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Choosing a Domain Name

Choosing a Domain Name

Everyone knows what a domain name is. It is the www bit used by the internet to get to YOUR website, effectively the Billboard hanging up outside your site. . It is, in essence, a signpost to your business. Thus a good domain name can greatly enhance your business and, while a bad one won’t necessarily reflect badly on your business, it can greatly reduce the effectiveness of your advertising.
 
If you have an existing business, you must have a domain name which incorporates your business name. This is simply part of your product branding.
Choosing a domain name is an important part of the overall marketing process and should not be taken lightly. Make sure your domain name represents your company, product and image, and you'll be setting a great foundation for future sales.
The following should be considered in choosing domain names. While some may consider contradictory, they become more or less relevant depending one the purpose of the domain name:
  1. Brainstorm 5 Top Keywords
    When you first begin your domain name search, it helps to have 5 terms or phrases in mind that best describe the domain you're seeking. Once you have this list, you can start to pair them or add prefixes & suffixes to create good domain ideas. For example, if you're launching a mortgage related domain, you might start with words like "mortgage, finance, home equity, interest rate, house payment" then play around until you can find a good match. There is software available to helpyou find words people are searching for.
2.     Make the Domain Unique
Having your website confused with a popular site already owned by someone else is a recipe for disaster. Thus, don’t choose domains that are simply the plural, hyphenated or misspelled version of an already established domain. Who has heard of Flickr – a site for uploading and sharing photos? Type in flicker.com and you get something else completely.



3.     Only Choose Dot-Com Available Domains
If you're not concerned with type-in traffic, branding or name recognition, you don't need to worry about this. However, if you're at all serious about building a successful website over the long-term, you should be worried about all of these elements, and while directing traffic to a .net or .org is fine, owning and redirecting  the .com is critical. Most people who use the web still make the automatic assumption that .com is all that's out there – don't make the mistake of locking out or losing traffic to these folks. However, if you are a bricks and mortar business with a restricted geographic clientele, having .com.au is most likely enough if you cannot get the .com – which you should also get if you can.
4.     Make it Easy to Type
If a domain name requires considerable attention to type correctly, due to spelling, length or the use of un-memorable words or sounds, you've lost a good portion of your branding and marketing value.
5.     Make it Easy to Remember
Remember that word-of-mouth and dominance marketing (where your domain consistently comes up for industry-related searches) both rely on the ease with which the domain can be called to mind. You don't want to be the company with the terrific website that no one can ever remember to tell their friends about because they can't remember the domain name.
6.     Keep the Name as Short as Possible
Short names are easy to type and easy to remember. They also fit better on business cards and other offline media.
7.     Create and Fulfill Expectations
When someone hears about your domain name for the first time, they should be able to instantly and accurately guess at the type of content that might be found there. That's why domain names like Hotmail.com, CareerBuilder.com, AutoTrader.com and WebMD.com are great. Domains like Monster.com, Amazon.com and ebay.com required far more branding because of their un-intuitive names.  This takes time and money.
8.     Avoid Copyright Infringement
This is a mistake that isn't made too often, but can kill a great domain and a great company when it does. To be sure you're not infringing on anyone's copyright with your site's name, search before you buy. In Australia, business names can be searched on the ASIC website.
9.     Set Yourself Apart with a Brand
Using a unique moniker is a great way to build additional value with your domain name. A "brand" is more than just a combination of words, which is why names like mortgageforyourhome.com or shoesandboots.com aren't as compelling as branded names like bankrate.com or lendingtree.com.
10. Reject Hyphens and Numbers
Both hyphens and numbers make it hard to give your domain name verbally and falls down on being easy to remember or type. Don’t use spelled-out or roman numerals in domains, as both can be confusing and mistaken for the other. Unless, of course, that is your company name eg 3.
11. Don't Follow the Latest Trends
Website names that rely on odd mis-spellings, multiple hyphens, or uninspiring short adjectives (like "topshoex," "best…x," "hot…x") aren't always the best choice. This isn't a hard and fast rule, but in the world of naming conventions in general, if everyone else is doing it, that doesn't mean it's a surefire strategy. Just look at all the people who named their businesses "AAA… x" over the last 50 years to be first in the phone book; how many Fortune 2000's are named "AAA company?"
12. Choose a domain name for your business AND for your product.
Multiple domain names. For example, if your business is ABC Corporation and your product is called Maximize Your Sales, then get a domain name called www.ABCCorporation.com and www.MaximizeYourSales.com. You can have both of these domain names pointing to different pages of your web site. This way, customers who only know you by your product name can find you easily by typing in the NameOfYourProduct.com, and those who know you by your corporate name can find you easily by typing YourCorporation.com. (Hint: If you are an individual with a small business, you should register your personal name also).
13. Get product domain names with dashes in them.
In the previous example, we used the company and product domain names. Now, go out and purchase www.ABC-corporation.com and www.Maximize-Your-Sales.com. Why should you do this? Two reasons, really: The first is aesthetic appeal. Wouldn’t you agree that it’s easier to read the long domain names with the dashes in them? However, it is much easier to type a name into your browser without the dashes, and that makes it easier on your customers, which is why you purchased the domain name without the dashes. Additionally, domain names with dashes sometimes rank a bit higher in the search engines. A higher ranking in the search engines will drive more customers to your web site. Search engine algorithms are ever changing, but buying multiple domains and pointing each one of them to a specific, product-related page on your main site can ultimately help you make more sales in the future. Be sure not to point multiple domains at the same page, though — that will get you dropped from most search engines.
14.  Purchase domains that are similar in spelling to yours.
Every day, someone misspells a word. Inevitably, they will still land on someone's web page. Why not yours? Using the example above, you might want to purchase www.abccorperation.com and www.maximiseyoursales.com just to be safe. It's easy to reroute these names to your main web page after you own them.
15.  Use a top keyword in your domain name.
Let’s use another example to illustrate: Suppose you are selling garden tools. Not just any garden tools, you sell low cost, high quality garden tools. The name of your company is Garden Tool World. Using the tips above, you will purchase the domain names for your company. But what about your product? The key here is to look for names for your product domain that people will be searching for. When a potential customer goes to a search engine, will they look for “low cost high quality garden tools”? Or will they look for “Cheap Garden Tools”? With a little research, you can find out what people are looking for. Two tools used to see what people are looking for on the internet are: WordTracker and Overture’s Inventory. Simply type in the word or phrase you are looking for and you will see instantly which phrases are most popular. So if people are looking for “Cheap Garden Tools”, then your domain name might be: www.cheapgardentools.com.
 
If you've come up with a Domain Name after reading this article, check here if it's available:

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