A domain is a unique name that identifies your website. It gives you ownership of your website’s unique IP address and keeps users from having to remember and type in that IP address. You have to register your website under a domain for users to find you, and you can do this for free on website builders.
A custom domain is a unique, branded label that’s tied to your site’s IP address. It’s a name that can be typed into any search address bar and your website will show up in the results.
An example of a custom domain name is shorten.rest.
Custom domain names are worth purchasing, because:
- They make you memorable. Your domain name can tie into your logo and your socials and is present throughout your website.
- They make you credible. A custom domain name is a norm for websites now. Any extra parts of a free domain (eg. yoursite.wordpress.com) make users feel unsure of whether they’re at the right place. It also makes them unsure if they are in a trustworthy place.
- They help you build a brand. Your domain name will display on your website, your socials, and can be integrated into your logo. This just aids in making your site more memorable.
Best practices for creating a custom domain name:
- Try to keep your name short and sweet. It can be hard, because so many people have registered domains, but really try to make it easy for your users to type your domain name in a search box.
- Spell it simply. A difficult to spell word is almost asking for typos and turning away users.
- Avoid anything that’s not a letter, if possible. Hyphens and numbers also leave a lot of room for human error when it comes to memorability and typing mistakes.
- Use some of your niche’s keywords, if possible. It will help your site rank higher in a user’s search results.
- Research it: There’s nothing more awkward than picking a word that has some hidden meaning that you didn’t intend to convey.
- Choose something that fits and feels good for you and your mission.
Once you’ve picked and registered a domain name, you can shorten your links and leave your domain name. Shortened links help cut down on space, and a custom domain makes shortened links more recognizable and trustworthy.