What Is a Custom Domain? Do You Need One?

How do your online visitors find you? Read this article to find out everything you need to know about what a custom domain is and whether you need one.

Keyword(s): custom domain

When it comes to looking through some of the current trends in technology and the worldwide web, few make as big of an impact on daily functions as a custom domain. If you’re wondering why this would even matter, you’re not alone.

It’s easy to fall prey to the misconception that the internet knows what’s best for you, and what your website host recommends and gives you for free is the perfect fit. However, no one knows your business better than you do, so shouldn’t you take back control of your domain name and reclaim your business’s success?

At a glance, the process of securing a custom domain can seem daunting, but we’ve done all the leg work for you and compiled a comprehensive look inside the process of securing a custom domain. Read on to finally understand how essential it is to obtain the right custom domain for every website that wants to succeed.

What Is A Domain?

A domain is the address of your website that users can type into a browser URL bar to visit your website. While this may seem like a complicated series of domain investor terms, you can think of the domain as an address and your website like a house.

The internet is a vast network of computers connected through a global cable network. Each computer is capable of communicating with other computers through this network. In order to identify different computers, each computer is assigned an IP address, which is a series of numbers.

These numbers aren’t easy to remember, which is why domains and domain extensions were established to help users remember and locate their favorite websites. If you want to visit a website, you only need to type in the domain name, and you’ll be connected directly to your query.

How Does A Domain Work?

When a user enters a domain name into their web browser, a request is sent through the global network of servers. The network then looks up the name associated with the domain and forwards that information to the correct server.

Your web hosting company manages the name servers, which forwards the request to the computer that stores your website. The storage computer is called a web server.

The web server has special software installed that fetches the web page and associated information. After you’ve taken those steps, the server then sends the data back to the browser to allow access to the user.

What Is A Custom Domain?

While a domain is the primary part of the URL that directs the browser to the correct web server for your content, a custom domain is one you can define yourself. For example, most online publishing servers that provide you with a free custom domain name will typically provide you with a subdomain underneath their parent domain.

If your website were just an IP address, it would just look like a series of numbers, which is why a custom domain name is so important. For example, a great domain name will be memorable and ensure happy customers always know how to find your business.

Custom domain names are a simple alternative for remembering a website, as it’s like your site’s home address. Once you have someone visit your website, you want to make it easy for them to memorize, spell, and share your domain name.

How To Get A Custom Domain

Before you take steps to configure a domain name, you must first purchase one. The cheapest way to do this is to choose an available one. Anyone who registers a domain can use a search feature to confirm whether or not their chosen name is available. Domains come in different variations like:

  • gTLDs (generic top-level domains) like “.link”
  • “.net” is an internet original
  • “.com” is considered the king of domains
  • “.org” is excellent for those who want to create a trustworthy image

While many parts of building a website can be pricy, securing the perfect custom domain will be a relatively inexpensive annual commitment. In addition, it’s a great way to help your business stand out and create a name for your website that will make you proud and effectively represent your brand identity.

Step-By-Step Process For Securing Your Custom Domain

While the process will vary depending on the platform you choose, the steps to securing the perfect custom domain will remain the same. By following this short guide, you will be well on your way to ensuring the ideal custom domain becomes yours before you know it.

1. Choose Your Domain Registrar

Choosing the right registrar for your domain should be based on pricing, available options, privacy security, reputation, and expiration fees. By measuring these details, you will be able to move forward confidently, knowing you made the right choice.

2. Enter Your Desired Custom Domain In The Search Bar

Typing the custom domain name that you’ve chosen into the search bar will quickly show you if it’s available. You can add your domain to your shopping cart and skip down to step four if it is. However, you will need to work through a few more steps if it’s taken.

3. Try Out Different Variations And Domain Extensions

While you could attempt to purchase a taken domain name from its owner, this isn’t the most cost-effective option as it could cost hundreds of dollars or more. Alternatively, if the “.com” version of your domain is taken, you could consider choosing “.link,” “.org,” or “.net.” Finally, if you want to keep “.com,” you can try playing around with your custom domain name to see if you can find a happy alternative that suits your business and your target audience.

4. Add Domain Privacy And Protection

Now that you’ve secured the perfect domain name, it’s a good idea to add privacy and protection. If you choose not to do this, your personal information like your address, name, phone number, and email will be listed in the WHOIS database for anyone to view.

