Choosing a Great Domain Name
The first thing you will need before you start your website is a domain name. This domain name is what people will type in their browsers and see at the top of every page of your website. It'll look something like this: www.mywonderfulwebsite.com. Since your domain name is blasted all over the Internet, you want something that directly relates to what you are offering the public.
Some people don't realize that the .com at the end of a domain name is not the only choice. You could have a .org (organizations), .net (intended for Internet service providers), .gov (government departments), .edu (educational institutions), .biz (for companies) or .info (for information). There are some other lesser-known endings we won't bother exploring. In addition, each country has its own code. The United Kingdom gets .uk, Australia gets .au, and so on.
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The number of .com names that have not been claimed is rapidly dwindling. I doubt there are any English word .coms remaining. Because of the rarity of good .com names, it may be tempting to choose a domain suffix other than .com, but that is not the best decision. The .com names have the most prestige and therefore are better for your image.
Here's your plan of action. It can be a challenge to come up with a good .com name. There are people who monitor domain names constantly. They instantly buy up any single word domain name if it becomes available, so forget about single word names. Your best course of action is to come up with a two or three word description of your website. You'll probably have more success with a three word name than a two so concentrate on that. If you want to get ranked high in search engines - and who doesn't - think about what your potential customers would type into a search engine. This will require some thought. The obvious search terms may be taken. You might have to add the word "the" or "an" in front on your domain name.
After you've come up with several three word descriptive phrases, go to a domain registration service. Godaddy.com is a common one, but it certainly is not the only one. A search on the Internet will give you multiple choices. Type in your phrase to see if it's still available. If you're lucky, you may be able to find an unclaimed domain within your first several tries. Pay your fee, register the name and you're now the proud owner of a piece of virtual real estate.
An Alternative Approach
With the recent explosion in the availability of website domain name suffixes (such as .eu, .ws, .cc and so on) it's never been easier to grab a domain name that is directly related to the subject matter of your site.
For example, if you want to create a site about Persian Cats, it would make sense to use a domain name including the phrase "persiancat". Unfortunately, however, other people have had the same idea previously, so persiancat.com is no longer available, nor is persiancat.net, .org, .biz or any other simple domain name with a top level suffix.
Furthermore, it is a fact that most people who are searching on the net are going to give first priority to sites with top level domain names, such as a .com or a .net.
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At least partially, this is simply a function of these being the original suffixes, and therefore the average surfer perhaps believes that they have more credibility and authority.
This is especially critical if your website is selling or promoting your business or products, as these factors translate into "trustworthiness" in this situation.
Simply put, a top level domain name is one of your strongest sales tools.
Many people also believe that search engines will give weight to your domain name when considering your site for that all important search engine ranking. In this case, there needs to be some clear relationship between your domain name and site subject, to give you any chance of featuring when people search using Google or Yahoo.
So, what can you do? Well, here's a couple of very simple tips that may help you to bag that all important top level domain name for your site.
First, try a plural version of your key phrase, rather than the singular version. So, in the example above, you might check out the availability of top level names using persiancats, rather than persiancat.
Truth be told, however, used on its own, this tactic is a bit too obvious, and more often than not, when the singular version of a phrase has gone, then so has the plural.
The second little trick is, however, far more effective and well worth trying if you are looking for a top level name for your site. The trick is - numbers!
Not numbers at the beginning of the domain address - that's really "old hat" and you only have to look at a list of expired domains to see how many owners of such addresses just allow them to die. Why? Because they don't work particularly well with either search engines or with real people - and something like "0000persiancats.com" just looks plain silly!
So, that's not likely to be of much benefit to your site. But, numbers in the "body" of the domain name itself, especially the numbers 2 and 4, very possibly will be.
Why? Well, the number 2 is a simple substitute for the word "to" and 4 can be read as "for".
Now, tie that in with one other little substitution trick - take the word "you" and substitute the letter "u" - and finding a good top level domain name that still relates very closely to the site subject matter becomes a relatively simple matter.
Let's take our persiancats example to demonstrate how effective a strategy this can be. Using all three of the highlighted tricks, try searching for "persiancats2u.com" and "persiancats4u.com". Still available? If not, how about "persiancat4us.com" or "persiancat4me.com"?
Even if all of these are now taken, all it needs is a bit of imagination to create a ".com" domain name that relates directly to your subject matter.
A simple but effective method of grabbing a top level domain name for your site.
And a Third Approach...
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It can be quite time consuming checking domain name availability as you find each successive name you come up with has already been registered.
So why not buy an expired domain name? Don't know where to look? You'll find hundreds, if not thousands, of domain names for sale through eBay on this site. As with an eBay auction, you bid what you can afford and you either win the auction or you don't and you start looking again.
Expired domain names are relatively cheap on eBay (at least when compared with other domain auction houses) so you stand a very good chance of picking up a good name at a cheap price.
You can use the Search box at top left to search for domain names that contain a keyword you're looking to include in your domain name, so finding a domain is easy.
And if you're not lucky the first time, there's a very high turnoever in domain names and you'll soon pick up a domain name that you're happy with.