Everything You Don't Know About Domains
So, you’ve had a great idea and after some considerable thought, you’ve decided that your next move is to create an amazing website to feature your new idea. Now what? Read on for everything you need to know before registering a new domain.
While finding the perfect domain for your next project can be tougher than you think, a little help and research can help you can achieve your goal. After all, we know a thing or two about web addresses after 20 years in the business.
Welcome to the Midphase domain guide
Here is a step-by-step guide to equip you with the knowledge and tools needed to create a functioning and popular site. We begin with some tips for picking the perfect domain, toss in some important facts you may not know about generic top-level domains, and conclude with a review on how to be sure that search engines will appreciate your domain as much as you do.
Having a website nowadays is almost as common as having a fingerprint: pretty much everyone has one. When beginning a new project – be it a business, blog, non-profit or indeed self-promotion – an online presence is usually top of your to-do list. It has been reported that celebrity couples have first check domains before choosing a name for their baby to protect the child’s image in years to come.
It’s not uncommon for celebrities and citizens alike to have their own personal website (so if you haven’t bought yourname.com, you should do that now). A great domain is a must-have for any idea you are looking to invest your time and effort in. Picking the perfect domain, however, can be easier said than done.
Whether you are starting a new business, blog, or project, having the perfect domain can be crucial. Let’s get started with some tips to make the choice less daunting.
Tips for picking the perfect domain
There are aspects that you want your domain to have, but unless you know for sure what they are you are apt to randomly wander the web, registering any domain that ‘might’ work for you. Instead of doing that, heed our advice below on your search for the perfect domain:
Make readability your priority.
If you’d like to learn from the domain mistakes of others, take a look at this list of inappropriate domain names– there is a major difference between IT_Scrap.com and Its_Crap.com, and unfortunately, the human brain is going to want to read ‘it’s crap’ every time (we added the underscores to our example to show how itscrap.com could be misconstrued). Also, it’s worth checking how any potential domain name could be translated into other languages.
Stick to something simple.
A web address that is simple to read, pronounce, and remember will go a long way. Just imagine if Twitter.com had originally chosen SocialPlatformMessaging.com or if UBER.com registered TransportationWithoutACabbie.com – it just doesn’t work as well, does it? Incidentally, both URLs are available if you are interested… Don’t be afraid to chart new waters when starting out with your new domain. If your idea works you could have an Amazon or PayPal on your hands, both ideas that sounded strange in the beginning.
Consider a gTLD (new domain extensions).
Gone are the days when all good web addresses had to end in .com. With the release of hundreds of new web address endings, or gTLDs (generic top-level domains), the sky’s the limit. These gTLDs can add some personality and additional information to what would normally be a simple URL, as they are specific to certain industries and sectors. Consider ending your domain with .club, .blog, or .rocks, especially if the .com you were looking for is already taken.
Be entirely original.
Originality is important for attracting business, but it is even more important for avoiding legal trouble. Using another registered trademark within your domain is called domain squatting and can lead to years of expensive lawsuits. It is better to be original when picking a domain and avoid the hassle altogether. If you feel someone else is using a domain that includes your brand in bad faith, investigate filing a UDRP with ICANN.
Keep SEO in mind.
SEO is search engine optimization, or how high on the search results page you would be if someone searched a term relevant to your business. High search rankings can help you with traffic to your site, just as a low search engine rank can keep traffic from finding your site within a search. To rank well you should register a domain that is relevant to the image you are trying to portray, and if possible, include keywords to help Google bots find you when crawling through the web. We will cover SEO in depth towards the end of this helpful guide. Stay tuned.
While each of these five points could have an entire book written about them, they are a helpful introduction when getting started. However, once you’ve decided which domain you would like to register, the next step is to make it your own. Below we cover everything you need to know before registering your new domain.
What you need to know before registering a domain
Check for availability.
This step is the easiest and sometimes the most frustrating. Use our easy domain search tool to see if the address you have in mind is available. If not, consider registering a gTLD (otherwise known as a generic top-level domain) instead. These were created as alternatives to .com, .org, and .net. Depending on your industry, a unique web address ending can create the web presence you are looking for if your .com is unavailable.
