ple.net

  • EXAM-PLE.net

  • e-x-a-m-p-l-e.com

Unacceptable Domain Names:

  • exam_ple.net

  • exam--ple.net

  • example example.net

  • www.example.net

Note: in the list of acceptable domain names, one of the domains contains capital letters; this is still acceptable since domain names are not case sensitive. In other words, when you register "example.com" you also get "EXAMPLE.COM," "Example.Com," "ExAmPlE.coM" and any other variation where lowercase and uppercase letters are interchanged.

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 to be related to the hobby or interest.

    • If your answer is "to make money," then the subsequent 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 example.com, it doesn't tell a potential visitor what you're selling. A name like yourexampleshere.com is identifiable and contains keywords visitors will Google to find you.

Register a Domain Name

Once you've chosen your domain name, it's time to register it on the world wide web:

  1. Go here https://billing.cirtex.com/cart.php?a=add&domain=register

  2. Make sure the 'I'd like to register a new domain' option is selected

  3. Type your desired domain name in the text field below, choose your extension (.com, .net, etc.) in the dropdown list to the right, and click the Search button

  4. If your domain name as specified is available you will see a dropdown list of registration period options (1 year, 2 years, etc.); if your domain name isn't available it will say 'Unavailable' and ask you to search again

  5. Click the green Order this Domain button when you're ready to pull the trigger on your new domain

Didn't Find the Domain Name You Want?

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

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

Tips and Tricks

  • Keep it simple - try to find a domain name that only has one possible spelling. Choosing a simple domain name without confusing spelling will make it easier for visitors to reach your website.

  • Shorter is better - the shorter your domain name is, the easier it is for your visitors to remember, type and tell others about. Try using 6-10 consecutive characters.

  • Avoid hyphens - hyphens can really get someone lost. It can also be difficult to embed the hyphen into someone's memory. If example.com is taken and you decide to order exam-ple.com because it is available, there is a great chance you will end up getting people lost at example.com.

  • Consider other extensions - if you find the perfect domain name ending in .com, it's a great idea to pick up other extensions (like .net, .org, .info, .us, etc.) as you can park these domains to point to your actual account to pick up any visitors that just may happen to type in a different extension. In addition, it also helps protect your site in case you become the next big internet sensation and someone tries to purchase another extension of your domain.

  • Keep it singular - this follows the same reasoning applied for avoiding hyphens. If example.com is taken and you pick examples.com, there is a good chance you will be sending your traffic to example.com as most domains are singular rather than plural. (This is not so much the case when it comes to picking keyword-rich domains.)

  • Use WHOIS - if someone owns a domain you want and you see it is not in use, run a WHOIS to find the owner and communicate your interest in obtaining the domain.

  • Make it keyword-rich - while this does not significantly impact SEO, it can help. For instance, if people are searching for "examples gallery", then examplesgallery.com could be a great domain to buy for the mere fact that it is exactly what people are searching for.

  • Avoid numeral substitutions - numeral substitutions just really do not work. Tell someone your site is advanc3.com and you are guaranteed to see some confusion.

  • Avoid slang - this is for the same reason as avoiding numeral substitutes. For instance, ursite.com is a bad substitute for yoursite.com.

  • Avoid copyright issues - this is just common sense really. If you go for a domain named "cirtexhostingservice.com" we're gonna get you!

  • Use a thesaurus - look for alternative words if something you want is already taken. This is a great way to come up with a creative name; however, make sure your alternative word is something that can be remembered and spelled properly.

  • Brainstorm! - grab a pen and paper, and get creative! You'll sometimes be surprised at what you can come up with.

 

See also All About Domain Registration

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