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How to Choose the Right Domain Name for your Website?

How to Choose the Right Domain Name for your Website?

I would have to disagree with the comment made by some web developers that all the good domain names are taken, or that search engine optimization, or SEO, depends heavily on the www. name you select. I do agree that a large number of choice domain names are no longer available; however, the selection of a suitable www. domain for your website or small business is possible if you remain flexible.

The real value in the name you choose from a search perspective is how easy it is to spell and remember. Of the two types of visitors to your site, the human visitors and search engines, the ability of a person to remember your domain name and spell it correctly to pass it on to others outweighs any SEO value. Search engines are robots and don't care. Using words like "the greatest", "the best", or other exaggerated terms in your domain name is thought by some to be a disadvantage and penalized by search engines.

domain name best choiceSearch algorithms change often and likewise that theory, and although you may not be penalized for using such words, consider the reaction of your human visitors. They may not stick around if they feel you boast without the content to back it up. For a serious small business commercial enterprise, my advice is avoiding adjectives in the domain name entirely.In some cases new clients approach me to redesign an existing website, and it surprises me that some of the basics are overlooked.

For example, a commercial enterprise in business for profit should not select a dot ORG domain simply because the dot COM was taken. This was the case from a conversation with a client interested in a site makeover. Their ORG version was online for two years with little or no backlinks or serious indexing from search engines. The mindset of getting one particular name should be reconsidered especially if it's your first online venture.

Here's a breakdown of the most desirable domain extensions and the usual purpose of each:

  • .COM - Commercial for profit enterprise
  • .INFO - Information only related website
  • .NET - Companies providing internet services
  • .ORG - Non-profit organizations

Certainly there are many more like BIZ, US, WS, and others which are all reasonable choices, but for your commercial small business my recommendation is always acquire a www dot COM domain name. The client mentioned earlier did not realize a dot ORG was intended for a non-commercial enterprise, and they decided the poor website SEO performance was something that justified getting a new dot COM. We easily found an available www domain using their company initials and one key word about their target market which is medical. Despite my advice that they keep the existing site and simply change the theme, they decided to just let it go when it expired.

My commercial site choice was my first and last name, and very unique at that. Using your name is okay, and expected if you're famous. There is, however, little or no value as far as keywords in my www domain to attract visitors, so is that a mistake for search engine optimization? Certainly not. The fact that I have collected more than 100 screenshots of generic phrases relative to my business that made Google page one is evidence the content, not the domain, is keyHelpful advice when choosing a new dot COM small business website domain name

Start out with a list of about 10 domain names that you would like to have. Next, make a list of market related single word terms about what you do and the customer base you service. If your market is localized, consider geographical terms that relate to where you sell or provide services. Spend 30 minutes brainstorming to come up with the initial names and additional lists of single word terms. You may want another list of significant initials.Next, search for "Whois" in Google to find free online services that keep a database of available domain names, and follow the link in the search results.

Each database has a search box which allows you to input the domain name and extension. Begin with your first choice and work down the list and keep track of available names for review later. It may not be easy, so try combinations of the key terms as you continue to search, and keep in mind you want a domain name that is easy to spell and remember. By the time you're done you should have a half dozen or more available names, so take your time and select the best one, and then register the name immediately.

Tip:

The domain name may not be significant for search engine optimization, but the length of your registration can be. My advice is registering domains for 2 years minimum, and 5 to 10 years if that's in your budget. Search engines consider that the length of your registration reflects your commitment to be online long term, so at today's prices 5 years is practical and should cost less than $50 USD. There's nothing wrong with getting the dot COM domain name you want, and then registering the other major extensions that are available for the same name.

If you are highly successful in your online venture, having the other extensions registered in your name prevents others from attempting to take advantage of your reputation by association. In conclusion, the concept that all the good domain names are taken is a myth. You may not get exactly what you want, but practical options are available with a little research and due diligence.

When and Why Should you Secure Multiple Domains?

There are many different reasons for purchasing multiple domain names, and each reason has its own set of benefits and uses.I have written quite extensively before about how to select the best domain name for your business. It is also a good idea to secure alternate versions of your primary domain name as a means to prevent competitors from trying to squeeze in on your name and branding efforts. Buying multiple domain names is a great strategy that can be used to capture additional type-in traffic, secure other branding avenues you may wish to pursue, or simply to prevent your competitors from securing them.

Type In Traffic

Many URLs are purchased simply to capture type in traffic. Type in traffic is when someone goes to the address bar of their web browser and types in keywords.com instead of performing a keyword search on a search engine. Securing domain names with a fair amount of type-in traffic can be a great boost to sales. If you sell software, your main URL might bewww.BuySoftware.com. To capture potential type-in traffic you might also secure and redirect the following:

  • BuySoftware.net
  • BuySoftware.org
  • BuySoftware.info 

Misspellings

It is always a good idea to secure all potential misspellings of your domain name. I recently did a talk radio show interview and at the end of the interview I provided listeners with my domain name. Unfortunately I did not take the time to actually spell it out. Upon realizing my error, I immediately went out and purchased multiple spellings of my URL to redirect to my main site.

This allowed me to capture all traffic from any listeners that may have had a different spelling of my site in mind, which increased my visitor rate from those who listened to the broadcast substantially.

Once you have chosen a good domain name for your site, the next step involves registering the name with an organization called ICANN through a domain name registrar. For example, if you choose a name like "mywebsite.com", you will have to contact a registrar, pay their registration fee that costs around $10 for that name. That will give you the right to the name for a whole year, and you will have to renew it annually for the same amount per year. Some web hosts will register it and pay for the name for free (commonly done by commercial web hosts), while others will do it for you but you'll have to pay for the registrar fees.

My personal preference is to register the name directly with a domain name registrar rather than through my web host. I've heard many stories, in the past, of less-than-honest web hosts that registered the domain under their own name, making them the owner of the domain rather than you. Registering with a domain name registrar allows you to make sure that you are registered as the owner, the administrative and technical contacts. Being the owner is vital if someone else places himself as the owner, he can always decide to charge you some exorbitant fee for the use of the name later, and there is little you can do. The various other contacts are less vital, but may still play major roles, depending on your registrar.

For example, for some registrars, the administrative contact's approval is required before a domain name is transferred out of a web host. If he/she cannot be contacted, the technical contact is used. Domain names are disappearing extremely fast. Many people will claim that all the good domain names are taken. I have my doubts about that, but it is probably true that most good domain names that are descriptive of products and services may have been taken already. (Depends on the Product) If you need a domain name for your website, I would suggest you act now, or you might face the frustration of having lost that name to someone else later. After all, $10 or less for a year's ownership of a thoughtfully chosen domain name is very cheap.

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