Do you need a domain name? If you have an online presence such as a personal website or a blog do you really need a domain name or will using a domain belonging to someone else be OK?
Domain names help to establish your online presence. Having a domain name shows people that you are serious about your website. If you own your own domain name then nobody can take away your hard work in building up your website.
Domain names are not as expensive as they once were so it does not cost much to buy one. However, if you are planning to launch many websites then the cost of buying domains can become a significant factor in your business plan.
Domain names help to establish your brand. Sites such as Amazon, Google and eBay spent millions establishing a brand. If you do not have a budget big enough to do this then choosing a name that is related to your site and its purpose is recommended.
Domain names are used by the search engines to rank your site. Having a domain name which says what your site is about helps to get your site noticed and remembered. If you use words in your domain name which tell people what your site is about then it makes it easier for people to find your site using a search engine. These words are called "key words" and are the things that people type into a search engine when they are looking for a product or service.
On the other hand, having a domain name is not always necessary. Maybe you just blog for fun or use a social networking site to update your friends and family about what you are doing and to keep in touch with them. So perhaps a domain name of your own is not necessary.
Even if you have your own hosting account a domain name is not strictly necessary. A domain name simply translates into an IP address which can be used to reach your site instead, providing you have a dedicated IP address. While this works OK, IP addresses are very hard to remember for humans, which is why names are used.
A third alternative is to buy one domain name and then use sub domains for each of your sites. This means you own the domain so nobody can delete your site. It also means that costs for multiple sites are significantly reduced. This is a great solution and helps to group all of your sites together under one main domain. Sites such a Blogger do this and it is a very effective solution.
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