When you're ready to launch your web site and you're trying to select a good domain name, there are many factors that need to be taken into consideration.
Select a Domain Name that Reflects Your Web Site
Above all else, your domain name should reflect what your web site is all about. For example, if your web site is about grooming a dog, you certainly wouldn't want to select a domain name like 'mybusinessname.com,' as this would have nothing to do with your web site's focus. You would want to select a domain name that tells the world what your web site is all about -- something like 'doggrooming.com.'
Select a Domain Name that Contains Your Web Site's Keywords
Another consideration of great importance are your keywords. Try to select a domain name that contains your most relevant keyword phrase, as some Search Engines place relevancy on them. A keyword phrase is two or more words that best describe your web page. If your web page is focusing on grooming a dog, your best keyword phrase will be "dog grooming."
Select a Domain Name that will be Easily Remembered
With millions of web sites accessible on the Internet, it is also very important to select a domain name that will be easily remembered. As in the 'doggrooming.com' example above, 'doggrooming.com' is very easily remembered, contains the most relevant keyword phrase and describes the web site in explicit detail. It is the 'perfect' domain name for this particular web site.
Select the Best Domain Extension
Another consideration of importance is the domain name extension. Although there are many new domain extensions available, dotcom is still the best choice. When typing in a web address, Internet users automatically want to type in a .com extension, as this is the extension that has been embedded into our brains from the start.
Avoid Using Numbers in Your Domain Name
Although you may be tempted to do so, avoid using numbers within your domain name. Including a number within your domain name can cause problems, as when you tell someone your web address, you will continually have to tell them it's a number and not the word. For example, if you selected a domain name like number1host.com, if you were to tell someone your web address, they may try to type it as 'numberonehost.com' instead of 'number1host.com.' This type of domain name would cause confusion.
Avoid using Dashes and Underscores in Your Domain Name
Although many people do it, don't make the same mistake I made when I first started out. Avoid using dashes, underscores or any other characters within your domain name that may cause confusion. When I registered my domain name, Web-Source.net, I actually wanted websource.com; however, it had already been registered. So, I settled for Web-Source.net. Now, when I tell someone my domain name, I have to say it like this: web dash source dot net.
Don't get me wrong, www.Web-Source.net is now a high traffic web site, but I can only imagine how much traffic I've lost over the years due to my domain name. I have received many emails over the years from visitors who had a hard time finding my site. They said they couldn't remember the domain name and kept wanting to type in websource.com.
Avoid using Abbreviations within Your Domain Name
Although well-known companies, such as IBM, can get away with using abbreviations within their domain name, most companies can't. As a rule, try to avoid using abbreviations or anything that will be difficult for your visitors to remember. Not only will this cause confusion, but it can also cause your potential visitors to make spelling mistakes when trying to type in your web address.
Avoid using Long Domain Names
Although you may now register long domain names, it's really not a good idea. I learned this lesson the hard way. I registered 'www.workfromhomebusinessguide.com' and the sad thing is ... I can't remember the domain name half the time. How can I expect my potential visitors to remember it? Try to keep your domain name as short as possible. The longer the domain name the harder it is to remember and the more apt your potential visitors are to make a typo when typing it into their browser.
Ensure Your Domain Name is Not a Trademark Infringement
Prior to registering a domain name, you may want to consider searching the Trademark Electronic Search System, http://www.uspto.gov/main/trademarks.htm to ensure your potential domain name isn't infringing on any trademarks.
Please don't take this point lightly, as trademark infringement could cost you your entire business. It is your responsibility to ensure that your potential domain name doesn't infringe on any registered trademarks, as the trademark laws that apply in the hard copy world also apply on the Internet. Any company that registers a trademark has the right to protect their trademark and has the right to notify you that your domain name is infringing upon their trademark.
When you're ready to begin, create a list of a dozen or more potential domain names, as chances are, your first choice will already be taken. With any luck, one of the domain names on your list will be available.
Take your time and select a quality domain name that will grow with your business. It will be well-worth your time and effort in the long run.
Copyright 2005 Shelley Lowery
About The Author
Shelley Lowery is the author of the acclaimed web design course, Web Design Mastery. http://www.webdesignmastery.com. Visit Web-Source.net to sign up for your complimentary subscription to Etips and receive a copy of Shelley's acclaimed ebooks, "Killer Internet Marketing Strategies" and "Work from Home: A Complete Guide..."