Choosing a domain name is a big decision. When I originally started trading under Taming the Beast years ago, a search on that phrase didn't bring back too many results. A search on Google recently brought back 697,000 results.....how times change.....
Think up a number of possible domain names
Finding a good domain name that isn't taken these days is pretty hard to do. If you have ever tried to get a user ID with a service such as Yahoo, you will understand how frustrating it can be when you think up the perfect name that nobody else could have possibly thought of, only to find that yes, you can have that name if you are happy to have 7865 tacked on to the end of it. King Solomon is reported to have said "There is nothing new under the sun".....or the Internet it would seem.
Generic, Business names and Trademarks
Most people choose to register their business name as a domain name, but it's well worthwhile considering selecting a generic name, something that is related to your subject area or industry. Not only will it be easier for people to remember, but it will also have greater resale value if you should choose to sell your site in the future.
Generic terms cannot be trademarked to the point of the exclusion of others using the word combinations. Since generic one word domain names are virtually impossible to locate now, try two word combinations that inspire and promote your products or services; e.g. solidbargain.com.
A domain name should be short and simple
Ok, so you have found your name and decided that you wish to build a world wide empire. You have chosen www.evry1-has2visitmywonderfulsite.com ....what's wrong with this? Sure, it's descriptive, it challenges and it's generic. But it's also a mixture of numbers, letters, abbreviations, hyphens and horribly long.
A domain name should be easy to remember, easy to relay to someone over the telephone and where possible, the first letter should be as close to the letter "a" as possible. A number of indices categorize alphabetically. Domain names should also be as brief as possible. Unfortunately, when I began "Taming the Beast" in the mid-90's I didn't consider some of these issues.
Country specific and other domain name extensions
Many countries now lease out the rights to use their extensions globally. The best example of this is the .tv domain which actually belongs to Tuvalu. There are now over 250 TLD's
globally - review a comprehensive listing
One of my biggest mistakes in selecting my domain name was to wait for too long - the .com version was already taken by the time I had gotten around to domain name registration and I had to settle for Taming the Beast.net. Many people now go to the wrong address!
Investing in domain names.
Many people, including ourselves were involved in domain name speculation. While the great domain rush was happening, investors made huge profits in reselling domain names. This boom has now become a bust, never to recover. I would advise not to spend your hard earned money in this area unless you can afford to lose it. The only names with real value are one-word generic English names. Learn more about domain name speculation.
Beware of the sharks.
To register a domain name, you need to locate a Registrar. Domain name registrars are commonplace, but you need to be very careful who you register your domain through. Bigger is not necessarily better.
For example, an very well known International company currently offers domain name registration for US$35 a year. For that price you get lousy customer service, delays and very few "freebies" thrown in. But on the other end of the scale, you can pay as little as $9.95 a year and receive quite the opposite - but anything for under that price, be sure to read the fine print.
Domain name registration and web site hosting - 2 Separate services
Many people are under the impression that registering a domain name also includes space for hosting your web site. While this can be the case with some package deals, it is important to understand that they are two separate services.
If all this seems pretty confusing, it may be wise to engage the services of a consultant. It will cost you anything from US$25 upwards for the service, but the fee of a good consultant is money well spent. Your domain name is a very important part of your online business, and there are many traps set for the unwary.
One final point on hyphens. Some search engines rank sites more highly if your domain name contains keywords - e.g white-flombles.com. By removing the hyphen, you *may* lose the benefit; but I have been noticing in recent times some of the major engines appearing to pick out the keyterm in a non-hyphenated name. It's a case of weighing up whether it would be more beneficial to you to have a name with easy recall (hyphens complicate things) or the search engine rankings value.
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In Loving Memory - Mignon Ann Bloch
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