Two things will come to your mind when you want to design any website, either a church website, Christian blog, or faith-based website, the first is a domain name, and the second is web hosting. These two are crucial in getting your website online. Choosing a domain name is vital to your website.
In this post, we will break down essential information for you to know about domain names.
What is a Domain Name?
A domain name is the unique address of your website. The address people type in the browser to visit your website. I call it a doorway to open your website. If you look up, you will see a name in the URL box (xephas.com) that is the domain name for this website.
The address is specific for you. Once you purchase a domain name, it is yours and cannot be bought by any other person. Before you get your website online, you have to choose and purchase a domain name.
Let me get more technical, the internet is a big tribe of computers connected through a global network. Each computer can communicate with others, and each computer has an address called an IP address. It looks like this 18.104.22.168.
An IP address is a string of numbers assigned to each computer within the range of 0 to 225.
The Internet Corporation registers all domains for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). They allocate each IP address to every domain registered and accredit all domain registrars, either in Africa or internationally registrars. ICANN can delete a domain or not approve a domain name if it does not follow the rules.
Domain names are further extended into two types
For example, xephas.com is the domain name of this website. (“xephas” is the name) (.com is the extension). We will look into domain extensions in this blog post.
Domain names can also be called URLs (Universal Resource Locator) or web addresses.
Domain Name and Web Hosting
Briefly, let me differentiate between a domain name and Web hosting. Web hosting is a house for all your website files. After getting your domain name, you need to point it to a website. Web hosting is where you host your website.
A website consists of many web files, images, videos, and other useful files. They are stored on a web server. From this server, you purchased a proportion of it (called shared hosting) to store all your website files. That is web hosting in simple times.
You need both web hosting and a domain name for building a website. You can check through our list of free web hosting providers that give webspace to host your website.
How Does a Domain Name Work?
A website URL should load within seconds after many processes have taken place.
When you type a domain name in a browser, it sends a signal to a global network of servers. These servers are called Domain Name Systems (DNS).
Each domain has a location, and your hosting providers manage them. That is why when connecting your domain to your hosting, you use the Server Name of your hosting company.
Name servers look like this
The DNS will search for the associated IP address with your domain name and look for all the website files stored associated with the domain name.
After the IP address has been found with all information, it will return it to the browser where the domain name has just been typed.
The browser loads the website data stored on the server, and you see the web page you requested.
These processes are done whenever you visit a website. Failure at any stage will give you an error loading the web page.
What Are The Types of Domain Names?
You might have seen different domain names with other extensions .com .org, .net .co, and more.
Let’s take a look at the different types of domain names we have
- Top Level Domain (TLD)
- Country Code Top Level Domain (ccTLD)
- Sponsored Top Level Domain (sTLD)
- Second Level Domain (SLD),
Top Level Domain (TLD)
A TLD is a domain extension. It is the part that follows the last dot in a URL. The most popular TLDs are ‘.com,’ ‘.org,’ and ‘.net’
There are other types of TLDs that are not as popular as these.
- For faith-based organizations like churches, or ministries, it is advisable to use (.org)
- A website for ministers, the commercial purpose is advisable to use (.com)
- (.net) overtime is seen as a substitute for (.com)
- For Christian blogs, it is advisable to use either (.com) or (.net) or (.blog)
.com is the popular domain extension in the internet world among over 1400 TLDs.
As regards SEO, you don’t have any problem because Google sees all domains as the same, with no preferential treatment though it is advisable to go for popular ones.
Country Code Top Level Domain (ccTLD)
A ccTLD is specific to a location. Each country has its specific domain extension.
Check some of the domain extensions for African countries
Sponsored Top Level Domain (sTLD)
They are domain extensions sponsored, and supervised, by the government and private organizations.
For example, .edu can only be registered by educational organizations, while government institutions can only register .gov.
Before these domains are registered, documents are required for verification. For the ‘.gov’ domain, You must tender a letter signed by the federal or state government.
Second Level Domain (SLD)
Second Level Domain (SLD) is a domain directly below the TLD. It is part of a domain but is located before the actual domain.
These domains are also used to target locations. For example, an SLD domain in Nigeria will be ‘.com.ng’ ‘.org.ng’ ‘.net.ng’. So it is for other countries.
There are other new domain extensions available for use, for example, .church, .blog, .ministry and many more
Factors to Consider in Choosing a Domain Name
- Your Domain Extension Matters
The most popular domain extension is (.com). I recommend you go for this if you want to design a website for your pastor or a Christian blog. But, if you are creating a website for a church or organization, use (.org). In most cases, that extension will not be available for your preferred domain name. You can also go for extensions such as .net, .church, .ng.
Take note that .org should strictly be used for an organization.
- Make It Simple and Easy
I can’t remember a long domain name. Keep it as short as possible. For long church or ministry names, try to abbreviate or shorten them.
According to research, domain names with an average of 10 characters are more popular than others. Simplicity and easy-to-read domain names have an impact on your website’s success. Complex domain names are not suitable for the church or ministry.
- Use Keywords
If you are creating a Christian blog, find keywords related to your blog and input them into your domain.
Search engines will easily understand your website if a keyword related to your blog is in your domain name.
This does not apply to church or ministry names. The domain name of this website is xephas.com because it is a personal brand name. The agency URL is xephasdigitals.com and my personal website is oluwaseuncephas.com.
If your blog is about faith articles, you can add terms like faith, love, hope, live for God, and more to your domain name. For Christian music blogs, you can have terms like music, beats, and sounds added to your domain name
- Consider Synonyms
If you get to a situation where your preferred domain name is unavailable, you can check the synonyms of your specific keyword.
An online thesaurus dictionary can help do the magic. ‘Media’ can be substituted for ‘digital.’
- Avoid Using Numbers and Hyphens
As the name suggests, avoid using numbers and hyphens for readability. Your domain name should be simple. Adding hyphens and numbers makes it complex.
Both hyphens and numbers are distractions for a website user. A number can be easily misplaced
- Protect Your Church or Ministry Brand
I heard about the story of a Nigerian news and music blog that purchased a domain name related to its brand at extra cost because another person had previously registered it.
I would advise getting all the available major domain extensions for your church or ministry, such as .org, .com .net.
When your Church, ministry, or blog expands, traffic from such related domains won’t be diverted.
- Use ccTLD for Specific Brands
If your church, ministry, or blog is country-targeted, you should consider using a ccTLD. For a church or ministry located in Nigeria and looking for a Nigerian audience, use a .ng domain. But for a global audience, you can use a .org domain.
This applies to churches and ministries targeting other countries.
Where to Buy Domain Name
In Africa, you can get your domain name from local or foreign providers. If your preferred domain is an SLD (Second Level Domain) like .com.gh, .com.za, or .com.ng, you should stick with local providers.
Domain pricing can differ depending on the provider, below are both local and foreign domain providers you should check out