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How to choose a domain name for your website

What's in a domain name? Well, a lot and not much at the same time. Domain names are cheap and are being bought up by the thousands every day. It's always a good idea to get whatever domain name you want for your website as quick as you can before anyone else snatches it up. But how do you know what domain name to buy? You may want to consider the following things:

Choose something people will remember

Often times, people will hear your domain name, but they won't be near a computer until later. If your domain name isn't easy enough to remember that you can't recall it by the time you go to type it, you may have a problem.

This is the perfect segue for...

Choose something people will be able to spell

This is also the reason why you wouldn't want to name your business the "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Emporium of Delectable Accoutrements." Can you imagine someone attempting to type "supercalifragilisticexpialidocioues-emporium-of-delectable-accoutrements.com" in to their browser window? Yeah, try that some time. One of my clients, Nelson Sanderson, changed his domain name to "nelsonsanders.com" because he realized that enough people were misspelling his name to warrant the change. The object of the game is to keep it as simple as possible.

When you have the option, go for .com over any other ending

Do you know what the difference is between whitehouse.com and whitehouse.gov? If you don't know, please don't go to whitehouse.com because it's the largest pornography site on the internet. The reason why it's the biggest site is because people get confused when trying to visit the website for the White House (you know, the one with the President of the United States).  Because all government websites end with the .gov, people who don't know any better go to whitehouse.com thinking they'll find information about the presidency. Often times, if a search engine is trying to decide between two domains to rank higher, example.com or example.net, the search engine will go with the one that ends in .com simply because it assumes that the site has been around longer and is therefore more relevant.

Choose something that describes what you do and possibly your location

What do I mean by this? Well, let's say you're the average Joe who sells doodads from your brick-and-mortar store "Joe's Doodads" in Atlanta. You might think the best domain to choose would be "joesdoodads.com" or "doodadsbyjoe.com" and while there's technically nothing wrong with either of those domain names, someone else with the domain name "doodadsinatlanta.com" or "atlantadoodads.com" will rank higher in search engines. Even though the domain name does not contain the name of the business, the fact that it has a term that people will search for lends to its rank in search engines. Think about the last time you searched online for a florist in your hometown; what terms did you search for? The idea is to include the words in the domain that you think a searcher my use to find you.

Register more than one domain name

Domain names are so cheap, you probably shouldn't worry too much about selecting one over another anyway.  Most businesses own tens, if not hundreds, of domain names. The reason for this is to cover as many of their bases as possible. If you own the domain name, "newyorklawyers.com" it would be wise to also own "newyorkcitylawyers.com" as well as the misspelled "newyorklayers.com" and have all 3 point to the same place. This way, if your visitors type in the wrong address or misspell it, they still end up at the right place.

Some places where you can register your domain name:

www.GoDaddy.com

1&1 Internet, Inc.

Register.com

www.redcodehost.com

Tyler Small - Friday, December 23, 2011

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