Almost every business owner in today’s world knows how important online visibility is for a business. This is because most people shop online these days, and even though they aren’t shopping online, they often use the internet to check the reputation of a business before they patronise said business. One thing that has a major influence on a company’s online presence is its website. A very vital part of a company’s website is its domain. But what is a domain in business?
Well, that is the question this article will answer.
This article will also discuss every other important thing that you should know about a domain in business.
This means that from this article, you’d learn the meaning of a domain, its importance, the difference between URLs and domains, the different types of domains, and every other thing in between.
If you would like to know all of these, then you should stick with us to the end.
Meaning of Domain in Business – What is a Domain in Business
To put it simply, a domain is a website’s location.
It is what a user types into the browser to find a website online.
Since this article is looking at this word from the business point of view, a domain in business is a company’s website’s unique reference; it is a company’s website web address.
A perfect analogy for a domain name is an address.
A customer that wants to visit your business’s physical location would need your address.
Without the address, they wouldn’t be able to locate your business.
The same thing goes for your business domain.
It is what helps your customer locate and access your business on the internet.
If a customer wants to access a company’s website, all they have to do is type in the company’s domain name on their browser’s search bar and they’d be taken to the company’s website.
For example, let’s say you have a company called Estella.
Your domain name can be Estella.com.
When your customers want to visit your website, all they have to do is type in “estella.com” in their browser.
However, your business domain name is not your website’s actual address.
A website address is a numerical complex IP address.
While computers can easily use these figures, humans would have a hard time memorizing them.
This is why domain names are very important because they are human-friendly.
They are connected to the actual IP address of the website and make it easier for a user to access the site they are looking for.
URL Vs Domain Name – What is a Domain in Business
URL is one term that you would likely hear whenever websites are being discussed.
Domain names and URLs are somewhat similar and this can make people confuse one for the other.
But to prevent this from happening, this section of this article will discuss the difference between them.
URL is an acronym for Uniform Resource Locator.
It is the web address of a particular page on a website.
For instance, let’s continue with the estella.com illustration from the section above.
Assuming Estella is a bag-producing company.
And to boost its online visibility, the company makes blog posts about bags on its website.
Every blog post on this website would have its particular URL.
So, let’s say they have a blog on “How to store your handbag”.
The blog post’s URL would be something like https://estella.com/blog/how-to-store-your-handbag/
Typing the address of the website “estella.com” in a browser would take you to the website.
But when you are on the website and click on the blog post “how to store your handbag”, the browser would redirect you to the blog post page.
And what would be in the search bar on the blog post page would be its URL https:// estella.com/blog/how-to-store-your-handbag/
Typically, a URL is made up of a protocol, a domain name, and then the path.
As you already know, the domain name is the website’s location.
The protocol is the method through which data is transferred on the internet between computers.
In our illustration, the protocol is “https”.
And the path is the page’s exact location; that would be “/blog” in this case.
So, while a business domain name would take you to the company’s website, a URL would take you to a particular web page on a website.
Types of Domain Names – What is a Domain in Business
So, you now understand what a domain means and how it is different from a URL, it’s time to take a deeper dive into the topic.
This section will look at different types of domains.
For you to fully understand the types of domain names, you need to first understand the different components that make up a domain.
A domain name typically has 2 components; the domain name and the extension.
Let’s still use our “estella.com” illustration to explain this.
In our illustration, “estella” is the domain name itself, while “.com” is the extension.
So, you can think of the extension as the domain’s suffix.
There are several domain extensions; some examples are .com, .co, .org, .net, and so on.
Now, there’s a sort of hierarchy system when it comes to domain names.
Some are considered to be on a higher level than others.
Based on this, there are three different types of domain names; top-level, second-level, and third-level domains.
Let’s take a closer look at them below.
These are the highest domain names in the hierarchy system.
And there are 6 top-level domain (TLD) names.
These give a website more credibility and professionalism.
Apart from this, they would also offer your website more visibility since search engines tend to prefer them.
This means that a top-level domain can increase your chances of ranking higher on search engines.
.com, .net, .edu, .org, .mil, and .gov are the 6 top-level names.
“com” is short for commercial and it is one of the most commonly used domains.
Although initially, .com was meant to be used by commercial companies, there was no restriction against its use.
So, with time, a lot of organizations that aren’t necessarily commercial started using it as well.
Now, it is a very common domain name for websites, businesses, and even email.
“net” is short for network and is almost as commonly used as .com.
This extension was initially meant for organizations that are involved with network technologies.
However, just as it was with .com, there was no serious restriction against the use of this extension.
This is why this extension is now very common and a lot of companies that aren’t even network-inclined use it.
A lot of people see it as the next best alternative for .com.
This is short for government and unlike .com and .net, it is exclusively used by the U.S. federal government and its agencies.
Which means it is not as popular as the previous extensions.
This is short for organization.
And was originally meant to be used by nonprofit organizations.
However, just as the restriction for use was not upheld with .com and .net, it also wasn’t for the use of .org.
So, today, you’d commonly find both non-profit and for-profit organizations using this extension.
“edu” is short for education.
It was originally meant to be an extension for universities globally.
However, today, you’d find that only educational institutions in the United States use this TLD.
Other schools in different countries only use this TLD alongside a country-level domain (you’d understand this better when we look at country code domains below).
“mil” stands for military and was created exclusively for the United States military and its branches.
And just like with the .gov TLD, the restriction for this extension was enforced.
So, you would only find military agencies using this TLD.
Apart from these six TLDs, there are some other sub-categories of TLDs for specific purposes.
Let’s look at them below.
Country Code TLD – What is a Domain in Business
These TLDs are two-letter extensions that are used to distinguish countries from each other.
Examples of country code TLD are .uk for England and .au for Australia.
