If you're just starting out on the Internet choosing a domain name is one of the first major decisions you will have to make. I won't say that choosing a name for your site will determine the overall success or failure of your online business. It will, however, affect almost every aspect of your business. Finding a good domain name requires extensive planning.
I would like to offer some tips for successfully choosing a domain name:
1) Use the .COM extension. This is still the number one choice for the majority of online businesses. While, .NET, .ORG,.INFO,.BIZ, and .US are viable alternatives they are not as widely recognized as .COM. The .COM extension will immediately give you and your business more credibility. Also, because we are creatures of habit many people automatically include .COM when typing in almost any web address, so why not capitalize on human nature?
2) Keep it Short. Whenever possible your domain name should not be longer than 13-15 characters, numbers, or hyphens. It is much more difficult for the average person to remember longer variations of a web address.
3) Make it Sticky. You want your domain name to be easy to remember. Make it stick out in people's minds. Be creative. Be Unique.
4) Minimize Confusion. You should never lose a prospective customer because they misspelled your domain name, or they used the wrong extension. If you can afford it, register other variations of your domain name and have them redirect to your main site.
5) Include Keywords in Your Domain Name. Try to include at least 1 and if possible 2 keywords in your domain name. Many of the experts believe this can help with the way some of the search engines index and rank your site.
6) Be Descriptive. Your domain name should have something to do with your business. Make it descriptive of your site, your product offerings, or your service.
7) Search for Deleted Domain Names: Domain names that were once registered but have expired turn up every day. With some research you might be able to find one of these names that would be a good fit for your business. You can search for deleted domains at http://www.deleteddomains.com
8) Check for Trademarks. You should do this before registering your domain name. Search as many existing trademarks as possible and look for possible conflicts. Obviously you want to choose a name that is unlikely to cause you any legal problems. Trademark research can be done at the following sites:
U.S Patent and Trademark Office - http://www.uspto.gov
Thomas Register - http://www.thomasregister.com
The Trademark Association - http://www.inta.org
Nameprotect - http://www.nameprotect.com
If you need help with researching your domain names try the following website:
1) GDI - http://www.website.ws/amadorfreedom
You can register a domain name today for less than it costs for a nice lunch. There is really no reason not to put forth the effort and money to register a domain name that you can begin building your online presence with.
Your domain name is your first chance to build credibility with your visitors. Keep in mind that you never get a second chance to make a great first impression.
Remember, choosing your domain name is one of the most important first steps you will take in building your online presence. Make it a step forward. Happy Hunting!