Select optional services.
When checking out on an online ecommerce site, you will be presented with options for security as well as the length of registration. Midphase’s checkout options allow you to register your chosen domain for up to 10 years at a time (talk about hassle-free!). Be sure to keep your contact information up to date so that you can easily register your domain when the time comes. Learn more about special offers and tools from Midphase to help make your digital experience success like Cloudflare, SiteLock, and our Website SEO Guru.
Pick a package.
Is it just a web address you need? What about hosting, somewhere to put your site too? How are you going to be building your site? What about security? There are lots of things to consider but Midphase offers many options to make answering these questions easily. Just click the option for web hosting as well as website builder services and we will help you create your ideal site. The web builder is easy to use in that you simply drag-and-drop the features you want to be included on your site. Be sure to also look at WordPress Hosting and our free StarterSite tool to get online in no time at all.
Look for ways to save.
There are many ways to save on domain registration and web hosting. Introductory coupons and special promotions can save you a significant amount of money when registering an address for an extended period, which is why you should think about what you need rather than just look for a domain registration company. For example, Midphase offers a free .com registration when you sign up for a year of web hosting at the same time, meaning you’ve instantly saved at least $10 (up to $20 depending on the domain). If you take some time and look around at the different deals on offer you will be surprised at how much you can save.
Pay attention to the Terms and Conditions.
Anything to do with web hosting can be an intricate business and registering domains is no exception. Many people needing domains will be looking for the best deal, thinking they can outwit the registration company and take the deal with a plan to move the domain to another host after purchase. However, they are likely to be disappointed when they find out that there is usually a waiting period before they can transfer the address. ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) has many rules that apply to all domain registrars and tend to be quite strict. To best protect yourself and your site, make sure that you read through all Terms of Service and Service Level Agreements before purchasing. You will thank yourself later.
If at any time you have any questions about the domain registration process, please contact our support staff at Midphase.com.
Everything you need to know about gTLDs
In the world of web addresses, there are good old standby domains like .com or .net. But those looking towards the future have discovered the many benefits of the newly released generic top-level domains, better known as gTLDs. If you’re not finding the domain you are looking for upon searching, it’s worth learning a bit more about alternate web address endings to find the perfect domain for your next website.
What are gTLDs?
Sometime between the arrival of the internet and the emergence of new exciting web address endings, inhabitants of the internet began to run out of web addresses. When looking to create new websites individuals were left with the decision to create complicated many-character .com domains, or pay a pretty penny for the domain they had their eye on. Not anymore.
Historically, an individual could only register one of the original 22 IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) approved web address endings, but with the arrival of hundreds of generic top-level domains, or gTLDs, the World Wide Web gained the ability to design creative and impacting brands with industry-specific web address endings. For example, Tom the fisherman began his own fly-tying business and could not afford Fishing.com. But thanks to the next big thing in web businesses, Tom was able to register Flies.fishing for a yearly low rate from Midphase (names and domains were changed to protect the innocent).
No matter what your specialty, niche, or industry, you are bound to find the perfect gTLD for your image and brand. From .rodeo to .luxury, Midphase now has the exact domain you are looking for. All that’s left for you to do is choose which one is right for you.
Where did generic top-level domains come from?
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, also known as ICANN, began accepting applications from individuals and businesses interested in gTLDs in 2012 and the ideas began to pour in. Top registered web address endings include; .club, .realtor, .guru, .NYC, .link, .London, .photography, and dozens of others. In the beginning, many were skeptical. Now years and almost 4 million registrations later, the 2.2 billion web inhabitants are now beginning to see that gTLDs are here to stay.
Just in case you are still on the fence concerning gTLDs, here is a complete guide to everything you need to know to register the best domain available.
What are the different types of domains?
