The domain name is one of the first things you need to think about as an online seller. As with many of the features of your online shop, it helps to identify your website on one hand, while benefiting some of the strategies you have in place on the other.
In this article, we will introduce you to what a domain name is, while providing you with a tutorial on how to get one. We will finish with some advice on how to choose the right domain name for your online shop.
Domain name: definition
A domain name is a unique characterisation of your site. Digital entities are designated by IP addresses, which are then translated into the form of a domain name to make them easier to read and understand. The domain name is then used to create a URL for your online shop, or to create a personalised e-mail address.
Domain names are accompanied by an extension, designated by “.com”, “.uk”, “.us”, … There are two types of extensions, which are :
- ccTLDs: these are national extensions, most often adapted to the country of origin of the site. They are qualified as Top Level. This also makes it possible to prove the legal existence of the company behind the site in the market to which it belongs;
- gTLDs: these are generic domain extensions, not directly concerning the country of origin of the site. They are also top-level domains.
There are also second-level domains. For example, the “.co.uk” extension is used as a business extension in the United Kingdom, while the “ac.uk” extension is used as an academic extension.
How do I get a domain name?
Domain names can be obtained from a number of accredited providers. On their websites you can register a domain name. Some of these providers also offer website hosting, allowing you to keep everything in one place.
Choosing a domain name
Let’s take the example of the web service provider OVH. First of all, its platform offers you to carry out an initial test with the domain name you wish to register for your website. OVH then tells you if it is available.
Once you have passed the test page, you will be taken to the results page. This page shows you whether the domain name you have indicated is available, in addition to the price (excluding tax) that it would cost you in the first year. In addition, all the domain extensions that might interest you are displayed with their prices.
For example, let’s select the domain extension “.com”. VAT is applied and the secure DNS option is displayed, free of charge. This then costs £7.97 including VAT for the first year of operation. OVH then offers different options for your domain name, such as DNS Anycast which allows you to improve the loading performance of your page for £0.88 / year as well as hosting your site.
In this test, 3 hosting options are presented:
- The personal option: this option is suitable for hosting a personal site such as a blog or an online CV, for example;
- The pro option: this option is suitable for hosting a more professional site, allowing you to manage personalised e-mail addresses, for example;
- The performance option: this option is suitable for sites that are intended to evolve, adapted to the various CMS on the market such as WordPress, Joomla, etc.
Create your OVH account
OVH will then ask you to create an account or to log in if you have already created one. Once you have logged in to your account, all you have to do is fill in your details and go to the payment page for the chosen domain name.
However, if you already have a domain name, you have 2 choices:
- Renew my domain name ;
- Transfer my domain name.
Also, if another site already exists on the domain name you want, you can consider buying it.
Which platform to register your domain name?
Here are a few solutions that allow you to register your website’s domain name:
- OVH: hosting company ;
- Ikoula : hosting company ;
- Gandi: hosting company;
- Amen: hosting company;
- Safebrands : host ;
- 1&1: hosting company;
- Shopify : CMS ;
Our advice for a good domain name
The choice of a domain name for your site and its extension should not be taken lightly. It will influence different strategies and will allow visitors to easily identify your site and its activity.
The influence on referencing
The domain name has a certain importance for the SEO of your website. It must actually include the name of your online shop, so that search engines understand the link between it and the URL.
This is the first element analysed by the robots sent by the search engines to a site, and is therefore considered to be the first clue to rank it on the SERPs. However, it is no longer recommended to include the main keyword of your website in the URL, as this element was no longer taken into account.
Finally, a well-chosen domain name reassures the user because he is sure of the site he is visiting. This allows the website’s retention rate to remain high, greatly limiting the bounce rate, which is taken into account in the analysis of user behaviour by the robots mentioned above, which then judge the relevance of the site.
A good domain extension
As mentioned above, the extension is also very important for your site, especially for an online shop. It is generally accepted that the use of an extension adapted to the target market (.co.uk in the United Kingdom, .us in the United States …) allows you to gain credibility with consumers, in particular.
HTTP and HTTPS are hypertext transfer protocols. The major difference between these two protocols lies in the security of the site. Indeed, HTTPS works thanks to the Transport Layer Security (TLS) transfer. This transfer establishes an encrypted connection and is therefore more secure for the user.
The presence of protection such as HTTPS is taken into account by search engines, which are increasingly prioritising user experience and security.
The domain name is then very important in the setting up of your site, allowing it to exist in the eyes of users and search engines, thus ensuring visits.