Choose and Register Domain Names


Part Two Chapter 03

Internet

Before your website is up and running, it must have a domain name (or a website URL). Normally you will go for one of the options:

  • Host your website on one of the free blogging platform such as Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr, etc.
  • Choose and register your own domain name, and put your website on your own domain.

Free Blogging Platforms

When putting your website on one of the free blogging platforms, your website will be hosted on a sub-domain under the blogging platform's domain. Assume the sub-domain you have chosen is:

SomeSubDomainName

On Blogger.com, your website's URL will become:

SomeSubDomainName.blogspot.com

On wordpress.com, your website's URL will become:

SomeSubDomainName.wordpress.com

On tumblr.com, your website's URL will become:

SomeSubDomainName.tumblr.com

Upside

One important upside of the free blogging platforms is they host your website for free. If you aren't serious enough and only want to get a “feel” on how to run a website, then you are always welcome to try the free blogging platforms for a limited time period. Also, it is extremely fast and simple to setup your website on one of the free blogging platforms.

Downside

Most improvements to your website will be restricted. For example, on a free blogging platform, it will be difficult or even impossible to do the following:

  • Setup your website as en ecommerce site, add multiple levels of product categories / sub-categories, and add payment mechanism to it.
  • Setup your website as a photo gallery site.
  • Setup your website as a social network site.

After all, blogging platforms are most suitable when your objective is to set up a website for casual blogging.

Choose a New Domain Name

When you get more serious, you should get a domain name for your website. Assume your website is for a local market (e.g. China). The rules of thumb when choosing a new domain name for a website are:

Short Domain Names

You want a short domain name.

For example, g.cn (Google China) and z.cn (Amazon China) are probably the shortest domain names you can ever get. When you visit the two websites, you will be automatically redirected to google.cn and amazon.cn.

g.cn
z.cn

Easy to Remember Domain Names

An easy-to-remember domain name makes it simple for users to spell when they directly type the domain names in their web browsers.

Usually a domain name that is a proper English word is the easiest to remember. An example is booking.com which is a hotel booking site.

booking.com

Chinese Pinyin Domain Names

For the local Chinese market, always a good choice is a domain name in full Chinese pinyin. This enables users to easily remember and directly enter the Pinyin domain name into their web browsers.

For Example, they are restaurant review site, search engine, and group buy websites.

dianping.com
baidu.com
meituan.com

Initials of Chinese Pinyin Domain Names

A slight variation is to construct a domain name with only the initials of the Chinese pinyin.

For example, Chinese big brand names such as yhd.com and jd.com, a supermarket store and an all-in-one ecommerce site, use initials of Chinese pinyin in their domain names.

yhd - Yi Hao Dian
jd - Jing Dong

English Alphabets with Numbers Domain Names

Combining a single English word or a single pinyin word with numbers has proved to work. Examples are a Chinese yellow pages site and a website CMS with cloud solutions.

hao123.com
shop123.com

All Numbers Domain Names

Having all numbers in a domain name has proved to work well. An example is 4399.com which is a download site of games.

4399.com

Domain Extensions

When choosing a domain name you should consider the domain extension. For the Chinese market the obvious choices are:

.com
.cn
.com.cn

Both .cn and .com.cn extensions give users a sense of localization. The .cn extension is the shortest possible extension you can get.

The large (high-traffic) Chinese websites mostly have been using the .com extension. For example:

taobao.com
tmall.com
jd.com
baidu.com
ctrip.com
dianping.com
meituan.com
yhd.com
benlai.com
hao123.com
4399.com
dangdang.com
huazhu.com

The non-local brands are using the .cn extension for the Chinese market, as the .com extension has been taken by their mother company (e.g. Amazon.com). For example:

Amazon.cn

Use Sub-domains for Mobile Websites

The Chinese brands mostly host their mobile websites on sub-domains. For example:

Brand Mobile Domain Name Desktop Domain Name
Taobao m.taobao.com www.taobao.com
JD m.jd.com www.jd.com
Baidu m.baidu.com www.baidu.com
Ctrip m.ctrip.com www.ctrip.com
YHD m.yhd.com www.yhd.com
Benlai m.benlai.com www.benlai.com
Hao123 m.hao123.com www.hao123.com
Huazhu m.huazhu.com www.huazhu.com
4399 m.4399.com www.4399.com

Domain Name Examples

As a personal website that mainly has my own informational on it, using my name in the domain name is a good choice.

 www.GordonChoi.com

In recent years the .me extension has become popular for personal websites (or blogs).

 www.example.me

This is the accompanied website for my book “The China Mobile SEO Book”. Using the book name as the domain name is a good choice.

 www.ChinaMobileSEO.com

Another book which I have written, I am again using the book name as the domain name. The book has subsequently been translated into multiple languages, and I am using sub-domains (i.e. cn, hk) to reflect the other language versions. Note the website is using an .org extension which normally means non-profit organization.

 www.AnalyticsBook.org (English)
 cn.Analytics.Book.org (Chinese Simplified)
 hk.AnalyticsBook.org (Chinese Traditional)

WAW China being a live conference which is also a non-profit project, it is using the brand name as the domain name with a .org extension.

 www.ChinaWAW.org

The full-stack analytics tool which I have developed, I am using the tool's name as the domain name with a .com extension.

 www.FolksAnalytics.com

Register a New Domain Name

To get a new domain name, you can register through one of the web hosting providers such as:

  • Godaddy.com
  • Namecheap.com
  • Hostgator.com
  • Bluehost.com
  • Siteground.com

They do provide web hosting solutions (i.e. shared hosting) for your website in which you will need when you publish your website.

What You Need to Know

When you purchase from one of the web hosting providers:

  • A new domain name with a .com extension normally should not cost more than 10 US Dollar per year.
  • Web hosting providers accept most of the common payment methods including credit cards, PayPal, etc.
  • You can even purchase country specific domain names (e.g. .cn extension) or region specific domain names (e.g. .asia extension) from web hosting providers such as Godaddy.com.


Gordon Choi's Mobile Website Book has been available since November 2016.







Content on Gordon Choi's Mobile Website Book is licensed under the CC Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 International license.

Gordon Choi's Mobile Website Book

Gordon Choi’s Other Books:
The China Mobile SEO Book
Analytics Book