Your personal information won’t be listed on any public database by adding domain privacy and protection. Taking this small step can help prevent any threats or attacks on your website.

5. Purchasing Alternative Spellings Of Your Domain

When you purchase your main custom domain, it can be good practice to consider any potential misspellings or alternatives a user could search for when trying to find your business. By doing this, you won’t miss out on any traffic that was intended for your website, and those users will be redirected to your website.

6. Choose The Term Of Your Registration

How long do you want to pay for your custom domain upfront? You can choose to pay just for a year or complete the payment for a few years to avoid the process of needing to renew while you work on building your business. Additionally, it’s helpful to consider that you may earn some savings b choosing a multi-year option, which could work well for new companies or those on a tight budget.

7. Buy Your Email Domain And Other Add-Ons

During the checkout process, you will likely see a selection of add-ons like email hosting and SSL certifications. Your website builder generally won’t offer these options, so by adding them in, you’ll have a professional email address and other exceptional resources in place to protect your business. Additionally, an email domain will help ensure your emails reach your customers rather than going straight to their spam.

8. Connecting Your Custom Domain To Your Website Host

Once you’ve purchased your custom domain and officially registered your name, the last step is connecting it to your website platform or host account. Your website host should have steps available for your to follow, or you can contact their support to ensure the process goes smoothly as you elevate your website to the next level!

Three Tips For Choosing The Right Custom Domain Name

If you’re frozen at your keyboard wondering what you should name your website, have no fear! Here are a few tips to help you choose the right custom domain name:

1. Make Sure It’s Easy To Spell

Often referred to as the “radio test,” your domain should be easy enough to spell if someone were to hear it in passing or on the radio. On the other hand, domains that are too cutesy or missing letters can be challenging to remember and could mislead users, so try to avoid these when possible.

To see if your domain passes the test, tell it to a friend or even a stranger and ask them to write it down. If they get it correct, you’re probably good to go, but if they don’t, try typing it into a search bar to see what results you get and if you’re one of them.

2. What Is Your Domain Saying?

Write down your domain and play around with capitalizing different letters or adding spaces in different places. Does this change the meaning of your domain, or worse, does it become something that misrepresents your businesses.

Additionally, make sure that your domain isn’t hiding anything that may be considered offensive or in bad taste. The last thing you want to do is turn away users before they even make it to your website.

3. Does It Have A Double Meaning?

Every year there is new slang and phrases that have double meanings. So before choosing a domain, make sure it doesn’t have a double meaning and double-check to see if it means anything in a foreign language before committing.

What Are The Benefits Of A Custom Domain?

Purchasing a custom domain gives you ownership of your website’s address. By taking ownership, no one else can claim it and makes it easier for users to find your site. But there are some additional benefits to purchasing and registering a custom domain:

You’ll Have A Clear Brand Identity

Securing a custom domain name is crucial for creating a consistent online identity for your brand. In addition, users expect a domain to match or resemble a company name, so this can be an easy way to create cohesion.

Make Your Business Credible

Choosing a custom domain that aligns with your business enhances your website’s credibility. This simple step can help make your website appear more legitimate to a visitor.

Become More Memorable

There are almost two billion websites on the internet, so it’s critical to your business’s success that you make a great and memorable first impression. If your custom domain is easy to remember, visitors will be able to easily search for your business which will lead to increased traffic to your site.

Stand Out From Your Competition

Creating a catchy and straightforward domain will help you stand out amongst any competition in your industry. Making yourself stand out amongst all related industries can be an excellent way to boost your business and connect you with more potential customers.

Create Search Authority

While you’re working to strengthen your brand, implementing a custom domain can also help you create search authority. Generally, the older a domain is, the more authority it has on search engines because of all the content, internal links, and backlinks they’ve accumulated during the life of the site.

Where To Start To Claim Your Custom Domain

Are you ready to boost your business, connect with more customers, and finally start to see an ROI (return on investment) for all your hard work? Now that you understand the process for securing a custom domain, the best place to start is by verifying your desired name is available and securing it before someone else snatches up your great idea!

Once you have your domain secured, connect it to your website through your website host and then sit back, monitor your website’s performance, and reap all the rewards from your hard work. To learn more about boosting your website’s performance and other improvements you might be able to make, check out our blog.