A domain name is a unique name that you register for yourself, your company or organisation. Your domain name gives you an identity on the internet and provides other people with an easy way of locating you. A domain name is made up of a minimum of two parts, separated by a full-stop or dot.
- The first part of the domain name is the name itself (e.g. 'thisisme2')
In principle just about anything is possible as a name, provided, it consists of a combination of two or more symbols. This combination needs to contain a selection of letters from A to Z, and can also include numbers from 0 to 9, or a dash - (but not something like 'a_ _ b.be', for example)
- The second part of the domain name is the extension (the bit that comes after the final dot)
There are all sorts of extensions available: .be, .vlaanderen, .brussels, .com, .eu and many more. The extension usually indicates the country the domain name comes from (.be for Belgium, etc.), or the purpose of the domain name. You are not totally at liberty to choose your extension and must make your choice from the extensions allowed by the controlling body, ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers).The part that comes after the final dot (such as .be) is also called the Top Level Domain (TLD). Most TLD managers currently do not make any requirements regarding the type of organisation that registers a domain name.
Who is allowed to register and use a domain name?
Anyone. Both private individuals and businesses are allowed to register a domain name.
Each domain name is unique and may only be registered once. This means that if the name of your choice is already taken, you will need to look for a different name (unless you can demonstrate a legal entitlement to that particular name). Consequently, when it comes to establishing a presence on the internet (now or in the future), your choice of a unique and original domain name is extremely important.
What does a domain name do?
A domain name is the most convenient way of ensuring that your website is easy to find, both by other online users (because they remember the name) and also by their computers. Every domain name is linked to an IP address, such as 126.96.36.199
This number enables computers to locate and communicate with one another. In other words, your website can be viewed by other people. But because domain names are much easier to remember than IP addresses, the numbers in IP addresses are not used directly by most people.
A domain name can have multiple uses, including
- the location of a website (www.thisisme2.be)
- as part of an e-mail address (info@ thisisme2.be)
Tips for the ideal domain name
When you launch your own website or want a personalised e-mail address, you will need a domain name. Choosing the name of your company is self-evident, but it’s worth considering an original alternative. Ideally, your domain name should reflect who you are, what you do or what you offer on line. Here are some concrete tips:
- Think about your digital strategy: What kind of profile do you want to cut online? Under which name? What image do you want to convey? Which target group do you wish to address? Consider:
- One or more domain names
- Several domain names that you keep separate, e.g. if you provide different products or services or if you are active in different countries
- Several domain names that you link to one main domain
- 1 domain under which you group all your products or activities and where you lead all your visitors
- Branding or keywords
- Your brand as domain name; in that case, it is best to allocate a considerable budget to make your brand known among your target group
- A descriptive domain name that says something about your business, your service or yourself. The name of your website need not coincide with your corporate name. Take account of specific keywords in a descriptive domain name.
- Be to the point, and opt preferably for a pithy and powerful domain name. Try an abbreviation or the initials of your corporate name.
- Make sure that your domain name is easy to remember. Keep it simple. A domain name must be simple to write and easy to pronounce or spell. Avoid difficult constructions with hyphens, figures and letters such as q, x and z.
- Opt for a distinctive domain name that differs sufficiently from your competition.
- Dare to choose a fitting extension, because it can elucidate and enrich your domain name. An extension such as .restaurant or .club spells out immediately what you are on about. More and more regions and cities also have their own extension. In addition to .paris and .berlin, you also have our own .brussels and .vlaanderen.