Last updated on October 17th, 2016 at 01:17 pm
Introduction to Domain Names
The name of a company’s website is as important to a company as its corporate address and phone number. It is just like a home address in cyber world for clients to navigate to, and is also a very important marketing tool.
The website name or domain name is a distinctive name that identifies a website, and is made up of 2 components: Domain and Top Level Domain
Take a look at the top of this web page. “Jrlanguage” is our domain, which is a component of the URL (Uniform Resource Locator). Next to “jrlanguage “ is the top level domain- “.com”. Top level domains are powerful- they are used to identify one or more different IP addresses and take you to different web pages. This means that jrlanguage.com and jrlanguage.net would be two completely different websites.
Think of a domain name like a gps, and you the viewer as the car. Let’s say you want to ‘drive’ to GAP.com. Simply typing in “GAP” in the address bar will leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere. But, adding in “.com” will direct you to your intended online destination! Happy shopping- but wait! Stick around for the remainder of this article for some exciting news regarding domain names. Here’s a hint- it has to do with internationalization, and is set to revolutionize web searching. But first, let’s take a look at 4 major categories of Top Level Domains.
1) gTLD or Generic Top Level Domains
2) ccTLD or Country Code Level Domains
3) Geographic Top Level domains
4) Internationalized Country Code Level Domains
.com frequently used to identify commercial business websites. Other generic domain names include: .edu (educational institutions)
.mil (military organizations)
.gov (Governmental entities and agencies in the US.)
.net is a generic top level domain (gTLD) used in the Domain Name System of the internet. Derived from the word “network”, this gTLD was originally intended for use by organizations like internet service providers that are involved in networking technologies. Today, .net is among the most widely used top level domain names and along with .com, make up 42% of all web addresses (source: TheDomains, June 23rd).
.biz is another gTLD. It is used for domain registry by businesses and for other commercial purposes. This gLTD was generated to provide alternative URLs for businesses whose desired domain name in .com had already been taken. Today, .biz is the 5th most popular gTLD used on the Internet, and has more than 2 million registrations (Source: DomainTyper).
Country Code Top Level Domains (ccTLD) are used to identify websites that are designated for a particular country. For instance, a web address ending in .es shows that the website is based in Spain (think: España) and that it serves the Spanish community.
ccTLDs are fantastic online marketing tools that can make a big difference in Search Engine Optimization. A few possibilities include: improved web search which leads to increased web traffic, and higher rankings in search results.
Geographic TLDs are gTLDs that use actual names of geographic regions as the top level domain name. A few cities including London, have already begun launching websites using Geographic TLDs.
A clever idea has been proposed by the ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers Corporation)- translating domain names! You read correctly- generic domain names such as .com and .net will be translated into several languages including Chinese characters, Arabic, and Hebrew. JR Language returned from the IRCE with a neat little booklet of “ALL New gTLD’s: Internationalized” assigned by ICANN. This will be a fun and useful development in how international web users navigate the web. Below are some examples of internationalized domain names (courtesy of 101Domain, Inc.)
The internet is growing by leaps and bounds with the number of new websites being created daily. We’re at a point where there might not be enough available domains! Some companies go as far as buying all the domain names for their brand before someone else is able to do so. Specificity in describing your business is key to securing your own unique domain.