By Deidre Bastian
I like the Japanese proverb that says: “Tigers die and leave their skins, while people die and leave their names”. If this is accurate, let’s look at the significance of other name types. I am sure you’d agree that practically everyone, and everything is known, labelled, tagged or remembered by names.
Everything has a name, and due to your proficiency with the Internet, it is a good bet that you have used a Domain Name without even considering it. Or, if you are in the process of developing a website, a Domain Name is really unavoidable.
Domain Names are owned by a person or organisation, and are used as an Internet address to identify a website’s location. As of April 2013, there are about 110 million .COM, 15 million .NET and 10 million .ORG domains on the web but, overall, .COM is highly recommended as it is the most widely used domain in the world.
Why do we need a Domain Name?
We’d all be confused if we did not have street signs or road maps to find stores, churches or schools in our community. Similarly, directions and addresses are also required to locate establishments on-line. Instead of being referred to as ‘Street Names’, they are called ‘Domain Names’.
Accordingly, businesses ‘on-line’ have to purchase or register a Domain Name to direct users to their website location on the Internet. This is done by typing the Domain Name, followed by the path to the page. For example, www.great-workout.com/nutrition/index.cfm
How it works
After the user types the web address on the URL bar, the web address converts into an IP (Internet Protocol) address.
For example, if someone wants to visit Yahoo, he/she will type in http://www.yahoo.com instead of the IP address http://220.127.116.11, even though they will arrive at the same web site.
There are various types of Domain Names and other suffixes that can be used, such as .net, .org, .biz, .info to name a few. Most of these have a general purpose, for example: .com (commercial), .edu (educational), .gov. (government), .org (organisation), .net (network) and .info (information).
If the .com version of your chosen name is unavailable, another top-level domain might be. For example, mycompany.com and mycompany.org are two different domain names - one company could register as .com and another could register as a .org version.
Even though buying domain names today is almost as common as buying a DVD or computer game, always aim to select a name that reflects what your business represents.
Clearly, only one person/company can own a domain name at any one time, so if you find that your preferred name has already been registered under all applicable suffixes, then get creative and think of another name, negotiate to purchase from the current owner or wait for its expiration.
There is the option of multiple domain names for your business, such as ‘.com’, ‘.net’, .org’ etc. This will protect your business name online and will ensure that competitors cannot set up similar names to challenge your company.
You don’t want to be a business with a great website that no one remembers because the name is hard to spell. Hence the best solution is to select a memorable and brand-related domain name without having to pay a fortune.
Ultimately, without a private registration, anyone can see the details of a domain registrant by using the (publicly available) ‘WHOIS’ database, which is a searchable list of every single domain name registered in the world. So for privacy, you can pay to have this information masked and hidden from the public.
When you register a Domain Name, ensure you know and protect your Username and Password, even if your web designer/developer(s) is handling everything. Why? What happens if you wish to change your Domain Name in the future, but your web designer decides to skip town after winning the lotto? What say ye then? First rule, even if you are not doing the work yourself, it is good to understand what’s being done.
It is a lot to know, but choosing a suitable Domain Name is part of the overall marketing process, as it represents your company, product and image for great future sales. So until we meet again, fill your life with good memories rather than regrets. Enjoy life and stay on top of your game.
• NB: Columnist welcomes feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org
ABOUT COLUMNIST: Ms Bastian is a professionally trained graphic designer/marketing coordinator with qualifications of M.Sc., B.Sc., A.Sc. She has trained at institutions such as: Miami Lakes Technical Centre, Success Training College, College of the Bahamas, Nova Southeastern University, Learning Tree International, Langevine International and Synergy Bahamas.