A domain name is most commonly thought of as being the address that people type into their browser to find your website. For example, the domain name for this website is martindurham.co.uk.
So if you have got a website, or are thinking of getting one, then you are going to need a domain name.
Now I am firmly of the view that every business should have a website but even if you don’t have a website (maybe because you think it’s okay to rely on your Facebook page as your online presence) there are still reasons why I think it is essential that every business has a domain name.
Those reasons are
1. You can redirect your domain name to another website
Even if you don’t have a website, you can redirect your domain name to point to someone else’s website. So, for example, if I didn’t have a website I could set things up so that anyone typing martindurham.co.uk into their browser would automatically be redirected to my Facebook page.
2. You can set up subdomains and redirect them to other websites (or specific parts of your own website)
Once you have a domain name you can setup something called subdomains which can redirect visitors to other websites (or specific parts of your own website).
So, for example, as I already have a website (and so wouldn’t want to redirect anyone typing martindurham.co.uk to my Facebook page) I have set up the subdomain facebook.martindurham.co.uk which is easier for someone who wants to find my Facebook page to remember and type than https://www.facebook.com/martindurham.biz/ but takes them direct to where they want to go.
(Similarly linkedin.martindurham.co.uk is easier to remember and type than https://www.linkedin.com/in/martin-durham/ and twitter.martindurham.co.uk is easier to remember and type than https://twitter.com/martin_durham.)
And I could just as easily set up a subdomain such as blog.martindurham.co.uk to make it (slightly) easier for people to find articles like this one.
3. Your domain name is an integral part of a professional email address
The next reason why you should have a domain name relates to your email address. An email address like email@example.com would generally be considered to look more professional than something like firstname.lastname@example.org, and if I had employees I could set them up with email addresses like email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
4. A domain name is part of your business brand
To a greater or lesser extent all businesses are trying to establish a brand. Lots of thought is often given to logos and/or colour schemes, but the consistent use of your domain name in your website address, social media subdomain shortcuts and email address, alongside its use on your headed paper, advertisements and signwriting, is no less important.
For example, my domain name is an important part of my own brand creation strategy, not least because there are a surprising number of people called Martin Durham in the world but only one has the domain name martindurham.co.uk so it makes sense to build my personal brand around my domain name rather than my actual name.
Bear in mind that if you don’t own the domain name (or names) that best suit your business then there’s nothing to stop anyone else in the world from buying it. Even if they don’t use it, they are then stopping you using it and whilst they may sell it to you they are very much in the driving seat when it comes to setting the price.
5. Owning your domain name gives you control
Owning your domain name means that if you decide to move your online presence from Facebook to your own website, or from one website hosting provider to another, you are not at the mercy of the provider you are leaving to make sure that anyone who visits your old site will find their way to your new one. If you are going to spend time and money driving visitors to your online presence you’ll want to make sure that they get to where you want them to go – and owning your own domain name is a big part of achieving that objective.