Aside from the nuts and bolts of where to register your domain name and purchasing a good economical hosting service, there are a few things to know about buying a good domain name, that only experience can teach. Here are a few tips to get you started on the right foot:
1. Buy only “.com" and don't trouble yourself with the others. Although the domain name players have gone to some trouble to publicize and market to us about the availability of other extensions such as .org, .net, . us and others. . . there is still no real reason to buy anything but “.com. "
If you currently have a domain name that is not a “.com, " I strongly suggest you obtain it. Or, if that's not possible, consider finding a new domain name.
The rationale is simple: if the point of having a website is to get people to visit it, the best rule of thumb is to make it easy to remember. If your customers have to think in order to get to your website, and maybe even have to type in a wrong domain first before they finally reach you. . . you want to change that so they don't.
2. Buy your own personal name. What better way to make it easy for your customers to find you? As you become better known online, and as you build your customer database, it will become increasingly important for your customers to be able to find you based on your personal name.
Buying your personal name allows you to build credibility for your brand identity and makes it easy to “Google" you. Ever tried typing in just your first and last names at Google? Try it and see what happens. If you aren't showing up in the results, you will want to work on this. And buying your own personal name as a domain name is a simple and very effective way to get going.
3. Buy the most common spelling mistakes for your domain. Even if you follow the advice in (2) above, it may be inevitable that some of your visitors will misspell your domain. It's human error.
So although these may not be obvious to you at first, it's worthwhile putting your antennae up in order to figure it out. The first hint? If you misspell your own domain name, chances are others will. Be sure to grab the most common ones.
Example: www.Google.com, www.Gogle.com and www.Gooogle.com all go to the same page. Why? Google “gets" that lots of people type in too few or too many “Os" and has set it up so everyone gets to the right place.
4. Double check your domain names for odd or unintentional meanings. This one is a bit mixed, because if your domain name turns out to be something quite funny, it might be just that much more memorable and bring you free traffic. But you may not want to be remembered in that way, and the traffic that results could be a detriment to you. (The wrong target market just clogs up your system, uses bandwidth, and creates customer service inquiries you don't want. )
So do a double check to see if your domain says something you didn't expect.
What do I mean?
www.newsextracts.com is actually a clipping service, but could be interpreted to be something rather more racy.
www.whorepresents.com is actually a site where you can find a given actor's agent or manager, but can be interpreted to be something else.
Last but not least, as with everything online, ebusiness owners have the luxury of easily and quickly asking our customers most anything, including “What do you think is the best domain name for this project?"
So when in doubt, ask your customers what they think. Give them a choice of a few domains you've narrowed it down to, and offer a prize of some sort to encourage participation. It works, and you'll end up avoiding potholes along the way.
Andrea J. Lee coaches entrepreneurs and online business owners. As Thomas J. Leonard's General Manager, she helped build and manage the largest network and trainer of personal and business coaches in the world. Now the CEO of Andrea J. Lee Group of Companies, she writes, speaks and consults on Marketing, Internet and Business systems. For more helpful tips, visit www.39lessons.com