Choosing A Domain
Intro To Domain Names
Each domain name consists of two parts - the Mid Level
Domain (MLD), and the Top Level Domain (TLD). The Mid Level
Domain is the Ford in Ford.com, the Concrete-Home in Concrete-Home.com.
This part of the domain name can consist of up to 63 characters
in .com, .net, or .org domains. Only letters, numbers, or
hyphens are permitted; no underbars, exclamation marks or
periods. The Top Level Domain refers to the .com, .net,
or .org part of the web address. There are also country
code Top Level Domains (ccTLD's) such as .ca for Canada,
.fr for France, or .us for the United States. In most cases,
you will need to reside in that particular country if you
wish to purchase a ccTLD.
Choosing The Right Domain Name
Choosing the right domain name can be critical to the
success of a website. Most Internet users remember websites
by their domain names; your domain name can also affect
the anchor text of inbound links; and your ranking in search
engines. Let's take a few minutes to discuss the issues
you must consider when choosing a domain.
Keyword or Branding?
Many of the most successful sites do not use keyword domains.
These online businesses have chosen to go with a completely
original domain, and brand it. A few examples are Yahoo!,
Google, Amazon, Monster, and eBay. It's not that these large
corporations don't know about search engine optimization;
it's just that they are putting more emphasis on creating
a brand name around their business.
A keyword domain is a domain chosen to take advantage of
search engine traffic. By choosing a domain that matches
a keyword search, we are able to rank higher for targeted
keywords and thereby benefit from added traffic and more
potential for sales. For example, if you were a Las Vegas
realtor, you might want to target the search phrase Las
Vegas Realty by choosing the domain Las-Vegas-Realty.com.
Looking through the Las Vegas yellow pages, many real estate
agents have websites, but most do not target any specific
keywords. It appears most realtors are simply naming websites
after themselves; e.g., our fictitious friend, John Doe,
is a real estate agent with Acme Realty; he chose john-acme.com.
I don't expect he will be benefiting from a lot of free
search engine traffic.
Whether you choose a brandable domain or a keyword domain
is a choice you must make, and a choice you should make
in accordance with your business plan. If you have a large
offline advertising budget and the budget necessary to brand
your organization, I'd recommend a brandable domain. If,
on the other hand, you're working on a shoe-string budget,
choose a keyword domain and let the search engines bring
the customers to you. You might want to read up on the benefits
of keyword domains in this article entitled Keyword Domains for SEO.
Seven Quick Tips
1. Don't include a specific location, unless you serve
only that location. Even if you do ship nationwide, you
may never get the chance to let the consumer know that;
consumers from other areas are not likely to click through
from search engines if your domain includes a location.
2. Cut to the chase, keep it simple. The shorter the better.
It's easier to remember.
3. Two minds are better than one. Make a visit to a webmaster
forum and ask for suggestions. You'd be surprised by some
of the great suggestions that you may find in a webmaster
4. Buy your domain from 123
Cheap Domains. 123CheapDomains is owned by Jonathan Lee, a great guy whose staff provides great customer service.
5. Buy the variations. If you go buy BlueFind.com, why
not also pick up BlueFind.net and other variation to protect
6. Don't pay the big bucks. Some domains have sold for
millions - don't do it. Those dollars are more effectively
spent building up a brand and advertising your products
7. Keep it legit. Try to avoid .ws, .tv, .biz, etc. Most
respect is given to .com, .net, or .org domains.
Discuss this article in the Webmaster Forums.