Choosing a domain is crucial to your business's online success. In this article you will learn about domains and domain extensions and get some tips on choosing a domain name for your website.


What is a domain?

And domain is the name of your website, for example inboundcph.dk. The domain is entered in the address bar of the internet browser and the user is then automatically redirected to your website. The domain consists of a domain name (inboundcph) and a domain extension (.dk). The latter is also called a top domain or a top level domain (TLD). Domains can consist of letters, numbers and hyphens.

Choosing a domain name

As a starting point, we recommend that the domain name:

  • is the name of your company
  • is short and easily recognizable
  • is easy to spell and easy to pronounce correctly
  • does not contain local letters (including æ, ø and å).

If your company name consists of two words (e.g. Super Cycles), it makes no SEO difference whether you choose a hyphenated name (super-cykler.dk) or a hyphenated name (supercykler.dk). We generally recommend domain names without hyphens, as this is a more natural way of writing for most users. Either way, you should buy both domain names and automatically redirect users from the wrong name to the name you have chosen to use.

There may be a slight advantage in choosing a domain name that includes a business-relevant keyword (for example, "bicycles" if you sell bicycles). However, in our view, the advantage does not outweigh the disadvantage of limiting your business to one product category, which may prove inappropriate in the future. For example, our own company name - InboundCPH - contains a similar geographical limitation, which is no longer appropriate.

Special characters in domains (aye)

If your company name contains æ, ø and å, the domain name should use "ae", "oe" and "aa" instead. The same applies to other local letters (ä, ö, ü, ñ, é, ç, etc.). This is partly because these letters can cause technical problems and partly because they cannot be used in e-mail addresses (the address kontakt@øl.dk is invalid).

You can also buy the domain with æ, ø and å and redirect any users who accidentally type æ, ø and å to the correct domain.

Domain extension

The domain extension is the last part of your domain, i.e. the combination of letters after the dot. You probably know domain extensions like .dk, .de, .com, .org and others, but there are actually more than 1,000 different domain extensions, including a number of more or less obscure extensions like .car, .fashion, .golf, .pizza, .restaurant and .shop.

Some domain extensions are intended for specific purposes. Examples include .edu (educational institutions) and .org (non-profit organisations). However, it is generally not a requirement that you use the domain extensions for the purpose for which they are intended. So you can own a .org domain even if you have a commercial business - at the risk of your audience interpreting your business as non-commercial.

In Denmark the top level domain .dk is administered by DK Hostmaster. DK Hostmaster takes care of all the administrative and practical work related to the domains. The actual purchase of a domain takes place at a so-called registrar (en hosting provider) - approved by DK Hostmaster - where you typically also buy a server space for your website.

The domain extension has a certain importance for search engine optimization (SEO), because it can give Google an indication of the website's country affiliation. But there are other ways to indicate this, and the suffix is therefore not essential. As a general rule, we recommend that you choose an extension that belongs to the country in which your target audience is located (.dk for Denmark).

Multinational websites can be split into several websites with local domain extensions (.dk, .se, .no, .uk etc.). Local domain extensions send a credible signal to your target audience, but also have the significant disadvantage that it is more expensive to work with several different websites rather than one, and that the SEO value is poorly distributed between the different websites.

Alternatively, a generic domain extension is used and language versions are placed in subdirectories (.com/dk/, .com/se/, etc.). The most common generic domain extension is .com. It is a good choice because everyone knows the extension and associates it with something worthwhile. Other extensions such as .net and .org can be used instead if the .com domain is taken.

Subdomains and subfolders

And subdomain is a standalone domain name that precedes your main domain separated by a period (e.g. nyheder.tv2.dk). A subfolder is a sub-section of your website that comes after your main domain separated by a slash (for example dr.dk/news/).

Both subdomains and subfolders can be used to organise content on your website. For example, some people place their blog on a subdomain (blog.ditwebsite.dk), but a blog can also be placed in a subdirectory (ditwebsite.dk/blog/). It is possible to have several subdirectories and subdomains, and often the two are combined (e.g. nyheder.tv2.dk/politics/).

Google treats subdomains very differently from subfolders. Subdomains are interpreted as a standalone website, and therefore the SEO value of your main domain is transferred to the subdomains only to a very limited extent. Subdirectories are interpreted as a subdivision of your domain and therefore some SEO value is inherited from the main domain to all subdirectories.

Subfolders are thus the best solution in the vast majority of cases. Please note that you still need to search optimization content in subfolders, even if they inherit SEO value, because each page on your website is to some extent individually rated by Google. You may want to read more in-depth about the benefits of subdomains and subdirectories.

Help for choosing a domain name

There are several sites that can provide inspiration and input when choosing a domain name. These include generating ideas from words you type in and displaying lists of expired domain names (i.e. domain names that have been used in the past but are no longer in use).

Expired domain names can have an SEO advantage as they have been in use in the past and therefore may have external links to them. The value of these links will be yours when you take the domain back into use - as long as you make sure that the links do not point to a dead page, but are redirected to an actual page on the domain. The website should also have the same subject matter as the website that was previously on the domain.

Sites that can provide input for domains include TheDomainRobot. It is a Danish initiative and therefore also works well for .dk domains. You can find many similar foreign sites by searching for 'domain generator' on Google.

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Mark Molgaard

Partner & Senior SEO Specialist

Se forfatter

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Do you need help with search engine optimisation (SEO), or are you considering whether it makes sense for your business to focus on SEO? Contact Henning Madsen for a no-obligation discussion about your SEO project.

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