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Domain names are big business.

In the first quarter of 2023 alone, individuals and business owners combined to register a staggering 354 million domain names. That makes sense – without a domain name, those entities have no presence on the internet. If you hope to run a website, you need to register a name as a priority. Without it, you have nothing on which to mount your website, and – if you’re trying to create a brand – you run the risk of somebody snatching up a valuable domain name before you buy it.

But you have a problem:

You don’t know enough about domain names, what role they serve, and how to register one. That’s where this article comes in – your guide to navigating the world of domain names.

What Is a Domain Extension?

Think of a domain name as your address on the internet. It’s a simple string of characters – starting with www. and ending with a domain extension – that people type into an internet browser to access your website. That character string maps directly to an alphanumeric Internet Protocol (IP) address, which is a small string of numbers, with that IP address being where your website is hosted.

So, they’re user-friendly ways for internet users to find the sites they’re looking for. Without domain names, a user would have to type the IP address directly –, for example – which is far more difficult to remember.

Every domain name you register comes with an extension.

This is the combination of characters that follow a website address, with “.com” being the most common. However, .com is far from the only extension available, with the following being the main categories of domain extensions:

  • Generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs): This term covers any domain extension that isn’t tied to a specific country or region, meaning you don’t have to worry about country-specific regulations for registering them. The previously mentioned .com is a good example – it’s the most popular gTLD. But others include industry-specific extensions, such as .info and .blog.
  • Country Code Top-Level Domains (ccTLDS): With a ccTLD, you’re tying your domain name to a specific country. For instance, a website with the extension is instantly identifiable as being made for the U.K. These international domains often have restrictions. For instance, getting a Japanese ccTLD requires your business to have a physical presence and registered phone number in Japan.
  • Sponsored Top-Level Domains (sTLDs): These domain extensions have some form of sponsor, meaning you can only use them for specific purposes. The .mil extension in the United States is a good example, as that has strict restrictions that mean it’s only available to official military websites.

As a business owner, the odds are that you’ll register either a gTLD or a ccTLD. Both have advantages. The huge range of gTLDs allows you to register domains that include your industry – such as the .info example earlier – which can help with online marketing. As for ccTLDs, they ensure you establish a defined web presence in a country, which can also help with online marketing as well as give a much-needed boost to trust levels among that country’s web users.

How AI Tools Help You Find Domain Names

In the past, choosing a domain name was a manual process. You’d come up with a name, research its availability, and buy it if you could. There was guesswork involved – you couldn’t guarantee that you’d get the best domain name possible because you only had access to limited information.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and the domain name selection tools that are powered by it could change all of that.

For instance, AI tools can help a business to select a domain name that hits several key metrics. Beyond branding potential – which could be covered simply by choosing your business name for your domain – AI can look at ideal domain lengths in your sector and even the keywords people use to search for your services. Better yet, it can do all of that in seconds, drastically cutting down on a research period that could otherwise take weeks or months.

Add to that the ability to select relevant domain extensions – which could prove especially useful if a popular extension is already taken – and AI offers a lot of potential. However, it’s not there yet. Though AI tools exist to help you find domain names, they need further training to become viable marketing assets.

Registering Your Domain – The Key Tips

Now you know a little more about domain names, extensions, and the AI tools that could help you make your domain decisions, there’s just one thing left to do:

Register a domain.

These tips help you do just that.

Tip 1 – Find a Reliable Registrar

Unless you’re willing to put in the leg work to register a domain via Whois or a country’s domain registration department, you’ll work with a domain registration company to get your domain name. Trustworthiness is key here – you need a registrar that has a good reputation and offers competitive pricing. One that provides additional services (hosting, email clients, and the like) is also good, as is one that offers a trustee service. Through this, the registrar acts as your representative in a country for which you want a ccTLD when you don’t have an active presence in that country.

Tip 2 – Always Consider Marketing Impact

Your first thought when choosing a domain name is to just go with your company’s name. That’s not a bad thought – most businesses do it – but you run the risk of missing out on some marketing benefits if you don’t consider your choice carefully.

Keywords related to your industry and used in your domain name, for example, can help you achieve higher rankings in search engines. The same goes for picking appropriate ccTLDs – having a address means you’re more likely to rank in, and so on for other countries.

Tip 3 – Always Know the Legal Requirements

This has already been touched on with ccTLDs, as each country has its own legal requirements you must meet before you can register your domain with them. Sometimes, these are minimal and don’t even ask for you to maintain a physical presence in the country. But at other times – as you saw with Japan – you’ll need to prove citizenship or a business presence.

You need to understand these requirements before you commit to buying a domain or building a website to mount onto it. Again, a domain registration company can help, as well as potentially provide the trustee services you need to overcome the legal hurdles for registering in various countries.

Register Domain Names With Confidence

Getting your hands on a domain name can feel intimidating, especially if you’re not well-versed in the way of the web. But it doesn’t have to be – you just need the information in this article to cut through the murk surrounding the subject. Keep these tips in mind and never underestimate the importance of a good domain registration company. They can make registering a domain as simple as choosing a name and letting them handle the rest.

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