How To Choose The Best Domain Name
Copyright 2004 Jeff Schuman
In this article we are going to look at the thought process you should go thru to choose your domain name.
First of all let's define what a domain name is.
A unique name that represents each computer on the Internet. (Some machines do have more than one domain name.) The DNS converts the domain name requested by an Internet user into an IP address.
The Domain Name System (DNS) helps users to find their way around the Internet. Every computer on the Internet has a unique address – just like a telephone number – which is a rather complicated string of numbers. It is called its "IP address" (IP stands for "Internet Protocol").
But it is hard to remember everyone's IP address. The DNS makes it easier by allowing a familiar string of letters (the "domain name") to be used instead of the arcane IP address. So instead of typing 126.96.36.199 , you can type www.team-schuman.com. It is a "mnemonic" device that makes addresses easier to remember.
So what makes the best Internet domain name?
First of all don't pick a name that has nothing to do with your Web site. If you are selling flowers don't pick a name like apples.com. Picking an oddball name makes no sense and it will just confuse your audience.
Don't make your new domain name too long. The longer it is the harder it becomes to remember. Can you remember myflowers.com or lookatmyflowerswebsite.com?
Short names are not the way to go either. It is to your benefit to try and buy a domain name that has a few keywords that relate to the topic of you Web site when possible.
Keyword placement when choosing your domain name is helpful as your site develops a higher placement with the search engines. Having the name jeffsflowers.com will do better with a search engine than jeffssite.com. With jeffsflowers.com you know I have a flower website where with jeffssite.com you don't know what kind of Web site I have.
When registering your domain name in some cases you will need to determine if you want to use hyphens in the name itself. Personally I have found this to be a great way to get a domain name that otherwise my not be available. The domain name myflowers.com might already be taken whereas the name my-flowers.com might be available.
Everything I have read says try to get a .com domain name first before going to a .net or .org etc. As more and more domain names are taken this becomes harder to do and I think you are better off getting a keyword rich domain name like my-flowers.org than you are to buy a .com domain name like jeffssite.com.
Is buying a cheap domain name a bad idea? Absolutely not. I do it all of the time. I get all of my domain names here: http://www.godaddy.com
Then I transfer them to my hosting company here: http://www.team-schuman.com/host4profit.
I can buy a domain name for less than $10 from Godaddy.com and transfer it for free to Host4Profit. This saves me $20 on buying it from the hosting company itself. A domain name is a domain name and you might as well save a little money where you can.
Finding out what names are available is very easy to do. Let's use Godaddy.com as an example.
1. Go here: http://www.godaddy.com
2. Click on the icon for Domain Names
3. Enter a domain name and see if it is available
4. They will come back with a list of available names
5. Decide what one you want and buy it
One last thing to consider. Protect your name by registering multiple extensions (.net, .org, etc.) This deters people from copying your name. For example, if you own my-flowers.com you can also register my-flowers.net and any other extension that's available. As you build up traffic to your site if someone types in an version other than the .com version you can forward it to your .com site and not lose any traffic.
In closing it is important to spend a little time when choosing the best domain name for your website. Try and get some keywords in your domain name. Don't stop at choosing just a .com version and save a little money by buying a cheap domain name whenever possible as long as it still contains some keywords.