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When getting started with a new online business one of the first things you need to do is choose a domain name. This step is much more important than you might realize. An appropriate and effective domain could decide your website’s fate.
Unfortunately many people will be so involved in the design and set-up of the website they will overlook the importance of selecting the proper domain name. Your domain name will be your website’s identity and it will also be the doorway for people to purchase your products and/or services.
The following checklist will guide you and help you keep in mind some of the things you need to consider when choosing your domain.
1. Keep It Short and Simple – Keeping your domain name short, simple and easy to remember will make it easier for people to get to your site. You want a domain that is easy to spell and type. Don’t use big fancy words or commonly misspelled words such as believe, amateur or collectible. You can find lists of the most commonly misspelled words and if they are in your domain, consider using a thesaurus to find an alternative.
2. Use Your Name – In my opinion, it is a good choice to use your name in your domain. This will be a binding agent for your website your business and you. If your last name is long and hard to spell, consider using your first name. This way if people do not remember your entire URL, they will be likely to remember your name and can still find you. I have had many people who did not remember my specific URL search for me by using my name.
3. Don’t Try to Be Cute and Clever – Cutesy and fun work with some things but it is not appropriate for your domain. Don’t use puns or a “clever” play on words. For example: Flickr. Using this trendy name probably sounded like a good idea at the time but they finally had to purchase the correct spelling domain flicker.com Doing this will just make your domain hard to remember and/or it will more than likely get typed incorrectly and you lose the traffic.
4. Hyphens and Numbers – There are actually a couple of advantages to using hyphens but in my opinion, the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. Hyphens actually make it easier for the search engines to distinguish your keywords. Hyphens could also make it possible for you to get the domain you want if the regular version is already taken. But, hyphens will more than likely cause you to lose traffic because people will not always realize your url contains hyphens. If your domain is beautiful jewelry.com and you tell people to check out your site, Beautiful Jewelry, you will lose traffic. It is easy to lose the hyphen when spreading the word about your site. And it will make it more complicated for people to remember. It’s the same with numbers. BeautifulJewelry1.com will be much less remembered and found then BeautifulJewelry.com
5. Make It Keyword Rich – You definitely want to do some keyword research and choose one or two of the most relevant keywords for your site. Using relevant keywords will help with the search engines but more importantly it will be much easier for people to find your site.
6. Stay Away from Slang – Using slang words for your domain is not a good idea for much the same reasons as using a trendy play on words. It is just too easy for people to forget or misspell your domain and end up somewhere else.
7. Match Your Domain to Your Website Name – If your website name is All Auto Parts and you choose the domain carparts.com you may lose traffic to whomever owns allautoparts.com. If your website name and domain match, people will be more likely to remember them than having to remember a different domain.
8. Beware of Copyrights – Never use a domain or part of that is already in use. Always check your choice at whois.net to see if anyone is using that domain and with copyright.gov to be sure you are not infringing on someone else’s copyright.
9. Don’t Use Word Strings – These types of domains are extremely hard to remember and making a mistake while typing them can be very easy. Don’t try to put everything you sell in your domain. For example: chairstablesbedssofasandmore.com I have seen domains like this and it is nearly impossible to remember everything so it just gets lost and forgotten. Something much more appropriate would be AllFurniture.com
10. Use .Com – Although there are many domain extensions available it is always best to go with .com if possible. Most people will assume you have a .com URL so unless you stress your .net or .org extension at all times, it is best to use .com. This is the choice people will make when typing in your domain.
Remember that your domain is not just where your site “lives”. It is a crucial step in becoming an online business owner. Take the time to really think it through, do the research and choose a domain that will help bring you success!
About the Author:
Terri Seymour has over 16 years of internet marketing experience and has helped many people start their own business. Visit her site for three free gifts including The Big Book of Social Media Tips and How to Market Your Online Business for Free: http://www.SeymourProducts.com