Domain names: everything you need to know

January 20, 2023 - Claire Tourtoulou

12 minutes

The choice of your domain name is very important: your domain name reflects your image and branding. It is also through your domain name that your customers can find you online. It is therefore essential to know about this topic, in order to create a website.

The choice of your domain name is thus a fundamental step in your website design. Take the time to think about it before choosing your domain name.

Discover why and how to choose an effective domain name for your website in this article!

What is a domain name?

Domain name: definition

A domain name is the address of your website. It is composed of a string of characters and an extension and is preceded by  "www".

Image source: AFNIC

A domain name is composed of two parts: name and extension. The prefix is not mandatory.

For example: is our domain name. Here ".com" is the extension, and sitew is the name.

There are two types of domain names:

  1. Domain extensions by business type, composed of at least 3 letter
  2. .com : for individuals and companies, it is the most common extension

  3. .biz: for everything related to business 

  4. .net : for anything related to computer science

  5. .edu: for educational organizations

  6. .org: for nonprofit organizations

  7. .info : for information websites

  8. And so on

     2. Domain names by geographical extensions, composed of a maximum of 2 letters

  1. .fr : for France

  2. .es : for Spain

  3. .de: for Germany

  4. .eu : for European Union member countries

  5. And so on

Domain name: what is it for?

Now that you know what a domain name is, let's see what the purpose of registering a domain for your website is.

Registering your own domain name mainly allows you to:

👉 Facilitate the memorization of your web address (a domain name is easier to remember than a free web address with a sub-domain).

👉 Gain visibility, to improve your SEO: the registration of a domain name requires a financial investment, so this is appreciated by search engines when they rank your website. Your domain name is therefore one of the factors that determine your ranking.

👉 Gain credibility: a domain name creates a stronger sense of trust.

👉 Protect you from cybersquatting (we will talk about this later on).

Therefore, it is crucial to choose your domain name carefully since your visitors will talk about your brand by giving your domain name. It is the same for influencers who talk about your website.

What you should know before booking a domain

First of all, before booking a domain, make sure you buy it from a registrar approved by ICANN.

ICANN is an organization that controls all extensions. So your domain must be approved by it.

It is also important to know that you do not buy a domain name for life. It is more like a permanent rental.

You will have the possibility to register your domain name for a period ranging from 1 to 10 years, but you will have to renew your registration in any case.

We will see later on how to find a domain name. But you should know that it is also possible to choose an expired domain. That is to say, a domain whose owner has not renewed the registration in time.

This can be a good choice if this domain name is related to your business sector and, if, after a complete analysis, you notice it has good backlinks.

Finally, make sure your domain name is available. After Listing the possible domain names, you need to check their availability. To do this, you can go directly to SiteW to test your domain name and its availability.

  1. Enter your domain with the desired extension

  2. Check if the domain is available

  3. Create your website with a domain name in a few clicks!

You can also use a tool like Gandi that give you the price of a domain name.

❌ The prices displayed may be much higher than those charged by SiteW.

  1. Enter your domain with the desired extension

  2. Check if the domain is available, the website will give you the price

  3. If it is not available, Gandi will suggest to you other domains with their prices

Domain parking

Domain parking consists of redirecting an unused domain to a page of ad links, related to the domain name in question. The pay per click remuneration allows to offset the cost of the domain registration and even to make profit.

Free domain names and paid domain names

There are two types of domain names: free and paid.

Let's compare the two options and determine the best one for your website!

Free domain names: what are they worth?

It is possible to get a free domain name. However, this method should be used with caution.

You can get a domain name for free, through your phone company for example, or through advertising.

The big advantage of a free domain, as you can imagine, is that you won't have to pay anything! But this method has its share of disadvantages:

👉 You don't own your domain

👉 The domain name can be taken away from you at any time (for example, if the service closes down), so it is not made to last.

👉 The domain name will be long, since it includes your keywords with the name of the service in addition. Short domains are easier to remember.

👉 The image conveyed by your website will be less professional.

So consider buying your own domain, in line with your business sector.

Now, let's see what benefits you will get from paying for your own domain.

Paying for a domain name: a good option!

We have seen the characteristics of a free domain name. Let's now see why paying a domain is an appropriate solution.

With a paid domain, you can be fully autonomous regarding your website. Especially since the price of a domain name is not excessive, about 10 to 15 € per year (it can vary depending on the extension and on the options chosen for it.)

By paying for your own domain name, you gain autonomy and professionalism. No one will be able to take your domain name from you, as long as it is booked on your behalf. Your domain will be shorter, therefore easier to remember for your visitors. Moreover, you will manage the ads you post (or not) on your website, and the income will come to you.

In short, registering your own domain name is a small additional cost, but it is very important in order to gain autonomy and get professionalism for your website and even your company.

How to choose a domain name for your website?

We have seen what a domain is used for and how to use it.

Let's now see how to choose it.

Registering a domain name: external registrar or SiteW?

To register your domain name, you have several possibilities.

There are three solutions:

👉 Hosting companies: an hosting company will host and store your entire website.

The hosts often offer to provide both the hosting of the website and the domain name.