TLD: Top-Level Domain
This category can refer to domains in general or to the original 22 recognized web address endings like .com, .net, .org, .co.uk, .edu and .gov.
gTLD: Generic Top-Level Domain
This includes all aforementioned web address endings (.rodeo, .club, .ninja, etc.) and many more. For a complete list of available gTLDs, please visit Midphase.
ccTLD: Country Code Top Level Domain
Privately operated TLDs that are specific to residents of that country. ccTLDs are generally made up of two-character web address endings like .uk, .au, and .cn.
Internationalized Country Code Top Level Domains
These domains include all Arabic, Mandarin, and other non-alphabetic writing systems. For example, مص which is reserved for Egypt.
What are the benefits of registering a gTLD?
Beyond the obvious bonus of gTLDs being fun, gTLDs offer all the benefits of a regular web address. gTLDs are a great way to showcase your brand without long and complicated web addresses, or worse being a subdomain of another website like .WordPress or .Wix.
Create instant recognition and memorability with a creative and specific web address ending as well as for specific pages around your site. Consider a .blog for your content page or a .press for your latest news and press releases. Not only will the address have instant recognition but it will provide additional marketing benefits.
Because each domain is ICAAN approved and registered, there is no risk involved when undertaking a new generic top-level domain. Each web address is as safe and valid as any other .net or .com.
Do gTLDs have the same SEO performance as standard TLDs?
In one simple answer: yes.
It was originally thought that gTLDs would not receive the same Search Engine Optimization as the previously registered TLDs, but this is simply not true. Previously, a rumor circulated that Google ranked new websites lower than established sites that are 2 or 3 years old, but this is also false. Google ranks pages based on relevance, quality, and content when considering SEO.
The truth is that gTLDs oftentimes have a higher SEO rank when searching because of the actual keywords within the domain. I wouldn’t count on this fact to push you to the top spot within a search, but you could get a small SEO bump.
Helpful SEO tips:
- When migrating your site to your new gTLD, be sure that you initially use a 301 redirect.
- Handle redirects through your server rather than through your CMS (Content Management System).
- Don’t forget to construct a helpful and friendly 404 page for your visitors; we would hate to confuse any of your new site’s potential visitors.
- Consider building a site on your new gTLD with highly relevant content for that specific gTLD. This can help boost your search ratings when searches are keyword specific.
- Utilize your free email address given with each registration. Your domain-specific email address adds credibility to all newsletters and content sent through email and is less likely to be marked as spam.
How to please search engines with your new domain name
We’ve already discussed whether a bad domain hurt your search engine optimization. But how do you choose a domain that helps your search engine results rather than remaining neutral? Let’s find out…
To answer this question, we consulted SEO experts as their tips and tricks can help us get on the right path. For SEO purposes you want to be sure that the web crawlers will not mistake your website for spam. This can not only damage your rankings but could result in your website appearing on a blacklist somewhere.
Ask the experts
According to Moz, an online marketing company, there are a few major points that you want to be aware of when making your domain choice:
- Avoid hyphens and word separators as they are often associated with spam.
- Pick a well-known TLD – but .com isn’t always the best choice. Alternate web address endings like .xyz and .club have been popular in recent years and can offer great alternatives to the over-registered .com.
- Domain names should be no longer than 15 characters – when choosing domains, shorter is better for branding and visitor recollection purposes.
- Keywords are your friend if they do not detract from length and branding efforts.
- More domains can often be better. One website can be reached through many domains by redirecting alternate domains.
Remember that it is the content within your website that will be the greatest determiner for your SEO ranking, but every little bit helps.
Use keywords when possible
SEO Book recommends choosing a keyword and then adding a term to the end of much like Travelocity or RetailMeNot. If you aren’t sure about that option, consider creating your own words to represent what it is that you do. For example, Etsy, Twitter, and Uber are words that didn’t exist before they became mega brands.
Do your homework.
Search Engine Journal encourages readers to test domain names for penalties before registering the domain. Check with Google and be sure that the domain is not blocked in their robots.txt file. Learn more with the help of Google’s handy SEO guide here. Test the domain by pointing a link at it from a trusted site to see if Google indexes, or recognizes it. After two weeks be sure that Google lists your new domain when you search for the domain using Google Webmaster Tools.