Internet users have various alternatives for establishing an online presence without a domain of their own. These include third-party publishing platforms to Facebook pages and groups. Whether you’re starting a personal blog or building a business, owning your domain name is a smart move. It puts you in control of your brand and the content you create on the web. This guide will cover the importance of a domain name, what it is, and why you need one if you want to start a successful website.
What is a Domain Name?
A domain name is an online address that provides a user-friendly way to access a website’s actual online locator: its Internet Protocol (IP address). The IP address is a unique string of numbers and other characters that are used across the web to access websites from any device or location. But the IP address is tough to remember and type correctly. Therefore the domain represents it with a word-based format that’s much easier for users to handle. When an individual inputs a domain name into a browser search bar, the browser uses the IP address, it represents to access the site.
Why is Domain Essential?
Domain incorporates a unique name chosen by the user and an extension, such as .com, .net, or .org, that designates the site’s Top Level Domain. If you’ve got a name in mind, you can check the name availability through one of the numerous domain name checkers available through domain registrars and web hosting providers. Because each name must be unique, you can’t use a name that belongs to someone else. Still, with many new TLDs currently available, you’ll choose from a variety of combinations to get the appropriate domain name for your new site. It is possible to even buy an existing domain from its current owner, or from a marketplace or domain auction site that brokers unwanted or unused names at distinct prices.
Depending on the name you select, buying and registering a domain name can cost as little as $10 or the maximum amount as thousands of dollars for a sought-after existing name. New, unusual TLDs like .me or .bio can cost over the familiar .com or .net, too—but these extensions could also be the right option for expressing your brand most vividly. Once you’ve got a unique name in mind, you’ll be able to register it through an independent domain registrar or through the company you select to host your new website. Although you don’t have a website yet, you’ll still claim ownership of your ideal name and hold it until you’re able to set up a site.
Why Should You Get Your Domain?
The online world is rich with opportunities to make a business or blog on free or paid hosting sites, or perhaps on social media. Free Facebook pages and blogging platforms like BlogSpot or Medium allow users to assert a space for posting content and images of all types. Online marketplaces like Shopify and Etsy provide storefronts for entrepreneurs to sell physical and digital goods. Sites like Squarespace make it possible for creatives like photographers and designers to set up an online portfolio without creating an entire website from scratch.
These sites demonstrate that it’s possible to possess an online presence without owning your domain. But if you aim to be widely visible and build authority for your brand, these platforms, and social media sites have considerable drawbacks that a with the purchase of your very own domain.
A Domain Name Is Unique and Searchable
When you register for space on a 3rd party website hosting site or create a page or account on your favorite social media platforms, you typically are given a subdomain on the hosting site’s domain. In other words, your “address” is something like this: hostsite.com/yourname. Depending on the website where you’re posting your content, it can bring an extended, unwieldy, and highly forgettable address.
Your domain name, especially with the very known .com extension, clearly says your identity and purpose in a way users are likely to remember. That’s why it’s a decent idea when choosing your domain that you simply pick something that explains your purpose right within the name. Number and hyphens make a custom domain harder to remember. When registering a domain, stick with simple, straightforward, and inventive options that may be retained by all.
A Domain Has Authority
Hosting your content on a 3rd party blogging or social media platform can seem unprofessional, and undermine your efforts to create a business or professional identity. Since these hosted platforms are often getting utilized for personal blogs and other forms of informal sharing, it may be harder to establish your site as a trustworthy, authoritative source in your niche. That’s where domain name registration comes in. Your domain can let potential customers and clients know that you’re a legitimate business with long-run plans.
You Control Your Domain
Posting content to pages on a 3rd party platform is often risky. A hosting site can shut down and take your content and online identity with it. Some websites claim ownership of anything that’s been posting. Just so that your content can’t move to a different platform, once you own your domain name, you’ll be able to set up your site with any hosting company you wish, anywhere in the world. The content you add there stays yours to move to any web hosting provider you prefer—a concept called “self-hosting.”
Buying rights to a domain name reserves the name exclusively for your use, as long as you still renew the fees. Some internet experts recommend that everybody should register their name as a domain name, together with any variant spellings. Similarly, it can be a great idea to do the registration process as it is not only your ideal domain name but also other variations that searchers might type into a browser’s search bar. That way, you’ll be able to confirm that your online identity is exclusively yours and that your site is accessible in multiple ways.
A domain name isn’t strictly necessary to make a presence on the web. However, having your domain name gives you control over your online identity. Therefore, the content you post – and a domain of your own is a must-have for building confidence in your brand or business.