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URLs dissected: Why choosing the correct domain is vital for long-term success

Written by Karl Chevalier: Digital marketing executive.
· 4 minute read

 

The anatomy of a url

 

URL is an acronym for uniform resource locator and is essentially the address to a resource on the internet. A url has two main components, these are: the protocol identifier and the resource name (domain name).

 

Protocol

 The protocol of a url declares how your web browser should communicate with the server (that your domain is hosted on) when sending / receiving a web page or document. The most common protocol you’ll see is http (Hyper text transfer protocol) although HTTPS (S meaning secure) is becoming increasingly common.

 

HTTPS

is mainly used for shopping sites, banks and generally any website whereby you enter sensitive information. This means your web browser encrypts any information you provide so it can’t be read by anyone trying to intercept the page during transfer.

 

Subdomain

 A sub domain is a sub division of the main domain. In the example above the subdomain is www. This is the most likely subdomain your going to see, however a subdomain can be used for a whole host of things.

 

In the example above, Manchester Airport have implemented an e-commerce site on their subdomain. This enables them to have two seperate CMS (Content management platforms), one to manage their shop and the other to manage their main site.

 

Domain Name

 A domain name is the unique identifier of a website on the internet. No two websites can have the same domain.

 

Top Level Domain

 The domain name also always includes the top-level domain (TLD) which in the example above is also country specific. Some other examples of popular top level domains include .com, .org and .net.

 

You may have also noticed a lot of new companies starting to use domain extensions that relate to that company or service. These are extensions such as .biz, .photography, .guru ect. which many people now use as an extra identifying aspect of their business. For example if you are a computer repair company, you could use the domain extension .tech.

Path

 The path of a url will also come after the TLD and usually refers to a specific file or directory

 

Top tips for choosing the best domain for your company

If you are starting a new business, choosing the right domain can be vital for long-term SEO success. Changing your domain name further down the line can be a major hassle, and could potentially have huge knock-on effects to your SEO campaign. Over time your domain will build up an authority based on a number of factors, one of which being the age of your domain. Domains that have a number of years behind them are often seen to be more reputable than new domains.

Don’t Use Acronyms

Many companies think using acronyms instead of their company name is quick, simple and easy to remember. That’s not necessarily wrong, however these acronyms have little to no search value. Foregoing using actual words can hinder your search efforts, Google benefits from being able to read an understand, just like your customers do. Using an acronyms that’s unfamiliar can look ‘spammy’ and will lack any associating keywords that your brand could benefit from.

Use .com or .co.uk

There’s plenty of options these days for a TLD that looks creative and innovative, however it’s always good to go with .com or .co.uk where you can. These domains are by far the most widely used and recognised domains, meaning people already have a built-in association with them being trustworthy.

Collect ’em all

Just because you have your business name on a .com domain doesn’t mean someone can’t have the same name on a .biz or even .co.uk domain. If you’re a serious business who relies on digital marketing and the web for the success of your business then safeguarding your domain against closely related names is vital for long-term success.

Use Keywords to your advantage

Online search is based on an a-z of keywords and phrases – so why not take advantage of this when choosing your domain? The more you can make your url relatable to what your customers are likely to search for when looking for your services, the better. This is likely to give your customers a description of what they are likely to expect from your website, increasing the the relevance of your website to their search query. This in turn can increase the click through rate of your website are customers are more likely to click on a url if it relates to what they are looking for.