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Choosing the right domain name is essential for a successful online presence. Without a good domain name, you run the risk of being forgotten or lost amongst the masses of websites. If you're setting up a website to complete your social media profile, i.e. a personal website, then this will function differently than a blog or an online shop.
It's important to know what the aim of your site is in order to pick the right name. There are two main things to watch out for – general tips, as well as tips for specific kinds of website. You can find these recommendations in the sections below.
Brand domain, or keyword domain?
It's good to decide early on if you want to have a brand domain, or a keyword domain. The benefit of a brand domain is that your domain will most likely be considered as trustworthy, and immediately shows visitors that it's linked to your business or personal blog. A keyword domain, on the other hand, has the advantage that it is better optimized for search engines, and therefore will get higher search results. In recent years, however, the drastic improvement in search results has begun to decrease.
You may also want to consider an EMD, an exact match domain. These are domains such as buycameralensesonline.com, which exactly matches what someone might search in Google, for example. However, these domains often seem like spam addresses, and so if you opt for one, be careful to make sure your site seems credible and professional.
One possibility to increase trustworthiness is to look into premium domains. These are already owned domains, and will cost more than a usual domain registration, because they are perceived to have a higher value. These domains can cost thousands, but it may be worth it because of the apparent authenticity.
The first step to a successful website
Finding the right domain name is the first step in building a website that people return to time and time again. Buying a good domain will inevitably boost your online presence, and therefore boost your success as a business or blog, for example. Although it may seem like an investment of time as well as finances to build up a good domain, it's worth the effort. Content management systems (CMSs) such as WordPress offer a good platform to build up a blog – IONOS offer a WordPress CMS package, which includes a free domain for the first few months to get you started.
Another option to help you get you on your feet may be a website builder – this service is offered by IONOS.
- A website builder package is suitable for those who want a project with at least two subpages. Those who want to be able to control and adapt their website in a competitive field will find a website builder to be ideal.
- Classic domain extensions work well for this package, as well as country specific extensions to build up local relevance. nTLD domain names such as .design, .business, or the eye-catching .quebec are good. There's often confusion surrounding the nTLDs, and it's good to know that the TLDs that imply a geographical reference are classified as generic top level domains by Google. It may be worth registering more than one domain extension, especially the classic extensions such as .com, as many users will remember this one better than the nTLDs – if you own the .com version but prefer the nTLD, you can always set up domain forwarding to avoid competition from other websites.
Social media check
Check if your domain name is already being used for social media accounts – for consistency's sake, it's good to have the same name across the board.
Underscores in a domain name?
These are often understood as being written words. If you want to separate your domain name to make it more readable, consider a hyphen instead, bearing in mind that these make the domain name more complicated and may make it less memorable. Underscores should never be used for directories, as well as for image files. Either omit them, or use a hyphen.
Keep it short and simple! This avoids misspellings, and makes your domain name easier to remember. Over 50% of searches are made through a smartphone, so a clumsy domain will make your website harder to find. Use a maximum of 10 characters, and avoid hyphens wherever possible.
Don't use the name of public figures in your domain name. To make sure you're not breaching copyright, or copying someone else's brand, you can check out the intellectual property office website.
Using a personal domain is a great way to build your professional, online presence. You can use this address to forward visitors to your Facebook or LinkedIn, and therefore redirect people to your professional pages. It also gives you the possibility to create a personalized email address.
Finally, a simple tip that is nevertheless useful: Can you read your domain out loud? If other people can't understand what is being said to them, sharing your domain with others will be difficult, minimizing your potential visitors.
Blogging Tips for beginners
Get more Domain Tips
Forwarding a Domain to a Different Domain
Domain names alternatives to .com
Related Questions for this topic /FAQ
What makes premium domains valuable?
How can I create the design for my logo?
A domain can be registered for up to five years in one go. It's a good idea to register your domain for as long as possible, first of all so you can put your mind at ease and have one less thing to think about, but secondly, so you protect yourself against domain grabbing, in which other people register internet domains with the intention of selling them on for more money, rather than using them themselves. Domain grabbers target unprotected terms, but are still an inconvenience if you have to buy the domain you want for more money. Cybersquatting is more malicious, in which squatters concentrate on established trademarks and brands with the aim of selling the rights on to their proper owner for a fee. This is why it's important to renew your domain in time, and to register it for as long as possible.
Furthermore, the damages incurred by losing your domain to someone, whether via squatting, grabbing or an innocent mistake, are immense. Visitors may perceive your site to be less reliable than others if it's down for a longer period of time, or relocates to a new domain that they can't find. A good solution to this issue is to ensure that your domain gets auto-renewed at its point of expiry. This is the default setting with IONOS, meaning you don't have to change anything to ensure your domain stays yours.
Expired domains are often overlooked, but they may already have good backlinks and a lot of SEO work behind them. Always make sure you're not snatching a domain that the previous owner actually still wanted, but if an old domain is truly available again it might be worth looking into – just make sure it's worthwhile, and not associated with an old, untrustworthy business, for example.
The IONOS shop offers certain domains at reduced prices for new customers. This is ideal to minimize the costs of getting up and running. You may have noticed that some nTLDs are more expensive than others, or classic TLDs in general. This is because nTLDs allow popular domains which already been claimed to be opened again with the new extension. Although the registration fee for an nTLD may decrease over the next few years, buying the extension from someone who has it will become more expensive. For example, an exact match domain name will become more expensive as people become aware of its value. Furthermore, the domain name you want may be taken if you wait for too long – act quickly to avoid missing out.
