Two things will come to your mind when you want to design any website, either a church website, Christian blog, or any faith-based website, the first is domain name and the second is web hosting. These two are crucial in getting your website online. Choosing a domain is crucial to your website.
In this post, we will break down essential information for you to know about domain names.
Here is a quick overview of what I will cover in this article
- What is a Domain Name
- Domain Name and Web Hosting
- How Does a Domain Name Work
- What Are The Types of Domain Names
- Factors in Choosing a Domain Name
- Where to Buy Domain Name
What is a Domain Name?
It 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 (oluwaseuncephas.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 22.214.171.124
An IP address is a string of numbers assigned to each computer within the range of 0 to 225.
All domains are registered by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). They allocate each IP address to every domain registered and accredit all domain registrars either in Africa or international registrars. ICANN has the power to 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, oluwaseuncephas.com is the domain name of this website. (“oluwaseuncephas” is the name) (.com is the extension). We will look into domain extensions in this blog post.
Domain names can also be called URL (Universal Resource Locator) or web addresses.
Domain Name and Web Hosting
Briefly, let me differentiate between a domain name and Web hosting. A web hosting is a house for all your website files. After you have gotten 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 they are managed by your hosting providers. That is why when you are 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 associate 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 then 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 different 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’ ‘.net’
There are other types of TLDs but are not as popular as these ones.
- For faith-based organizations like churches, or ministries, it is advisable to use (.org)
- A website for ministers and commercial purposes is advisable to use (.com)
- (.net) overtime is seen as a substitute for (.com)
|.org||churches and ministries|
.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 .gov can only be registered by government institutions.
Before these domains are registered, documents are required for verification. For the ‘.gov’ domain, a letter signed by the federal or state government must be tendered.
Second Level Domain (SLD)
It is a domain that is directly below the TLD. It is part of a domain but it is located before the actual domain.
These domains are also used to target locations. For example, in Nigeria, an SLD domain will be ‘.com.ng’ ‘.org.ng’ ‘.net.ng’. So it is for other countries.
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 designing 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 other extensions such as .net, .church, and .ng.
Take note that .org should strictly be used for an organization.
- Make It Simple and Easy
I can’t cope with remembering 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 good 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 oluwaseuncephas.com because it is a personal brand name. The agency URL is xephasdigitals.com
If your blog is all 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 will get to a situation where your preferred domain name is not available, 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, for readability, avoid the use of numbers and hyphens. 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 it had been previously registered by another person.
For your church or ministry, if possible, get all the available major domain extensions such as .org .com .net.
When your Church, ministry, or blog expands, there won’t be a diversion of traffic from such related domains.
- 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 providers or foreign providers. If your preferred domain is and 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