Download: Know More About Web Addresses
Web addresses, otherwise known as domain names, are a very important feature of using the Web, that most of us take for granted. They make using the Web convenient, and are also representative of brands, and household names.
Without them, it would be cumbersome to recall how to get to the websites we love, and frequently visit. In the traditional sense of addresses, domain names can be thought of as an indicator of a location, where certain documents and information can be found. They rely on an intricate system of networked computers on the internet, that make all this possible. Without them, using the Web would otherwise be a totally different experience than we are used to.
Domain names primarily serve the function of making it easy for users to find Internet resources, such as computers or websites. They serve as an abstraction, that replaces the original IP address, used to locate such internet resources, with a simple string of characters that is relatively easier to remember.
The original IP address is typically a grouping of numbers separated by dots, which computers can easily work with, but are a nightmare for their human counterparts. When you type a web address into your web browser, several steps are carried out, behind the scenes, before the website loads into the browser.
First the browser queries a domain name server (DNS), which keeps tables of each domain name, and the corresponding IP address. From the DNS lookup, the browser then uses the corresponding IP address, to contact the web server hosting the website through its IP address, with a request for a specific resource such as a web page or a file, which is then returned and loaded into the browser.
As you are already familiar with, a web address is typically made up of several parts, that ends in an extension, separated by a dot, from the rest of the address. Examples of domain name extensions are dot com, dot net or dot org. This is the generic top level domain (gTLD), that is indicative of the category of the website. To the left of the gTLD is the second level domain, which represents the organisation, for which the web address is registered.
There can be many sub domains existing, in levels lower in the hierarchy, than the second level domains. You will also find country code top level domains(ccTLD) which are based on the country of origin of the owner of the domain such as dot za for South Africa or dot k e for Kenya.
The first part of a domain name is often used to designate the type of host server, such as www, in the case of a world wide web server, or mail, or FTP server. In recent times, new generic top level domains have emerged, allowing people and organisations, to register web addresses that are more in line with their professions such as, dot tech, dot food, or dot plumber, which sends a strong signal, about what the website is all about.
Associated with each web address, you will find the protocol used, which comes at the very beginning of the web address string, taking the form of http:// for hypertext transfer protocol or https:// for its secure counterpart. The protocol, isn’t necessarily a part of the address, but is rather associated with it.
Web addresses are very important, as they can become a significant part of your brand, and for this reason, it is important to carefully select them. First and foremost, your web address has to resonate with what your brand, business or what your organisation stands for, and is all about.
The web address has to be something that easily comes to mind, and is easy to remember. It should also not be unnecessarily lengthy. You do not want your potential visitors pulling out their hair, trying to remember what your web address is.
It is a good idea to come up with several ideas for the web address you are going to use for your website, and then run it by your friends and colleagues, to get their opinion on what works best.
It is also important to try and get it right the first time around, since changing web addresses at a later stage, whilst not technically difficult, results in a loss of the reputation with search engines, you would have built up, on the former address, when you change over to a new one.
Before an individual, or an organisation can own a web address, they have to register that particular domain, through a domain registrar. There are many web hosting companies that provide this service. Webmobyle also provides domain name registration services.
You should be aware that ownership of a domain, is not ownership in the generic sense, but you are granted the right to use that particular address, for a specified period of time, with the right to renew your ownership, before it expires. Furthermore, before you can register a domain, it must be available. That is to say, it must not be registered to someone else, at the time you are registering that particular domain.
In order to find out if the domain you are interested in, does not belong to someone else, you carry out a domain name search, with a website that is providing such a service. Examples of such websites are whois servers or companies selling domains. The search results from some of these services can be quiet cryptic, however.
Whilst some services will tell you that the domain you are looking for is already registered, others will issue an error, and tell you the domain you are searching for does not exist in their records. The later, means that the domain is available for you to register. If a domain is already registered by someone else, the service will show you the details of the existing registrant.
Brand recognition, is one of the drivers for effective marketing, and good business. You are likely to sell more, or reach more people, if they are aware of your brand. A web address, can play a pivotal role in efforts to develop and build your brand. However, these are efforts that should be carried out consistently, and with a long term view.
Choosing a domain, is the first step in building your brand, through a website. And once the website is running, you may carry out several marketing approaches, such as search engine optimization, or paid advertising, in order to build up traffic to your website, and improve brand recognition. By making the right choice initially, when selecting your web address, future marketing and promotional efforts, will seamlessly fall into place.
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