While these TLDs were specifically for the residents of a country, some countries now allow foreign organizations to use their country code TLDs.
Generic TLD – What is a Domain in Business
There are about 1500 generic TLDs.
However, out of these, there are only 21 generic TLDs that are used as the root extension for the remaining.
They can be classified into four categories; generic, generic restricted, infrastructure, and sponsored.
These are typically for general use.
Meaning you can use the domains under this category for any purpose at all.
Examples include .com, .org, .info, and .net.
These are generic TLDS but they are for specific purposes.
Examples include .name, .biz, and .pro
TLDs under this subcategory are for businesses within a specific industry.
For instance, a non-governmental agency cannot use the .gov TLD.
Same way, a telecommunication company would be doing itself a disservice by using a .travel TLD.
Examples of sponsored TLD include .gov, .edu, .travel, .tel, .aero, .mil, .int, .mobi, and so on,
Internationalized Country Code TLD
These are also country-code TLDs.
However, the difference between these and the general country-code TLDs is that these allow the use of special characters.
As the name implies these are domains that are after the TLDs in the domain name system hierarchy.
They serve as identifiers.
So, an SLD can be the company name or even a project name.
Let’s use our estella.com illustration to explain what a second-level domain is.
In our illustration, “Estella” is the second-level domain.
These are just below second-level domains on the hierarchy.
But they often come before the SLD.
People often use the term subdomain for third-level domains.
A lot of big companies use these as a distinguisher between different sections of their websites.
“www’ is the most commonly used subdomain.
Why Do Businesses Need Domains – What is a Domain in Business
One thing that you should know about domain names and websites is that you do not necessarily need to have a domain name to own a website.
You can decide to build your website on a free web host without going through the troubles of registering a domain name.
However, registering a domain name is not the most difficult task in the world.
In fact, it is quite easy (as you’d learn in the subsequent section) and provide a lot of advantages for businesses.
So, if you are still wondering whether or not you need a domain for your business website, then the answer to that is a big yes.
And here are some of the reasons why you do.
Makes it Easier for Customers to find a Business Online
Your company’s online visibility is paramount in today’s internet-driven world.
You want to be sure that your customers can find you online.
Without a domain name, this would be a bit of an issue.
Remember, a domain name is like the address of a physical location.
Even if a customer has never been to your office space, as far as they have your office address, they can easily locate you.
This is the same thing a domain does for your business on the internet.
If you do not have one, even your return customers may have a hard time locating your website.
Aids a Business’ SEO Efforts – What is a Domain in Business
The importance of online visibility gave birth to the concept of search engine optimization.
Now, any business that wants to thrive knows in the online world knows that they have to put in effort when it comes to SEO.
And the sweet thing about domains is that they can help a company with its SEO effort.
Now, keywords are among the top ways to rank on any search engine.
This is how having a keyword-related domain name can help boost your SEO effort.
Visit here to find out the benefits SEO can give your business
Any business person knows that it doesn’t just stop at having a business; your business must also have an identity.
Customers should be able to see your business logo or color and know who you are and the services/products you offer.
While it may not seem like it, domains can help you define your company brand.
When you have a unique domain, customers and potential customers alike would come to associate your unique name with the products/services you offer.
Choosing a Domain Name – What is a Domain in Business
After reading the advantages you stand to enjoy from having a domain, chances are you can’t wait to get one and register it already.
Well, the truth is, the domain you choose for your company website will significantly influence the result you would get from it.
This is why you need to properly consider certain factors before you choose one.
You need to consider the length of the name, its relevance to your brand, the impact it will have on your SEO and marketing strategies, and so on.
All of these may seem overwhelming, but the following tips should help you.
Ensure the Name is Easy-to-remember and Short
You do not want an extremely long domain name because you want to be sure that your customers and prospects can easily remember it.
You also want to be sure that it is unique enough for people to remain, but not so unique that it is difficult to type.
So, try to keep it as simple as possible and avoid unnecessary misspellings.
Also, avoid the use of hyphens, numbers, and other special characters.
Domains can only aid companies’ SEO efforts if they relate to keywords in that niche.
So, when choosing a domain name, think of one that would relate to the services you offer.
This would likely relate to the keywords in that niche and help you rank higher.
Make Sure it Relates to Your Brand
Domains help with brand identity.
And the best way to get this result would be to tie your domain to your brand.
This would make the name unique and also give your website more credibility and professionalism.
Come up with Alternatives
There is no assurance that the domain name you come up with will be available.
But this should not faze you if it happens.
And the only way it won’t is if you have a plan B.
Instead of choosing a different name altogether, you should consider modifying it to become unique.
Modifying here does not mean misspelling the name or making it more complex.
No, you can modify it by adding your location to the name or adding a keyword that represents the services you offer.
How to Register a Domain – What is a Domain in Business
Now that you have a domain name, the next step would be to register it.
Before you do that, you want to be sure of the availability of the name.
You can check this out using any domain availability checker.
If your desired domain isn’t available, then you should think of an alternative.
Once you have confirmed the availability of the name, you can then register it on a domain register.
Several platforms offer this service, so you just have to look for the one you prefer.
Now, on the domain register search box, type in your chosen name and then search for it.
Next, choose an extension.
Add it to the cart and then complete the process by paying for the domain.
And that’s all.
See, it’s that easy.
Conclusion on What is a Domain in Business
Domains are very great for businesses as they help businesses to be more accessible to their customers on the internet.
However, some business owners do not know the importance of domains and while this may not spell doom for their businesses, it may significantly affect their online process.
Luckily, this article has taught you every important thing you should know about domains.
The process of registering a domain is quite easy as you have seen in this article and doing so also won’t cost you a fortune.
So, you do not have an excuse not to get one for your company website.