What Is a Domain Name?
What are Domains and why are they important?
The internet works over a network. As its most basic description, the internet is merely one computer connecting to another by an exceptionally long cable. In the early days of the internet it was simply two machines connected to each other via a digital handshake known as an IP address. If I wanted to access a computer in San Francisco I would need to know the IP address and from that I could connect to that PC.
As the internet grew so did the protocols needed for infrastructure. Having your PC on all the time so someone could access your files wasn’t that practical. Specialised computers called “servers” came into use and computers connected directly to them instead. With IPs not being the most practical way to connect, especially with dynamic IPs, there needed to be a better way to find these servers. Welcome, Domains.
Domains point your computer to the right server.
Here is your basic Domain:
Http and Https
HyperText Transfer Protocol tells the browser that the user will be connecting to a HyperText Document. It is now a given that websites should be HTTPS as standard. Meaning they are secure and users on these sites are safe. For this you need an SSL certificate.
World Wide Web, this command lets the browser know the server is on the world wide web and not in a local or on your own PC. Providing you are using a web browser and not a folder the commands HTTP://www. Are very much redundant and not required to find your server.
This is the Second Level Domain. In the early days of SEO it was common to have an Exact Domain Match or EDM. Calling your website… would have you ranking 1st in a day. However, Google doesn’t value this anymore. Our best practice, get a domain which is your name or service.
This is called a TLD or Top-Level Domain. You can have different TLD’s but they all do the same thing. As the internet gets low on available Second Level and Top-Level Domains, new TLD’s are being made. Having .com, .co.uk or org will not help you rank any better.
Say you have been asked to go to a specific page on a website, what does that tell us?
This is the folder and path the page resides in. This could easily be image, video or sitemap. SEO-Friendly URLs will layout an easy path for users to follow instead of just code language.
This is the page the domain is pointing towards. It use to feature a file extension such as HTML, PHP, XML or JPEG. Nowadays it's simply shortened to the file/page name to make it SEO friendly.
What are Sub Domains ?
Google works by "crawling" your pages. the further away a page is from the main page, the less valuable it is. Makes sense right? If the information is 4 pages deep then it can't be that important. For something like a blog or shop, it may be on the forth page because you have that many blogs or products. You want Google to see these aspects of your site differently. Using a subdomain means you can break off your blog or shop and turn that into its own entirety, delivering "link juice" to these pages and making them more important to Google.
How much do Domains cost?
Domains can start from £0.01p and go up from there. Most companies like GoDaddy or 123reg offer deals if you take your Domain out for 2-3 years. The cost of your Domain is generally a re-occurring cost until you cancel it.
Do I need a Domain?
Yes you do. Your website will not appear in Google without one. It is possible to ride the coat tails of another domain. for example:
However this will not help with SEO
Can I have a Domain Email?
Did you know some UK companies will not deal with a business which doesn't have a professional email? A domain email is using your domain to mask the email and make your email look more professinal for example looks better than firstname.lastname@example.org. A domain email is a monthly cost starting around £3.99 from Googles Gsuite.