The Ruler of your Domain

The Ruler of your Domain

These days writers, authors and creatives need to be so much more than ‘just’ a writer or creative. Publishing Houses are increasingly looking to their Authors to create their branded platform from which to promote and sell their material. For many the online world can seem a little daunting but if you get to grips with some fundamentals early on, it can open up avenues to sales and raise awareness about you and your work.

One of the first areas you may be called upon to consider if you are creating a website is your Domain Name.

The second thing you will need to consider is who ‘hosts’ your website – but I will save that joyous discussion for another post (just be aware the two things are different – and you will need both).

Let’s start with a definition so we are all on the same page.

A domain name is an ‘identification string’ of numbers – or simply the ‘address’ of your website that people type in the browser URL bar to visit your website. If your website was a physical house, then your domain name would be its door number and street name. 

The internet is a huge network of computers connected to each other through a global network of cables. Each computer on this network can communicate with other computers.

To identify them, each computer is assigned an IP address -a series of numbers that identify a particular computer on the internet. A typical IP address looks like this:

172.16.09.1.  

It would be a bit of a pain to have to remember all these numbers though wouldn’t it? I mean how would we remember all our favourite sites? We can’t even remember phone numbers these days so we save them under a person’s name. It’s a similar concept with website addresses.

Domain names solve this memory problem.

If you have some latent geek tendencies you may be interested in what happens when we type an address into the browser – but for those of you glazing over right now I will keep it down to a few bullet points.

  • Visitor: I need directions to “The Butterfly Bureau” please.
  • The global network of servers (Domain Name System) responds: ‘Listen up – any of you lot got The Butterfly Bureau in their database or cache?’
  • Host Server (say GoDaddy or other) waves their hand: Hey – yes – over here. I have their address  – it’s 101.01.11.90 …I’ll send the address over righ now.
  • The global network of servers (Domain Name System) responds: Great we’ll store it in case it is asked for again.

This is very basic of course but hopefully gives you an idea of how a Domain works. In a nutshell, your Domain name is your address on the Internet Highway so your visitors can be directed/delivered to your door.

With me so far?

Different Types of Domain Names

Domain names are available in many different extensions. The most popular one is .com. There are many other options like .org, .net, .tv, .info, .io, however, I always recommend buying a dot.com – and I will explain why in a moment. For now, here are the different types of Domains you need to be aware of.

Top Level Domain – TLD
Top-level domain or TLD – the highest level in the domain name system. There are hundreds of TLDs, but the most popular ones are .com .org, and .net.

Other TLDs are lesser-known and consequently, I advise you not to buy them. You will be amazed at the effect it has on your brand to refer to something as a dot.biz rather than a dot.com. The biz makes it seems rather ‘tabloid’ – fine if that’s what you are going for.

Country Code Top Level Domain – ccTLDCountry-code top-level domain or ccTLD are country-specific domain names which end with country code extensions like dot.au for Australia or dot.uk the United Kingdom, dot.de for Germany or dot.co for Columbia (yes dot.co is actually a ccTDL but Columbia allow it to be used globally).

So – ccTLDs are used by websites that want to target audiences in a specific country. If you want to take your work GLOBAL though, this is just one reason to stick with dot.com

Sub Domain
In the hierarchy of the Domain Name System, a subdomain is a domain that is a part of another domain. For example, domain name. shop.com

Sponsored Top-Level Domain – sTLD 
Sponsored top-level domain or sTLD is a category of TLDs that has a sponsor representing a specific community served by the domain extension. For example, .edu for education-related organisations or dot.gov for a country’s government.

How to Choose a Domain Name for Your Website?

There are millions of registered domain names and thousands are registered every day.

Chances are all the really great ones are already registered to someone else – so there is a lot of pressure on you to get creative with your domain name for your website.

There are free business name generator tools available that will help you come up with something creative – if you are stumped.  

As a creative or author, you may want to use your name.com and that is certainly a great way to go if all your books are going to be written under one name. 

If you are going to write many different books using different pen names though, this would not be such a great idea.

Instead, think of your BRAND. What does your brand represent? If you are writing or creating spiritual content you may want to think about themes in your work. For example, The Butterfly Bureau is part of a wider Communications Consultancy – and there is a ‘transformational’ element to that work (hence the butterfly) so you can see where this would come into play in choosing the Domain name. The parent business is McRae Communications Consultancy – shortened to mcraecomms.com as the top-level domain – and then ‘butterfly’ to show the relationship and brand attributes.

Here are some quick tips to help you choose a domain name for your website.

  • Stick with a dot.com domain name as it is the most popular, easy to remember, and easy to promote. When you buy a dot.com you often will own the extensions too (save perhaps a handful of them).So it follows if you buy a dot.com, it could save you any ‘ownership’ issues later down the track. If someone else owns ‘transform.com‘ – don’t be tempted to buy ‘transfor.net’ (i.e. using the dot.net extension). There are many reasons why this would not be a good idea, but the worst-case scenario you could be sued for trying to cash in on the traffic and success of ‘transform.com’ – so make your domain your own – and search for and buy the registration to the dot.com. 
  • The shorter the better.  Generally speaking the shorter the better (best practice says a maximum of 10-15 characters – even shorter is optimum though). If it’s borderline from that perspective – it’s fine – but if you had something related that was shorter that would be even better). You may find really short domain names are a premium though but may be worth the higher price for a memorable address.
  • Think about how your domain name will look on printed material (how much space it takes up etc).
  • Make it easy to pronounce and spell.
  • Do not use numbers or hyphens.
  • If you are really stuck, look for a Domain Name Generator.

How to Buy a Domain Name?

You can buy domain names from one of the many domain name registrars. A domain name can cost around $1800 AUD a year (you’ll need to convert that for your currency). Really great domain names can sell for much more though.  If you have no idea where to start in terms of buying a domain name – these companies will point you in the right direction.

  • Domain.com
  • Bluehost
  • GoDaddy
  • Hover
  • Dynadot

Please note The Butterfly Bureau is not affiliated with any of those listed above.

Just remember buying a domain/name does not automatically give you hosting service. For that, you will need a website hosting account which I will go into in another day. 

Well, I hope that has demystified the subject of Domains for you. At the very least, when you hear the word it won’t sound like a foreign language. The Butterfly Bureau can of course help you with all of this as a service, but I always think if you have the desire to learn it puts the power back in your hands. That said – I am here to help if this really is a step too far – believe me, I understand! © 2020 The Butterfly Bureau | Powered by Outstandingthemes

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