The world of domain names and websites is BIG. Like, really big
Put it this way, there are 366.3 million domain names registered in all of the Top Level Domains (TLDs). So it can be a somewhat confusing and baffling thing.
It's also not the most exciting subject and talk of DNS, CNAMEs and propagation can be a fairly effective sedative in a dinner party environment (at least in my experience...). But it is important to understand the basics, even if you do have the luxury of leaving the nitty gritty to your IT team.
One question we are often asked about domain names is: 'do the extensions matter?'
There was a day when there were only a few extensions available - .com, .co.uk, .net, biz etc. Now there are dozens of different extensions ranging from geo-locations (.london) to industry and job-specific ones (.media, .restaurant, .loans). But do these have an impact on your websites search reach or visibility?
The simple answer to this is: No, not really.
However there are still some things to take into consideration when securing a domain name or two. Here's some common questions and their answers about domain names:
If you are setting up a new business (and as a result, a website) then thinking about the availability of a relevant and memorable domain name should absolutely be a factor you take into consideration.
This isn't down to SEO relevance, but simple brand recognition.
Consider your audience also. For example, if you are a small business that primarily works in the UK, a .uk domain will be absolutely fine. If however you have visitors in several countries then a country-specific extension, or TLD, may put people off as they might not feel your content and / or services is relevant (we'll get onto that later).
You may want to also consider your email addresses. Having a shorter, punchier domain name is easier to type in or remember than so long that makes the River Nile look like a small stream - so think about how you will use it; will it be on signage, on vehicles and business cards?
If the domain name is relevant and (much less likely) still available, then by all means go for it.
Back in the day, 'exact match' domains were a big deal; Google would boost your results because the keywords were in the web address. As the internet grew, Google and other search engines realised that for a site to really be authoritative, it needed more than just a keyword-rich domain and thusly changed their algorithm to take other factors into consideration.
Something else to take into account is the business itself. Exact-match domains may limit the company's marketing. So, if you were a Law firm and used the domain name 'familylaw.co.uk' then branching into other areas of law may be harder with an exact-match domain.
Take the time to think about the name and the specific domain. Whilst it is easy to change in the beginning, the longer you keep it the more equity the brand will build up and therefore the harder it will be to change years down the line.
This really is a case of 'it depends'.
For example, if you had several domains that redirect to one specific domain that the website sits on, then go for it. There is no limit to the amount that you can have.
However, if you want multiple domains to resolve to one website then you are putting yourself at serious risk of Google viewing you having multiple websites, all with duplicate content...and that isn't good at all.
This is all about the implementation - when done properly, then there is no detriment to having multiple domains.
No. What you are essentially doing is 'renting' it for a pre-determined period of time. The minimum length of time to register a domain for is 12 months and can be done in yearly increments up to a maximum of 10 years.
This is a very important question to consider.
If you are having domains registered on your behalf by, for example a web design agency, then ensure that the registered owner is the business owner or someone in the business who has authority. Whoever is the registered owner has the legal right to that domain so, in the event of a dispute and any split (whether that be internal or external), then the domain will belong to that person until such a time that they relinquish it.
Well firstly give yourself a well-deserved slap on the wrist.
Then, check in with your domain registrar (the company that you purchased the domain from). Most, but not all registrars will offer a grace period whereby if a domain has lapsed, it can be secured by the previous owner before going out onto general sale.
Most of the time, domains are fairly specific to a business and therefore it will amount to just a period of IT issues before it is secured and everyone breathes a huge sigh of relief. However, if the domain name is then secured by someone else, well that is a pickle that we hope no-one ever gets into...
It's possible that, after reading this you are left thinking "Well, I'll just leave this to the experts".
And if that is the case you'll be pleased to learn that that's what Orca Online can offer. We can not only give you the advice and guidance on picking the right domains name/s for your business but we can also administer them for you and make sure they are secure, whatever the future holds.