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8 Tips for Choosing a Domain Name

by: David Cooper

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If you're just starting out on the Internet, choosing a domain name is one ofthe first major decisions you will have to make. I won't say that choosing aname for your site will determine the overall success or failure of your onlinebusiness. It will, however, affect almost every aspect of your business. Findinga good domain name requires extensive planning.

I would like to offer some tips for successfully choosing a domain name:

1) Use the .COM extension. This is still the number one choice for themajority of online businesses. While, .NET,.ORG,.INFO,.BIZ, and .US are viablealternatives they are not as widely recognized as .COM. The .COM extension willimmediately give you and your business more credibility. Also, because we arecreatures of habit many people automatically include .COM when typing in almostany web address, so why not capitalize on human nature?

2) Keep it Short. Whenever possible your domain name should not be longerthan 13-15 characters, numbers, or hyphens. It is much more difficult for theaverage person to remember longer variations of a web address.

3) Make it Sticky. You want your domain name to be easy to remember. Make itstick out in people's minds. Be creative. Be Unique.

4) Minimize Confusion. You should never lose a prospective customer becausethey misspelled your domain name, or they used the wrong extension. If you canafford it, register other variations of your domain name and have them redirectto your main site.

5) Include Keywords in Your Domain Name. Try to include at least 1 and ifpossible 2 keywords in your domain name. Many of the experts believe this canhelp with the way some of the search engines index and rank your site.

6) Be Descriptive. Your domain name should have something to do with yourbusiness. Make it descriptive of your site, your product offerings, or yourservice.

7) Search for Deleted Domain Names. Domain names that were once registeredbut have expired turn up every day. With some research you might be able to findone of these names that would be a good fit for your business. You can searchfor deleted domains at http://www.deleteddomains.com

8) Check for Trademarks. You should do this before registering your domainname. Search as many existing trademarks as possible and look for possibleconflicts. Obviously you want to choose a name that is unlikely to cause you anylegal problems. Trademark research can be done at the following sites:

U.S Patent and Trademark Office - http://www.uspto.gov

Thomas Register - http://www.thomasregister.com

The Trademark Association - http://www.inta.org

Nameprotect - http://www.nameprotect.com

If you need help with researching your domain names try the followingwebsites:

1)Nameboy - http://www.nameboy.com

2) GoDaddy - http://www.godaddy.com

Both Nameboy and GoDaddy are well-known registrars and will allow you tosearch for and register domain names.

You can register a domain name today for less than it costs for a nice lunch.There is really no reason not to put forth the effort and money to register adomain name that you can begin building your online presence with.

Your domain name is your first chance to build credibility with yourvisitors. Keep in mind that you never get a second chance to make a great firstimpression.

Remember, choosing your domain name is one of the most important first stepsyou will take in building your online presence. Make it a step forward. HappyHunting!

About The Author

David Cooper is the editor of the 1Source-WebMarketing Newsletter. Davidspecializes in helping people with their internet marketing efforts by offeringreal world tips and strategies. http://www.1source-webmarketing.com

Choosing Domain Names for Professional Sites: Six Guidelines

by: Syd Johnson

A professional or business site is one where the primary purpose of the siteis to facilitate business transactions. You can sell items directly online orexclusively offline, but the result is the same. You want customers to buyproducts and/or service directly from you.

To create a domain name for this type of website here are a few guidelines:

  1. Shorter is better
  2. Make the name easy to pronounce
  3. Think long term
  4. Stick to Categories and Topics
  5. Do a trademark search
  6. Always have a tag line

Shorter is better

If you want to make real money online, try to keep your domain name as shortas possible. In the online world, the choices of where to shop and getinformation is overwhelming. A shorter name will instantly be memorable. It isalways easier to remember short words and phrases. A shorter name is good forword of mouth advertising online and offline. Customers can easily remember thethe URL and therefore they’re more likely to pass it on and return to thewebsite. The name will also stand out when it is printed on brochures, businesscards and other business collateral. Liz, Dick, Kate, Feds are all examples ofour incessant need to reduce every term in the English language to threesyllables or less.

Easy to Pronounce

If you want a short name, you must be very creative. To be creative andstrategic make sure that your domain name is easy to pronounce. It is perfectlyacceptable to create a name from scratch, but it must sound like a real wordwhen you try to say out loud. Any three or four syllable term will do a long asit easily rolls off the tongue. If you are at a loss for words, try writing adescription of your product or service on paper.

This is a very easy way to come up with those little words that you can usewithout losing the meaning of what you’re trying to say. You can also use adictionary and a thesaurus to come up with additional words. You can also choosea longer word but shorten it or use acronyms only. When you decide on a domainname, say it out loud a few times. If it doesn’t sound right, go back to thedictionary and try again.

Think long term

You want a domain name that will last a very long time. If you pick a namethat is a slang term or too cutesy, you could find yourself looking for a newname in a year or two. This is not the best way to proceed. Once you build acertain level of online success, the traffic will follow the domain name. Youdon’t want to mess with your brand and your online reputation with redirects and‘we have moved’ notices. Online customer will buy, but only if your site makesit convenient for them to do so. If you don’t see yourself using the same domainname three to four years from now, get a new name before you set up yourwebsite.

Trademark Searches

Do a trademark search. If you build up your online business and domain name,you don’t want to find a court order ordering you to give it up because itbelongs to another company. Remember, the traffic and therefore your sales willfollow the domain name to the new company.