👉 Registrars: a registrar will only deal with the management of your domain name.

👉 Website builders: they offer you a full service in a single subscription. This method will not only allow you to create your website easily, but also to host it and manage your domain name. In short, an all-in-one solution!

On SiteW, we will allow you to easily choose a domain name for your website with our domain name generator! With our software, you have an HTTPS domain, whether it is a new domain or a domain name you already own. SiteW will host your domain.

In short, you can decide to split the management of your website by opting for different providers. Or, you can decide to group everything together (registration, hosting and management of your domain name) with a website builder such as SiteW.


Create a website with a domain name 

Domain name generators: what are they really worth?

If you're stumped on your domain name, there are a number of tools to help you. Especially, domain name generators.

These generators, based on one or more keywords, will tell you if your domain is available. And it will show you all the results related to your keyword, as well as the price of these domains.

These tools can be very useful for:

👉 Checking the availability of your domain

👉 Helping you find a domain name

👉 Giving you an approximate price depending on the extension

But be careful! These tools are not magic. You need to follow some preliminary steps, if you want to make sure you get a good domain.

Let's now see the steps to follow, to make a difference with your domain name...

Making a difference with your domain name

As we have seen, there are a number of tools available to easily register a domain name.

But to make a difference with your domain name, it is necessary to spend some time to find THE domain that will suit you best.

Let's not forget that your domain name represents your brand and your company, it is the first thing that your visitors see.

Here are some steps to follow to choose your domain name well:

  • Brainstorming

To find an effective and original domain name, you need to think a lot about it, it is a fully creative exercise!

Take the time to put your ideas on the table, to think about your company, and about the image you want to convey to your audience.

  • A domain name that is easy to remember

To make your domain name easy to remember, it is important to keep it short and effective. Today, it is becoming more and more complicated to find a short and recognizable domain name.

However, your domain doesn't have to be extremely short: if your domain has a meaning, it will be easier to remember. Nevertheless, your domain shouldn’t exceed 30 characters.

  • List your keywords

Now that you have thought about the possibilities for your domain name, it's time to list them. Make a list of the most effective keywords for your domain to get a first idea.

  • Find original ideas

To stand out from your competitors on the Internet, it is essential to find original ideas. For that, don't hesitate to cross-reference your ideas with your collaborators, to try other languages, sentences, or even new sounds.

  • Ask for opinions

Finally, it is important to test the ideas that have been generated. Take 2 or 3 domain ideas and test them with your colleagues or friends, so that they can vote for their choice. Ask them about the memorability of your domain name, its originality, etc.

Domain names: mistakes to avoid

There are obviously a certain number of mistakes that can be made, when choosing a domain name, and also some abusive practices to avoid!

The most common mistakes

Let's start by listing the most common mistakes when choosing a domain name for a website.

  • A domain name that has nothing to do with your brand

Choosing a domain name that has nothing to do with your brand, or the products you sell for example, can lead to confusion and disappoint or frustrate your visitors.

  • A domain name that is too long

A domain name that is too long will be difficult to remember. So avoid it, if you want your visitors to find you on the internet!

  • Choosing the wrong extension

It is possible to choose your extension according to your business sector, but also according to your location and that of your customers.

You have the possibility to register several domain names with various extensions. But don't be mistaken, because booking an extension that doesn't correspond to your company can discredit you and make you less visible.

  • An unpronounceable domain 

An unpronounceable name will be difficult to remember for your visitors. And it's really not pleasant to have to repeat your domain name 46 times, is it?

  • A domain name that is difficult to write

In the same vein, a domain name that is difficult to write will make it difficult to remember. Your visitors will quickly get bored and leave your website because they will misspell it!

  • A domain name a little too "friendly”

Pay attention to the tone and meaning of the words. If you use another language for example, make sure the translation makes sense. It is important to be politically correct.

  • Choosing a domain that is similar to another

Take a good look at what your competitors are doing and at the domain names already registered. If yours is too similar to a competitor’s, there will be confusion and less visibility for you.

  • Including other than letters in your domain name

A domain name should be composed mainly of letters and hyphens "-", if necessary.

Ideally, it is better to avoid dashes in a domain name as well.

Domain names and abusive practices

As mentioned above, there are certain abusive practices regarding the registration of domain names. Cybersquatting or domain name grabbing consists in buying domain names related to your brand (or your location...), in order to take advantage of their notoriety or to alter the visibility of the rightful owners, to resell them afterwards (sometimes at a high price) to the natural owners.

Domain names: in conclusion

You now know a little more about domain names. Keep in mind that your domain name is very important for your brand. It is the first step in creating your image.

So take the time to choose it well, in a methodical and efficient way.

Now don't hesitate anymore and choose your own domain name for your website!

Claire Tourtoulou
Community Manager
I am passionate about the Web, and I am an autodidact. I like learning new things and sharing my skills with others. At the same time, I manage a blog about my second passion: video games. Except that, I love sports and pets. 🐶

Last update: January 20, 2023

Limited time offer!

4 months free* on annual subscriptions!

Boost your online presence for the start of the school year! 🚀

Discover the offer
Offer valid until Sep 25
* 8 months free on 2 years subscriptions