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Domain Basics

What is domain name? A domain name is basically the web address of a particular website. For example, "residualhost.com" is a domain name. If you want to have a serious online business, you need your own domain name.

 

Why do you need a domain name? A website is the online equivalent of "real estate". And if that's the case, then a domain name is like the title deed to your website.

 

There are plenty of free web hosts out there who will let you host your site on their server without owning your domain. Typically, they'll put it on a sub domain of their own domain. The problem with that is that you don't own the "title deed" to your own website. In fact, they own it.

 

Suppose the free host suddenly went out of business? Or suppose they decide to stop offering free hosting and they redirect all the traffic to their own site.

 

You need to have your own domain so that you can build equity in your virtual real estate. If you don't own your domain, it's kind of like renting a home instead of buying it. You'd be building equity in someone else's property for them.

 

By building equity in your own online property, it becomes an asset that you can keep for the long term, or sell to an investor. Now you can understand why it's so important to have your own domain. Now let's talk about what type of domain you should register.

 

Domain Extensions

First, which domain "extension" should you choose? Of course, you're familiar with the ".COM" extension, but when you go to register a domain, you'll see several different options. What about those?

    

It really depends on what you're going to be using the domain for. If it's going to be primary domain for your business, I'd settle for nothing less than a ".COM". For example, yourbusinessname.com.

 

The reason for this is that .COM's have long been considered the "gold standard" of the domain name industry. It is the most memorable extension for most of the general public, and could be viewed more favourably by potential investors if you should choose to sell your business someday.

    

However, if the domain is not intended to be the central identifying address for your business, there are some other good options available. The next best domain extensions are generally considered to be .NET, .ORG, and sometimes .INFO and .BIZ.

    

If your website is going to be an information source designed to help people, the .ORG extension can actually be preferable to the .COM. The reason for this is that the .ORG extension is generally associated with non-profit organizations and other helpful groups. When a web user sees your website listed on a search engine, a .ORG extension might create an element of trust which causes them to be more likely to click onto your site.