To do a quick trademark search go to the United States Patent and TrademarkOffice (http://www.uspto.gov) for domestic searches and the InternationalTrademark Association (http://www.inta.org) for international searches. If yourname is cleared, then consider getting a trademark to protect your business.

Tag line

Tag lines are the work horses of the marketing industry. An interesting,professional tag line can bring you more word of mouth advertising than you canever buy from a search engine company. It will bring your name into randomconversations in newsgroups, newsletters and casual conversations. This can helpyou save money on paid advertising and create the ultimate viral marketingcampaign without very little effort.

Keep these six tips handy to brand your domain name and bring in more sitetraffic.

About The Author

Syd Johnson is the Executive Editor of RapidLingo.com

What is a domain name and why would I want one?

by: Ewan Bain

In this article we will cover the basics of what a domain name is, how theywork and why you need to have at least one. I am going to try and avoidcomplicated computer terms and stick to explanations that should be easilyunderstood by someone without a computer science degree.

What is a Domain Name? Before we can go into what a domain name is I'm goingto tell you why we need them as the answers compliment each other. The Internetis just a really big collection of connected computers (a network). For thepurpose of explaining domain names you can think of the Internet a bit like thephone system and just like the phone system every computer on the Internet hasit's own phone number except an Internet phone number is called an IP addresses.This address is made up of up to 12 digits in the form 123.123.123.123,computers use these IP addresses to send information to each other over theInternet.

When the Internet was first created it quickly became clear that these IPaddresses were not easy to remember and another method was need to make theseaddresses more human friendly. The solution to this was the Domain Name System(DNS). Basically the DNS is a really really big phone book for computers. Whenyou type a web site address into your web browser it checks the DNS for thatwebsite name and finds the IP address. Once it has the IP address it can thensend a message to that computer and ask it for the web page you wanted.

Ok so you know a domain name is part of a web site address but which part?Lets look at a website address so we can identify and discuss what bit of it isa domain name.


http://www.itxcel.com/index.html

The above address is the home page of the itXcel web site. It can be splitinto 3 main parts. The first part is http:// this just tells your web browserwhat kind of information it is going to get and how to get it. The last part is/index.html this is name of the files on the remote computer that you want yourbrowser to get. The bit in the middle www.itxcel.com is a domain name. This is the name that yourcomputer sends to the DNS to get back the IP address.

So you know what a domain name is and that there is a phone book called theDNS to change your easy to remember domain name into an IP address that youcomputer can understand. The Internet phone book (DNS) is special in thateveryone on the Internet needs to be able to use it. This makes the DNS veryvery big (100+ million addresses big). Due to the size of this phone book itneeded to have a carefully organised and managed structure.

Domain names themselves are split into different levels like a hierarchy. TheDNS system uses this hierarchy to search the DNS for the IP address of thedomain name it is trying to find. The last bit of a domain, in the previousexample the com part is called the top level domain. There are a large selectionof top level domains like com, net, org and info. There are also very similarendings called country level domains like uk and de. Each of the top level andcountry level domains are managed by a different organization, sometimes theseare companies or non profit organizations and sometimes governments. In thedomain business these organisations are referred to as the registries. Eachregistry looks after it's own part of the domain name system.

If you decide you want to use a domain name in the top level domain com, likemycompany.com you would have tohave this name assigned by the registry that manages that top level domain (for.com a US company called VeriSign). The process of being assigned a domain nameis called domain registration.

Domain registration is more like a lease than a purchase. You are renting thesecond level domain (the mycompany bit) from Verisign for a specific amount oftime normally between 1 and 10 years at a time. Most of the organizations thatallow you to register a second level domain charge a fee for each year that youregister the domain for. With almost all domain names you are also given theoption to renew your registration (lease) when it is close to running out(expiring).

Once you have registered a second level domain you are free to create as manythird level domains (sometimes called sub domains) as you like. In our previousexample the www is a sub domain of itxcel.com

Most of the registries that manage these top level domain names do not allowindividuals or businesses to register domains directly with them. To register adomain you need to use a company like itXcel. We act as a registrar and send allthe required information and the registration fee to the registry. Registrarsare useful as they hide the differences that exist in each of the registriesfrom the customer and provide a simple step by step process for registering adomain. A registrar also allows you to manage and track all your domains fromone place rather than having to deal with a different company for each top leveldomain.

OK so I know what a domain name is, Why do need one? Can you image what anightmare it would be if you had an email address like myname@123.246.128.255 ora web site address http://123.246.128.255/. These addresses are possible but notvery easy to remember. Now if you register a domain name you could create anemail address like myname@mycompany.com and a web siteaddress like http://mycompany.comThese are much easier to remember and look 100 times more professional.

One of the important points about registering a domain is that once done youhave an exclusive right to use that domain for as long as you keep the domainregistered in your name. If you do not renew a domain at the end of it'sregistration period it will again become available for registration by someoneelse. For this reason even if you don't want or need a web site at the moment,it's still a good idea to register a domain as soon as possible. Just imagine ifyour competition registered the domain name of your company or product. Althoughthere is a process in place to retrieve these domain it can be long andcomplicated. It is definitely simpler to spend a little money up front to secureyour chosen domain names.

To find out what domains are available and to quickly and cheaply registerthem visit http://www.itxcel.comnow and enter your desired name in the domain search box.

About The Author

Ewan Bain is the general manager at itXcel Internet Limited - Based in the UKitXcel provide Internet services, including domain name registration and website hosting to small to medium sized businesses and home users. For moreinformation visit Our Website.