Selecting a Domain Name
THE DOMAIN NAME:
Commonly known as your website address, it’s a word, or phrase, that people type to locate your site. At one time the full address was entered (http://www.), but that’s no longer necessary with the latest browsers.
Uniform Resource Locator (URL) is the global address of documents and other resources on the World Wide Web.
The first part of URL’s is the protocol identifier and indicates how the system searches. The second part is called a resource name and specifies the domain name where the resource is located. These two sections are separated by a colon and two forward slashes. A URL for “Your Website” could be “http://www.yourwebsite.com”.
Every domain name has a suffix attached indicating where the site belongs.
.com – Commercial business
.edu – Educational institutions
.gov – Government agencies
.mil – Military
.net – Network organizations
.org – Organizations (non-profit)
CHOOSE YOUR DOMAIN NAME FIRST:
Choose a domain name before building your website. Once you’re using a domain name and attracting a steady stream of visitors it’s difficult to change to another name without losing some of the traffic you’ve been enjoying. Finding a name that works for you can be a tedious trial-and-error process, but the time taken up front is worth the effort.
DOMAIN NAMES AS WEBSITE NAMES:
You want people to easily identify your website and the best way of doing this is to have it named the same as its domain name. Having your URL and your name the same, people can quickly relate the website to the address and automatically know where to go.
LENGTH OF THE NAME:
Good domain names provide a one to three keyword summary of your site. Names can be any length up to 67 characters. The shorter you keep your name the easier it is to type with less possibility for mistake.
If you can, keep hyphens, dashes, underscores and other characters out of your domain name. They’re too easy to forget when typing the name, or when people are verbally recommending your site.
Unless the abbreviation is in your name, or company trademark, and easily identified with you, or what you’re selling, don’t use them. How does your domain name sound when you read it over the phone to somebody? If you need to explain abbreviations, spelling, hyphens, or other special characters, you’ve got a problem.
Try not to use the plural form in any domain name. It’s too easy for potential visitors to omit the “s” in the name which means they may never get to your website.
USING “THE, AND, MY” IN DOMAIN NAMES:
There’s nothing wrong using “the”, “my” or “and” as long as you promote your site with the full form of the name so people don’t forget to add the necessary “the” in their search.
EXTENSIONS OTHER THAN .COM:
The .com extension is the most identifiable with anyone using the internet, but it may not be available for the name you’ve chosen. When using alternates like .net, or .ca remember to promote your website and business with the full domain name, including the extension. You don’t want people searching for you as .com instead of .ca.
REGISTERING YOUR NAME:
Once you’ve decided on a good domain name, register it. It’s relatively inexpensive and easy to do. Your chosen web host will normally do it for you. Even the free web hosts provide registration for a nominal fee if you’re building your site with them.
Finally, no matter what name you’ve chosen, or how many domain names you’ve decided to register, you have to support it. Your domain name has to be incorporated in your website’s logo and shown on all your business cards and stationery. Wherever you can, let your site name be known.