Web Success Series Number 2 – Choosing Your Domain Name

A good hosting provider recognizes that our success depends on your success so, as part of their core corporate culture, they provide all the tools you need to build, launch and manage a successful web-based business – including the information you need to do it RIGHT!So welcome to the second in a series of “how-to” articles on topics related to web success. Well keep it simple, eliminate the techno-babble and provide, not only the tools, but the know-how to achieve web success.Your success is our success.#1 Choosing A Domain Name Your domain name is your on-line address. Your full address will be http//www.your domainnamehere.com or.org or.edu or some other extension.You choose your domain name. In many cases, it’ll be the first business decision you’ll make so weigh the choice of domain name carefully. A good domain works for you. A bad one can doom your on-line venture the day you register it.Some dos and don’ts about selection.1. First, it costs a few bucks to register a domain name.Your domain and information about ownership of that domain will be dutifully registered. Your ownership information will appear in a directory called Whois, an index of domain names that is public information. Anybody can find out who or what business entity owns a given domain.Consider this when you enter personal information while filling out your registration. You may want to use a PO box instead of your street address or register the name in your company name rather than your personal name.In any case, it costs a few bucks to register a domain name and the name has to be re-reregistered annually.Some web hosts register your name free for the first year and send reminders that your domain is up for re-registration so pay the fee. Either way, (1) the few bucks it costs to register a domain makes the web available to any one with a couple of dollars and (2) don’t forget to re-register your domain name each year. It’s possible (easy) for domain hounds to snag a domain that has expired and take over your client base simply because you forgot to re-register. So, re-register.2. All the good domain names have been taken.If you mean names like lawyers.com, cars.com and firstaidsupplies.com, yes, someone owns the rights to those domains – domains that was probably registered 15 years ago before most businesses even knew what a domain was.A lot of site owners have turned to made up words for domains. Examples? ning.com, zoho.com and yuuguu.com. They’re catchy, though, and that makes them easy to remember.If you’re opening an on-line business (that’s why you’re reading this) use your imagination. Your name should be keyword dense, even if it’s long. Your name should tell people and search engine bots something about your websites so if “amazing chocolate delights.com” is taken try “really amazing chocolate delights.com” or “incrediblechocolatedelights.com.” Keep trying until you find a domain name that says something about your business.If you’re service provider – a local insurance agency or certified financial planner, choosing a name is simpler. Use your name and title: “DrJamesMillerMD.com,” “PeterHughsCFA.com” and so on. This is how people in your service will know you – Dr. James Miller or Peter Hughs. These are good, solid domain names – especially for businesses and individuals seeking local business using localized search.3. Skip the punctuation.You’re determined to have “amazingchocoloatedelights.com” as your domain name but it’s taken. So, clever you, try “amazing-chocolate-delights.com” with hyphens in between each word in the domain name. Don’t do it.Search engine users often forget these punctuation symbols and you end up sending visitors to amazingchocolcatedelights.com (without the hyphens) and losing a sale. Instead, come up with a domain name that’s easy to remember and doesn’t use any punctuation.4. Choose the right extension.You can be a.com, where com stands for company or commercial (depending on who you listen to). You can be a.org – usually indicating a not-for-profit or an advocacy group, though more and more professional service providers are using the.org extension.If you teach something, or sell materials to institutes of higher learning, go with a .edu extension – indicating an education or educational site. This is especially important for sites that provide continuing education units (CEUs) for professionals that require on-going education and training.For example, private detectives in some states must accumulate a certain number of CEUs each year to keep their licenses active. So, a web site that offers on-line courses (CEUs) for private detectives would be better off with an edu extension to clarify exactly what the site is about – education, as in “privatedetectiveeducation.edu.” Now that’s a domain name that’s keyword rich.5. Consider registering similar domain names.If you come up with a really good domain name, some people may try to piggyback on your cool domain name by registering similar domain names. You can protect yourself from this type of activity by registering similar sounding domain names and simply parking them on your server. No charge.6. Don’t be cute.Amazon.com is a well recognized name. Interesting that the name says nothing about what Amazon is or does but it sure is easy to remember.Check it out. Domain goofs register misspelled variations of Amazon to collect visitors who weren’t… ummm… paying attention. So they register Amozon, Amozan and variations hoping to get search engine users who enter misspelled domain names.You’re wasting your time and your money. Visitors will bounce once they realize they aren’t on Amazon and you don’t build a whole lot of trust and good will by taking advantage of the mistakes of search engine users.7. Take your time.Your domain name is that important.If you need some help, call your web host for some advice. Any good web host, like Green Host It will help you through the registration process. In fact, we might even recommend the name you ultimately choose.Think before you choose because once you choose your name, you’ll live with it for a long time. You’ll build your business around it. It’ll appear on business cards, invoices, TV ads – anything and everything to do with that business.So don’t rush because you THINK you have a good idea. Bounce your choice off of friends and family. Do they “get it?” Do they understand why you chose it? If so, it’s probably a good choice for a domain name. If they don’t, keep working on it.Before you do anything – before you develop a business model, a revenue model, a purpose of the site, before you establish your company’s core values and develop a tag line for the company, think long and hard about the best name for your new W3 enterprise.Choosing the right name can mean the difference between world wide web success and another web failure.What’s your choice in green web hosting?