What is a domain name?

Sometimes called a web address, your domain name is what people type into their browser to find your website. For example, my domain name is www.beckylord.co.uk.

The Technical Bit

Any computer connected to the Internet can be reached through a public IP address. This is usually a complex series of numbers, dots and sometimes letters.

Computers can handle these addresses easily, but people have a hard time understanding who the website belongs to or what service it offers.

IP addresses are also hard to remember and might change over time. To solve all these problems, we use domain names, a human-friendly naming system that gives every website a memorable, easy-to-spell address. Simple!

Do I Need a Domain Name?

Yes! You cannot build a website without one.

As well as your main brand/business name, it’s important to register any other addresses someone could potentially type into their browser. For example, I have beckylord.co.uk and .com, beckylorddesign.co.uk and .com, and beckylord.design.

You need to be speedy and purchase these domain names before anyone else can grab them, particularly if you’ve recently registered your business with Companies House or a social media platform such as Twitter or Instagram. Unfortunately, ‘cyber-squatters’ sometimes exploit business owners by snapping up domain names in the hope they’ll eventually pay an extortionate fee to secure the best web address for their brand.

OK, I’m Convinced, What Now?

Get registering! Seriously, do it now!

Domain name registrars like Godaddy and 123-reg make the process super simple. All you need to do is key in the domain you want to buy and pay a fee. Some web hosting services also offer domain registration as part of the sign-up process.

However, you’ll only be able to purchase domains that aren’t already registered to another person or business. You may find many of the shortest, catchiest names are taken, especially if you’re entering an industry that’s already well represented online. If you’re having trouble finding a domain name, check for a help facility on the registrar’s site. They’ll usually offer a search facility designed to return a list of available names similar to the one you want.

tl;dr

Website domain names are a key part of the Internet infrastructure. They provide a human-readable address for any web server available on the Internet. You need one to build a website and it’s worth registering a few alternatives too. Purchasing a domain is simple, but finding a catchy name that isn’t already taken can be a challenge.

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Becky Lord Design is a multi-disciplinary design studio focusing on helping brands thrive with fresh and luxe design services.

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