PART I: DOMAIN NAMES
Choosing a domain name is a starting point for many when beginning their first website or creating a new website. It is important to consider and understand the nature of a domain name, the factors in choosing a domain name, where is best for you to purchase one, and what might be the best domain name for your business or organization to maximize your website’s potential.
1. What is a Domain Name?
A domain name is the locational information that appears in the URL* (Uniform Resource Locator) such as “402webpage.com” for this blog at “http://402webpage.com” and “littlemountainwebdesign.com” for “http://www.littlemountainwebdesign.com”. This tells others where to find your website and the exact address location of your directory or file.
TLDs are Top Level Domains. These are domain names with endings such as the following:
Among the most coveted are .com and .org. These were among the first TLDs and are easy to remember.
2. What Factors Should One Consider In Purchasing a Domain Name?
When you are considering your domain name, it is important to consider the following factors and strategies:
- Company/Organization name
- Functions/ action verbs associated with your company/organization
- Nouns related to company/organization
- Keyword relevance to what you are promoting
- Distinctive name that is easy to remember
- Branding strategy
- Length of the domain name
- Buying related domain names
- Secrecy in selecting a domain name until purchase is completed
Begin your search for that perfect domain name by brainstorming different names and ideas. You can use a thesaurus to help find synonyms to think of different but related names.
It is generally beneficial for your domain name to be short and easily remembered. This helps people find your business or organization quickly, even if they can’t remember it exactly when they look for it via the search engines. Some domain name appraisers will recommend you keep the characters down to sixteen characters or less for your domain name. Long domain names make for long URLs and email addresses. This can be difficult later for business cards, media and sending links.
Define you brand strategy and ask yourself if your domain name enhances or complements it. To help with this, your domain name should have a memorable name that embodies your company/organization and what you are doing. Prepare a list of several choices in case the domain that you want has been taken.
If your choice for a domain name has been taken, you can contact the owners directly or use a third party to contact the owner for you to make a offer. In those cases, it is unlikely that you will be able to purchase the domain name at cost from the owner. Be aware that there are many companies that purchase domain names with the sole intent to profit from selling it to someone like you who wants to own and develop it.
If that happens, you may work with a domain name appraiser. Domain name appraisers calculate how much they think your domain name is worth. Please note that it is their perception, not what your future domain name is actually worth. As mentioned earlier, many people buy domain names with the sole purpose of selling it to someone later. The real estate equivalent of this is “flipping” a house. Now while one does not need to develop the “property” or make repairs, some development can raise the asking price.
It is best to keep your ideas for a domain name secret and to not search for them online until you are ready to buy, to keep others from buying it first by watching your activities online with various programs. Having more than one choice for a domain name ready in case your desired domain name is not available is a good strategy to prevent persons wanting to buy your potential domain name before you purchase it.
When you purchase your domain name, you may wish to purchase WHOIS privacy. WHOIS privacy, depending on your particular company, can keep more than your email address off the main WHOIS Internet searches. WHOIS searches can tell you who owns a website and how to contact them. Having WHOIS privacy helps reduce spam and scams but can give the impression to some that you are hiding something. The decision to purchase or not purchase this should be considered carefully by a business or organization.
Please return later or read on for the continuation of this series and more on domain names, including registrars, ICANN and how to purchase one from our website blog.
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