How to choose a great domain name
Creating a successful Internet Business Website is quicker and easier than ever with our Content Managament System. This allows you to create a web site and then update your Internet site as often as you like and from wherever you like.
However, this alone is not enough.
Choosing your domain name is a vital step in getting your business on-line and creating a professional business Internet website.
It is really simple with AB Publish. We perform all the registration and necessary technical configuration.
With us, your domain name just works.
What is a domain name?
Put simply, a domain name is what you type into your browser (FireFox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari…) and can be considered as an address pointing to a particular website. For example, www.abpublish.co.uk
All domain names are made up of one of more parts or labels.
These are separated by dots, such as www.wikipedia.org and are read from right to left:
The part on the far right can be thought of as the extension.
This describes the top level domain; in our example of www.wikipedia.org the top level domain is org.
The next part can be thought of as the domain name and this is where you need to be inventive.
In our example the domain name is wikipedia which is a great choice because it instantly conveys a great deal of information
('wiki' meaning an Internet Website where users can create and modify the pages and contents by a simple interface and 'pedia' which is related to learning and comes from the Greek pais, paidos: the upbringing of a child)
There is a hierarchy associated with this domain name, descending from right to left. Each part separated by a dot specifies a subdivision or subdomain of the domain to the right. Some of the most well-known examples are linked to google:
All 3 examples maps, video and news are subdomains of google.com, and google is itself a subdomain of the com domain
What does this mean to me?
In deciding upon your great domain name, you have 2 basic decisions to take:
- Choice of extension such as com, org, co.uk, biz ... (technically the top level domain)
- Choice of domain name abpublish, google, wikipedia ... (technically the subdomain of the top level domain)
The choice of the extension will instantly “classify” you and so will position your business.
A co.uk extension instantly portrays an organisation as being with the United Kingdom.
An org extension is derived from organisation and originally intended for non-profit or non-commercial organisations.
com extensions are derived from commercial and the original purpose was for any company or business of a general commercial character.
(it is the most popular and widely used extension today)
Your choice of extension is usually straight-forward.
The choice of your domain name is where you have to be more inventive.
A great domain name will do one or more of two things:
It will contain the important keywords representing your activity
The advantage of this approach is that the search engines such as Google, Bling, Yahoo … will place special emphasis on these keywords in relation to your site. This may be a good strategy to follow if there is a lot of competition in your sector and if being well positioned on these keywords is a vital part to the success of your business.
Another advantage is that visitors to your Internet website will know your area of business by your orgnaisation simply by looking at your domain name. Some examples are:
It will represent the name of your organisation
There is a tendency to focus on search engine optimization and so the choice of the domain name is often determined by this approach. However lots of Internet users who are searching for your business will instinctively enter the name of your organisation. If you do not own and use these domain names, you risk missing out on these visitors.
Also, it can be a useful part of your search engine optimization strategy. If there is little or no competition for the name of your business organisation, then by placing it in your domain name, you will have a great chance of appearing at the top of the lists for searches. Examples are:
The holy grail of domain names
The ideal way to ensure you have a great domain name is by combining both approaches.
For example, used.mercedes-benz.co.uk tells us 3 things:
- the business is geographically located in the United Kingdon
- the name of the products being offered on the Internet site are Mercedes-Benz cars
- it specialises in used Mercedes-Benz cars.
Another example is magicshop.magictricks.com which includes the organisations's name magictricks (and which incidentally instantly identifies the business sector) and the fact that it is a commercial shop.
What do I do next?
Once you have determined if your great domain name will contain the important keywords used by search engines or if it will contain the actual name of your business or organisation, there are certain rules to follow in order to have the best chance of a great domain name.
Keep the name short
Not only are there technical limits (the full domain name may not exceed a total length of 253 characters) but studies show long domain names are harder to remember and are more likely to be entered erroneously. Imagine the number of missed sales opportunities if people cannot access your website.
A great domain name contains two or three words maximum
If you really want to exceed this limit, another fantastic approach is to use a phrase or slogan.
This helps the name stick in the mind and in addition will reduce the probability of the domain name being entered incorrectly.
Follow the Internet trends
In general, if your domain name contains 2 words then separate them by hyphens (-)
If your domain name is longer, then run all the words together
Do not use unusual symbols in your domain name which may put off some Internet visitors
Check the competition
Once you have your great domain name, see if it is already registered with other extensions.
For example, if greatdomainname.co.uk is free, it is possible that greatdomainname.com is already registered.
The danger here is that your visitors may make a mistake and enter the domain name with a com and so land up at the competition.
See what your domain looks like written in a browser
Before registering your great domain name, type it into the address bar of any browser.
Check it represents the image you wish to give of your organisation and business activity.
Check that there is no rude, comical or negative message.
Some real life examples of domain names that turned out to be not so great are:
- a free to use database of artists and agent - www.whorepresents.com
- information on how to go to Lake Tahoe - www.gotahoe.com
- a forum where experts offer advice - www.expertsexchange.com
(this has since been changed to www.experts-exchange.com)
- a free teaching resource for UK teachers - www.teacherstalk.co.uk
- ...and my favourite number one funny domain name is for an on-line shop selling pens - www.penisland.net
Concluding thoughts on choosing your great domain name
Choosing the best ever domain name for your business is an important part of the process in getting your business onto the Internet.
It should not be neglected or taken lightly, and needs to be carefully thought through.
Once you have decided on your great domain name it is used as a cornerstone for your Internet site.
It is also used from Day 1 as an integral part of the referencing and search engine optimization.
Once this has started, it will be hard to separate your business from it, so take as much time as you can before you start in order to avoid any regrets.
If you have any questions or need any advice concerning the choice of your great domain name, please contact me here
Tue 1 March 2011 08:58:00