Premium domains are already registered, and cost more than a usual domain registration, because they are perceived to have a higher value. But why invest in a premium domain? Like expired domains, these domains may already be SEO optimized, be keyword-rich, and contain backlinks. Furthermore, you may get the exact name you want, and add authenticity to your new project. In order to sell the domain, the owner will set a price at a marketplace like SEDO or Afternic, and those who want to buy the domain can head there to see the listing. These domains can cost thousands, but if you find the perfect domain, you'll thank yourself down the line for making a good investment.
When registering your domain, make sure you take the renewal price into account. Is the renewal price for a flashy nTLD too high to be sustainable? On the other hand, you might be able to afford further domains, due to their lower registration and renewal costs. You must pay for the renewal for each domain, so it's worth making sure you know what fees are waiting for you down the line – the fees can be found in the comparison table above.
The internet corporation for assigned names and numbers (ICANN) charges a fee of $0.18 per year, for each domain that is registered, renewed or transferred. One-year registration costs $0.18, and accordingly, five-year registration costs $0.90.
Related Questions for this topic /FAQ
What is domain grabbing?
What are the advantages of the new TLDs?
What are expired domains?
- Choose the domain name you want for your website, making sure you optimize it so it's memorable and functional.
- Select which domain ending you want to buy. It's possible to buy more than one at a time, which may be a good idea to secure your domain name across the board.
- Check whether your domain name is appropriate and available – you can do this using our domain checker tool. This will tell you if the domain contains invalid characters, or if it's already claimed.
- It might be that one domain extension is taken, but the others are still free. Consider whether you want to compete with the one that is already taken, or come up with a new domain name.
- If you choose to continue with the domain name you have, then you can always select a new TLD (top level domain) for your website.
- Once you've made your selection, you can add your domain extensions to your shopping cart. There may be several different package options – which features you choose depends on your needs.
- Make sure you check your order again for details such as the domain's expiration date, i.e. how long you've bought this domain for, and how many domains you're planning to claim.
- Create your customer account, if you don't already have one.
- Select your payment method
- Check over your order one last time – it never hurts to spell check.
- Purchase your domain, and you're ready to go.
Hint: As an existing customer, you can always add new domains if you need to by visiting the IONOS control panel and clicking "add new domain" from the domains drop-down menu.
What are ccTLDs?
ccTLDs are top level domains that represent a nation. The "cc" stands for country code, and therefore these are used to represent a website's geographical location. Some of these domain extensions are restricted, requiring a presence in that nation to use the ccTLD.
What are gTLDs?
gTLD is short for generic top level domain. They provide an alternative to the classic .com, .org, etc domain extensions that have been around for years, and are slowly being released over time. They include extensions such as .quebec and .tech which show visitors even before they've visited the that the site will relate, for example, to Quebec or technology.
What are nTLDs?
nTLDs are the most recent addition to the collection of domain extensions – hence the name: new top level domains. Each year, up to 1,000 new TLDs are released, and they are also gTLDs, as they count as generic TLDs. A full list of the domain extensions and prices can be found here.
Please note: certain domain extensions have eligibility requirements, meaning that not just anyone can register their site with that domain ending. In the U.S:, for example, .edu is restricted to institutionally accredited postsecondary educational institutions. Similarly, the extension .gov is restricted to government entities. For these reasons, IONOS does not offer these domain extensions.
Country domains: a comprehensive ccTLD listgTLDs: what you should know about generic top-level domains
Subdomains are useful for dividing your website into different categories. Here is a quick overview of some of the possible categories and advantages:
Target geographical areas, or language groups.
For example, if your website is in English and Spanish, a subdomain may be used to indicate that this section of your website will be in Spanish, and not English – instead of just domainname.com, es.domainname.com is used.
If your website offers a variety of different services or products, you can create a subdomain for each one, for example: smartphone.domainname.com, or blog.domainname.com.
Having a separate subdomain for logins or account pages on your website is a useful way of organizing your site both for your clients, as well as for yourself.
By using a subdomain, you'll be able to track the success of your website more specifically, by being able to see which area exactly is doing well, and where there's room for improvement.
Importance for SEO
Subdomains are quite a useful tool for SEO, and although subdirectory and subdomain optimization is not as significant for successful SEO as it was a few years ago, it's still worth doing. For example, you can insert keywords into your subdomain URL where they don't make sense in your main one. Furthermore you can build up your website's authority in a smaller, niche market because subdomains are seen as their own entity. This will help boost the authority of your main domain too. It's helpful to have the option for several subdomains, because several subdomains also increase your chances of being visible in search engine results. IONOS offers 10,000 free subdomains with any domain name registration – a good number to get your website kicked off!
You can set up your IONOS email address quickly and easily by visiting the IONOS control panel and selecting "create new email user." It's also possible to upgrade your mailbox features here in case you need more than the 2GB complimentary email storage.
Make sure you have created backups of all your site's files, plus any databases or email accounts with your former domain provider before you initiate the transfer. This data will not transfer automatically with the domain. You should also copy your previous DNS settings and subdomains with that domain. There's no rush- as an existing IONOS customer you can easily transfer your domain from another provider at any time.
Transferring domains to IONOS
This is called a DNS transfer, and can be arranged within a couple of days. You may wish to alter your DNS records if your domain registration was completed with an expensive hosting company. In this case, you can keep your registered domain but switch to a more affordable hosting provider such as IONOS. For an in depth introduction to DNS, including how to complete a DNS transfer with us, please visit the Help Center.
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