What is a Domain Name & Why Do I Need Domain Names?
A domain name is a company's unique identifier on the Internet. Internet computers know how to transmit information with Internet protocol (IP) numbers. However IP numbers are rather long and do not make sense to individuals surfing the Web. Domain name service (DNS) that Internet providers offer invisibly turn these long and difficult to remember IP numbers into easy to remember, brandable domain names. This same unique domain name can be used with a company's Web address and their email addresses.
The format for a professional Web address is usually "www.company.com" while an email address is generally firstname.lastname@example.org. A Web address does not have to begin with "www" but it has become standard over time and is easy to remember.
In this digital age it is not a good idea to use another company's domain name in your Internet dealings. For example, the email addresses email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org do not properly identify your unique business. Using such domains implies that your company might not be Net savvy. Furthermore, it doesn't help you reinforce and market your unique company name. Similarly, it looks unprofessional and is often difficult for individuals to type in a Web address with the following format: http://www.myisp.com/mycompany/. Having a domain name that clearly relates to your company will dissolve these issues and allow you to establish a strong and professional brand on the Internet.
The portion of a domain name that is to the left of the dot is called the second level name. The word "company" in company.com is the second level domain. Top level domain (TLD) is the portion of a domain name that is to the right of the dot. In this example, ".com" is the TLD.
Current TLD's include:
.NET - historically for network service providers - currently available to all
.ORG - historically for nonprofit entities - currently available to all
.INFO - "information" - currently available to all
.BIZ - "business" - currently available to all
.GOV - for government institutions
.MIL - for military institutions
.EDU - for educational institutions
There is also a third element, called a sub-domain, as a part of a Web address. The "www" is the sub-domain in the address: http://www.company.com/. The same company or domain name may have multiple sub-domains associated with it that point to different resources. For example, a company might have different Web sites at the addresses: http://www.company.com/, http://sales.company.com/, and http://billing.company.com/.
The most recent TLDs to become available to the public are the .US, .INFO and .BIZ. The .NAME is soon to follow. Additional TLDS, such as .AERO, .MUSEUM and .PRO are also being considered. However, there are already many other top level domains around the world that consist of country codes such as .WS, .BZ, .NU, .CC, etc. Despite the existence of alternative TLDs the majority of the business world is buying names and branding companies with .COM and .NET extensions, abandoning other possibilities. Presently the highest trafficked sites and the easiest sites to remember all use .COM and .NET. Further supporting the universal acceptance of the .COM over the alternative TLDs and ccTLDs is that the Netscape Navigator and Microsoft IE Web browsers do automatic lookups of only .COM addresses.
BuyDomains.com expects that names with .COM and .NET will store a significantly higher value practically forever. Only lower profile companies and sites will likely experiment with alternative top level domains.
Today .COM and .NET names have established recognition and can identify your company on the Internet forever. For this reason, they have considerable resale value and serve as excellent investments (learn more about the investment opportunities that domain names offer). Over time, most, if not all companies will conduct a considerable portion of their business over the Internet. A domain name that is easy for your customers and prospective customers to remember is the key factor in generating new business and conducting business on the Internet. Having relevant "keywords" to support your domain name is also an important consideration and will enable customers to find your online business effortlessly through Web based search engines. Another excellent marketing tactic you should consider is to have multiple URL addresses (including your domain name) point to the very same Web site. This is very simple and both URL and frame forwarding are free services with BuyDomains.com. This will allow you to keep your legacy domain name, while multiple new ebusiness names conduct commerce and are listed in the search engines, significantly increasing your Web site's overall traffic.