Selecting a Domain Name

Deciding on your domain name is important for at least two reasons:

  1. Your website will be known by the domain name you choose.
  2. Your domain name will be a factor in search engine visibility.

So, what criteria should you consider when making this decision?

graphic of top level domains - david-bateman-web-designerYour domain name needs to be something that is descriptive of what you do.  Choose something that people will see and know immediately what you do and what your objectives are.  It needs to be something people can easily remember so they can tell others about your website and their friends can find you the next time they sit in front of their computer or handheld device.

Now, “www.NCOC.org” (for example, Nashville Church of Christ) might be easy to remember, but it isn’t very descriptive of your website, nor does it enhance search engine visibility.  It is a good practice to include keywords which people will use to find your website in your domain name.  So, a better domain would be “www.NashvilleChurchofChrist.org”.  It is better for both SEO purposes as well as website identity purposes.

But, should I purchase a .com or .org? Before we can answer this question, we need to know a little about what these designations mean.  The rightmost part of the domain name, beginning with the final period, is known as the TLD (Top Level Domain).  Each TLD has different meanings:

  • .biz – businesses
  • .com – commercial entities
  • .edu – accredited degree-granting institutions of higher learning
  • .mobi – corresponding to a dedicated mobile site
  • .name – individuals
  • .net – entities associated with the network support of the Internet (usually Internet service providers or telecommunications companies)
  • .org – non-profit entities

Then, there are TLD’s that are country codes and identify a particular country such as .au (Australia), .in (India), .uk (United Kingdom), or .us (United States) to name a few.  Obviously, the most appropriate TLD for churches would be “.org” even though many choose “.com’s” because of the tendency of most Internet users to inadvertently type in .com when navigating to a website – even if it is a .org address.

The cost factor is usually a negligible consideration when selecting your domain.  You will end up paying about the same for either.  Typically, a domain will cost you anywhere from $10-15 annually.  For more information on this topic, see the article “12 Rules for Choosing the Right Domain Name”.