Welcome to Week Five of the Website 101:
Working with Websites
Self Learning Tutorial

During this week we learn all about domain names

  • What is a Domain Name?
  • Why Do I Need A Domain Name And How Do I Choose A Good One?
  • How Do I Configure My Domain?

What is a Domain Name?

If you’re serious about your website you must have a domain name.  Using your own domain name improves the image of your site and makes it look more professional.

A domain name is used to identify a website or a computer on the internet.  They are essentially nicknames for an IP Address, which is the “real” address of the website.  IP addresses are not easy to remember (for example, 198.123.1.87), so Domain Names are used instead, and “pointed” to the IP address.  This way you can use the domain name, instead of the IP address to access the website or computer.

Here are some examples of domain names:

  • yourdomain.com – This is the main domain name.
  • www.yourdomain.com – This domain name is a subdomain of yourdomain.com.  www subdomains usually point the main website associated with the domain.
  • subdomain.yourdomain.com – This is also a subdomain of yourdomain.com.  Each subdomain can point to a different website. This is also known as a third level domain.
  • .com – .com, .net, .org, etc. are all examples of top-level domains. yourdomain.com and all other .com domain names are subdomains of the .com domain.  .com is an abbreviation of commercial.

Why Do I Need A Domain Name And How Do I Choose A Good One?

Think of your domain name as the business card for your online presence. Given that your domain name identifies you to anyone on the Internet, some time and effort should be taken in creating one that is memorable. We recommend selecting a domain name that is simple and descriptive.

greathomesbythebeachinmaui.com may seem like a descriptive name, but it’s not easy to remember and would not look good on your business card. mauibeachhomes.com is a better choice as it is shorter and just as descriptive.

There are a number of factors to consider when choosing a domain name:

  • Email Address: A key advantage to having your own domain is you can brand your email with your domain. This means you are no longer dependent on your Internet Service Provider (ISP) for an email address. Regardless of whether you use cable, DSL or fibre optic Internet, you will always maintain the same email.
  • Search Engines: Search engines use your domain name (along with other variables) to determine what your website is about. Vanity names (www.Your-Name-Here.com), though memorable, do not offer much help to search engines; they describe the person, not what the person does.
  • Spelling: Choose a domain that is easy to spell. The longer or more obscure your domain is, the more likely someone will misspell it. Numbers in the middle of your domain can hinder potential site visitors from reaching your website. If you register homes4sale.com, register homesforsale.com as well to cover your bases.
  • Longevity: Choose a domain that will stand the test of time. Properties2000.com may have been a great domain prior to the turn of the millennium, but is outdated today. If you are planning on selling your practice down the road, try to avoid a name that limits your relevance. Idahoapartments.com is a great name in Idaho, but does not translate well into a national franchise. If you include your company name in the domain and move to another company, you’re faced with changing a domain name that has been established over time. All your previous marketing efforts will be lost.
  • Trademarked Words: Avoid trademarked words/names. For example, the word “realtor” is trademarked. “Realty” and “real estate” are good alternatives.

How Do I Configure My Domain?

If you purchased your domain through Top Producer or realtor.com®, there is nothing to do – we have taken care of it for you already!

If you have registered your domain through another Domain Name Registrar, you will first need to add your domain to your website. Then, you will need to configure your domain to point to your new website. The steps to configure your domain differ slightly between registrars. Tutorials for several of the more popular registrars are included below. For other registrars, please visit their support website for more information.