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Domain Name Tutorial

Domain Name Tutorial

Our Domain Name Tutorial is designed to give you a basic understanding of a domain name. We'll cover the definition, the origins and the history of the domain name system, and then move to their role in site promotion and finally the procedures for choosing and the actual process to register your domain.

1. What is a domain name?
2. Why should your domain name be part of your marketing strategy?
3. Tips for choosing a domain name.
4. What are the domain name mistakes to avoid?
5. How do you register a domain name?
6. Where do you register a domain name?

1. What is a domain name?

A domain name is a name that identifies a web site; Domain Names always have two or more components, separated by dots. While site names may share a common component, no two sites on the Internet may have the same primary name and tail extension. If you prefer techno-babble;

A domain name is the second-level domain, in alpha and or numerical form that is part of a URL (Uniform Resource Locator) that tells the DNS (Domain Name System) where to locate documents, organizations or resources on the Internet. The domain name must be combined with a TLD (top-level-domain) like .com and must be unique to the TLD. The third level domain (www) is used to identify a particular host server.

In the early days of the Internet, an IP (Internet Protocol) address (that number thingy that looks like this; 123.45.678.90) was used to locate documents on the Internet. Obviously, this was not practical in a universal approach, as people would have a hard time remembering IP addresses, so in 1984, the DNS (Domain Name System) was created. This makes it much easier to locate www.devNIC.com, by its domain name instead of its IP address.

Domain Name Fact: Although think.com is listed in many places as the first .com domain name created, it's actually the third. Symbolics.com was the first. It was created on March 15, 1985. The second was bbn.com created on April 24, 1985 and think.com was the third, created on May 24, 1985. Are you curious who owns think.com? Click on the register tab at the top of this page and query WHOIS to find out.

2. Why should your domain name be part of your marketing strategy?

If you're planning on marketing a product or service, then a keyword rich domain name that says who you are, what you do and what unique benefits your product or service provides should be part of your domain name choice and part of your marketing strategy. For more information on how you can use this strategy to attract targeted traffic, go to www.devnic.com, and download our Free how-to guide, Domain Names For Website Marketing.

Grab a dot com domain name over all other TLD's if it's available. There's a lot of hype regarding the value of some other TLD's. Some will argue that because the availability of good dot com names is supposedly dwindling, its time to start registering what's available for other TLD's. Dot com was the first universally recognizable TLD. It kinda has the name recognition and branding popularity of Q-tips and Kleenex. It's almost assumed that if you've got a website, it's a dot com. The supposed increase in popularity of other TLD's might be the self fulfilling prophecy of cyber squatters intent on grabbing "the next big thing" on the cheap.

Reselling expired dot com domain names at "through the roof" prices is pretty much over except in some rare instances, but until you start to see other expiring TLD's besides .com and .net up for sale or on domain name auction sites, the laws of supply and demand will prevail. Dot com domain name if you can, dot net domain name if you can't.

Domain Name Fact: There are over 250 top-level-domains. Over 240 2 letter TLD's correspond to countries and territories around the globe. The remaining TLD's are either sponsored generic like .edu and .mil or unsponsored generic like .com .net


3. Tips for choosing a domain name.

Research your target market for keywords relevant to your products or services and their benefits and solutions. Overture and Google have free utilities. Wordtracker provides more accurate data, but it can get expensive. Assemble your keyword list and phrase them into names that are catchy, easy to remember, while trying to describe your product's or service's benefits. Test your best choices on unsuspecting individuals and register your top five names.

You'll be tempted to register your company name as a domain name because most people worry about branding. Don't get ahead of yourself here. People are looking for products, services or information related to benefits and solutions. I don't wanna sound "insensitive," but nobody really cares about your company's name.

Register domain names that will get traffic to your site and forget about becoming the next Amazon.com. Register your "branding" or company name to use for print advertising like business cards, yellow page ads, postcards, etc. For small businesses, branded domain names are great, but only after your target market finds you.

If you choose a domain name that's easy to remember, then you'll make it a lot easier to integrate your website with your offline marketing strategy. Steal a page from the 1-800 handbook. 1-800-fly-jets is a lot easier to remember than 1-800-359-5387. Catchy keyword phrases work well for Internet marketing.

Domain Name Fact: Currently, a domain name can be up to 63 characters, not including the TLD. The only acceptable characters are letters, numbers and hyphens.


4. What are the domain name mistakes to avoid?

Register under your own name. How would you like to build a web business only to find out later that you don't own it? Your contact information dictates ownership. The same rule applies for using free or virtual domains in portals or directories.

Avoid trademarked names. Take the time to research your choices. It's just not worth the aggravation and expense. You'll find yourself fighting an uphill battle against a cadre of corporate lawyers with considerably more resources than you.

Pay attention to your renewal notifications. If you allow your domain name to expire and someone else grabs it, the only thing your registrar can say to you is, "Sorry." Ignorance is no exception to the rule. You snooze, you lose. Keep your contact information accurate and up to date.

Don't overdue it. Avoid stringing a bunch of A's or 1's together just to show up on the first page of a directory. With PPC becoming more and more popular and profitable for directories, alpha-numerical placement is less relevant.

Domain Name Fact: In 1998, ICANN (Internet Corporation For Assigned Names And Numbers), a non profit organization was formed. Some of it's functions include; management of the DNS, allocation of IP addresses and resolving domain name disputes.


5. How do you register a domain name?

Registering a domain name is a pretty simple. You won't see things like; "some assembly required" or "batteries not included." All you need is a credit card and an Internet connection. If you have a name already picked out, just enter it into the text box and choose your TLD, .com, .net, etc. Some sites allow you to register multiple TLD's and multiple names at the same time. Click the button and the name will be checked against the WHOIS database.

If your choices are available, you will be prompted to continue with the registration. This process moves the name to a shopping cart where your contact and credit card information is captured for billing and entry into the WHOIS database. Once the registration is completed, you will be sent confirmation on your new domain name. Allow up to 72 hrs before your name shows up in the database.

If your choices are unavailable for the particular domain that you requested, it might be available under other TLD's or you can try another name and check its availability. At devNIC and some other registrars, you can have the database make suggestions based on your original choices.

Make sure your contact email is kept up to date and that you "whitelist" or "safelist" your anti-spam software to receive confirmations, renewals and other information regarding your domain name from your registrar. You are responsible for keeping your contact details accurate and up to date. That's it…..you're done.

Domain Name Fact: About 20,000 domain names are registered daily and according to Verisign, there are currently over 60 million registered domain names.


6. Where do you register a domain name?

Sorry, but this is where we make our shameless plug…...Don't be a "crash test dummy,"…….Register your domain names at www.devNIC.com for just $14.95 and get powerful control over your account, access to quality web hosting, articles and tutorials like this.

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