What Are the Components of a Web Address?

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Before you buy a domain name, make sure it's suitable for your business.
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Every device on the Internet has an Internet protocol address, which is a string of four numbers, like "" To make these more human-friendly, they are linked to Web addresses, also known as uniform resource locators. You can create the URLs used on your site, but take some time to plan this out, because the URL you choose can have an impact on your traffic and therefore potentially affect your sales.



The address starts with the communication protocol, essentially the language in which the computers communicate. Examples of protocols include "http://" (hypertext transfer protocol), "ftp://" (file transfer protocol), "pop" (post office protocol). These are the three protocols you'll come across most often in your business, with http used for your site, ftp to transfer files to your server and pop for your email.

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Domain Name

To the right of the protocol are the subdomains and the main domain name.



Domain names are an important factor in search engine optimization (SEO). So, if your domain name is "tucsonhardwarestore.com," your site is more likely to appear in a search for "Tucson hardware store." Domains with hyphens should be avoided as they are less well-suited to SEO than non-hyphenated domains. Note that Google treats subdomains as separate sites when ordering search results – that is, any authority garnered by the first-level domain will not pass to the subdomain. So in most cases it is better to use folders to separate different parts of the site.


Top-Level Domains

The next part of the domain is the top-level domain, or TLD. These are used to help browsers find your site on the Internet. Examples include ".com," ".org", ".net" and ".edu." Generally speaking, it's better to get a .com domain, as this is where people will tend to look for you. If the .com you want is taken, Gigaom recommend you try a slight variation such as adding your city name into the URL, before you settle for a different TLD.



Files and Folders

The rest of the domain works in a similar way as the folders on your hard drive, so in this address:



"articles" is a folder on the server and "article1.html" is a file inside that folder. As with the domain names, it's important to keep your files and folders human-friendly. For example, a file name "important-factors-in-buying-a-shed" is preferable to "contentID=1228" – people will be able to see instantly whether the content is relevant to them, and the keywords will also help you rank higher in search engine results.



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