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Understanding domains

A domain name, also known as a site URL or link, is a unique address of your site on the Internet. For example, coffee-store.com.

Owning a domain is crucial for business or personal brand. It gives your online store a more professional look and builds credibility with customers. What is more, a site with related keywords in its URL gets higher positions in Google and other search engines results.

The most common way to get a domain is to purchase it from a provider and then connect to the website. You can purchase a domain from your Ecwid admin, connect a domain you already own, or use a free domain that you get for your store upon signup.

Domains anatomy

A domain name is only a part of the full web address. The complete URL may also include subdomains, subdirectories, and paths.

Let’s say you have a coffee-store.com website where you sell coffee. In that case, the link to your product may look like this: https://www.coffee-store.com/products/12-oz-brazil-mexico-blend. It's made up of the following parts:

Understanding_domains.png

protocol — “https://”. Protocol shows if the site is secured but nowadays it rarely appears in the address bar.

subdomain — A subdomain is an optional part of a web address that appears before the domain name. “WWW” is the most common, but not the only example of a subdomain. Often a subdomain on a website is created to separate a distinct function of a site. For example, if you want to have a blog on your site, you can add it as a separate page that will be located on the blog.yoursite.com subdomain.

second-level domain — “coffee-store”. The core of a URL. Usually it’s named after a brand or a person. It can also contain relevant keywords of your business, e.g., kids-bikes-in-toronto.

top-level domain (TLD), or a domain extension — “.com”. It is a suffix that follows the site name in the URL. The most common TLDs are .com, .net, .org.

domain name — “coffee-store.com”. The domain name usually includes a second-level domain and a top-level domain. Usually it’s .com or a country-related domain extension like .ca, .de, .nl.

subdirectory — “products”. When a site has a lot of information, that information can be structured and put into “folders” or subdirectories. On your site, you can have a “/products” subdirectory that contains a list of the items you sell.

path — “12-oz-brazil-mexico-blend”. The path may point to a specific page, product, or file. Each product in your store has its own path.

Domain options in Ecwid

When you use Ecwid Instant Site, you have two options: use a default Ecwid subdomain that you get upon signup with Ecwid or connect a custom domain.

Built-in Ecwid subdomain

A free domain that you get by default in Ecwid looks like this: my-store.company.site. You can change the “my-store” subdomain, but the link will always end with “.company.site”. For example, instead of my-store.company.site you can name your site my-coffee-store.company.site.

A built-in domain is a good option for beginners since it’s free, and you can easily change the subdomain in seconds, trying different names for your site.

For more advanced business, it’s recommended to use a custom domain with your brand name and extensions like .com, .net, .ca, etc. That makes your site more credible for customers and easier to find in Google.

Custom domain

You can buy a custom domain right from the Ecwid admin, or connect a third-party domain that you already own. Getting a custom URL allows you to choose both top-level and second-level domains. For example, coffee-store.com or coffee-store.ca. A short and familiar site link is one of the things visitors use to gauge a brand’s credibility.

The main benefits of a custom domain are:

  • SEO-friendly. Proper keywords in the URL may improve your site position in the search engine results, meaning people are more likely to visit your store.
  • Trustworthy. Site with a familiar TLD like .com or .org is more familiar to shoppers and adds professional credibility to your business.
  • Memorable. Custom domains that are not too long are considered more memorable, so it’s easier for customers to re-visit your site.

Best practice: Tips on choosing a domain name

Take some time to come up with a unique domain name that fits your business. Choosing a proper URL is important since your site address is how your audience will find and remember you, and it also can help boost your SEO.

Here are some tips to help you create a name to stand out from the crowd.

Keep it short and simple. The shorter the domain is, the easier it is for customers to remember your store. Aim for 6-14 characters. Make sure your domain is easy to spell or pronounce. That includes avoiding hyphens, numbers, and doubled letters.

Be specific and use keywords. Try to mention either your business niche or your brand name. Keywords specific to your business are also a good idea that will help to boost your site in search results.

Stay unique. Make sure your domain stands out from competitors and does not sound familiar to major brands.

Try different TLDs. Experiment with TLD if a domain name you want is already taken. For example, try BeautyJars.net if BeautyJars.com is already taken. Remember there are a lot of TLDs based on type of business: .clothing, .shoes .tech .coffee, .bike, etc.

Try out domain generators. In case you run out of ideas, try using Wordoid, Lean Domain Search, or DomainHole. These tools allow you to come up with ideas that contain your keywords.

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