Unlike grade school, where four Emilys in a class were denoted as Emily S., Emily C., Emily A., and Emily P., the internet provides no allowance for Company.com A and Company.com B. Your domain name is your name itself, and even a company with a similar corporate identity cannot hold the same domain name, which means that only you have that unique online identity. Other companies closely monitor the possession and expiration date of domain names they want – some hosting companies even offer “Domain Watch” services – and if you’re one of the unlucky few who procrastinate renewing your domain name and have it registered out from under you, you’ll lose all of the brand recognition you’ve worked so hard to build.
How do they work?
You may have noticed that, after entering certain domain names, the text in the address bar becomes a string of seemingly random numbers that still points to the same page within a website. These numbers compose the Internet Protocol Address, or IP Address. IP Addresses are similar to house numbers as each one is unique and points to a distinctive computer acting as a web server. Yet, like phone numbers, these strings of digits are a lot more difficult for people to remember than text values. Developers realized that many users wouldn’t want to carry IP Address books with them and instead developed the concept of domain names through the Domain Name System (DNS).
In practice, this means that entering YourWeb.com in the address bar of your browser (or as an email address) actually points to the IP Address on the server that houses the web pages on YourWeb.com.
How should I choose a domain name?
First, brainstorm a list of words or phrases that would commonly come to mind when thinking about your company, your products, or other concepts associated with your business. You want customers to instantly make and keep a connection between your domain name and your business, as this means they’re more likely to return or mention the name to their friends.
Keep your ideas short and sweet – no more than 20 characters – as anything longer becomes difficult to remember and irritating for a customer to type.