a Domain Name
Choosing a Domain Name
The importance of having your own domain name cannot
be over-emphasized. If you are running an online business, and don't
yet have a domain name, you are probably losing thousands of dollars
worth of business because of this. Why? Simply because, unless you
have a domain name, your customers will simply not feel comfortable
buying from you. In order to sell on the web, you need to build
up your credibility. Having your own domain name is the first step
in that process.
So, now that you are convinced that you need your own domain, how
should you name your domain? Here are a few do's and don'ts regarding
this. While the availability of domains which follow all of these
rules may have become limited, try to follow as many of these rules
1) Consider naming your company and registering a domain name starting
with the digit 1. Better still, choose a name starting with "1st".
Why? When people create directories of web sites, they have to decide
how they are going to classify those web sites. One way to classify
web sites is to list them on the basis of how "good" they
are. Another way is to simply list them in chronological order (and
sometimes in reverse chronological order) based on the dates the
sites were submitted.
The other, and far more popular classification system is alphabetic.
Now, the first character in the ASCII chart which can be used as
the first character in a domain name is the digit 0. The next character
is the digit 1. Normally, you wouldn't want to start a domain name
with the digit 0 since it might send all the wrong signals to your
customers. For instance, if we had named our domain 0SearchRanking.com,
it would be telling our customers that we cannot get them any search
engine rankings at all! Hence, unless you really have a good reason
for doing so, you should avoid using domain names starting with
the digit 0.
Instead name your domains starting with the digit 1. More specifically,
name your domains starting with "1st". This will ensure
that you get a high alphabetical placement in those directories
which classify sites alphabetically. Furthermore, depending on the
industry in which your company operates, it may also send the right
message across to your customers - it indicates that you are the
first company to consider in your industry.
And guess what - the mother of all directories - Yahoo! - lists
web sites alphabetically based on the Title that had been submitted.
Yahoo! wants the Title to be the same as the official name of the
site. This implies that sites which start with the digit 1 will
be placed at or near the top of a category. Assuming that you can
get your site listed in Yahoo!, just look at what a top ranking
in one of the categories in Yahoo!'s directory can do for the popularity
of your site!
However, this strategy of creating domain names starting with the
digit 1 will not work with The Open Directory (http://www.dmoz.org).
The Open Directory will only consider the portion of your domain
that is really meaningful. This implies that it will ignore the
"1" or the "1st" in your domain and will consider
the portion of your domain after the "1" or the "1st".
For instance, a site named 1stXYZ.com would be listed with the sites
starting with X, and not 1. Of course, in order to 'take care' of
both Yahoo! and The Open Directory, you could have your domain start
with "1st" and then have a proper English word starting
with A after that.
Furthermore, a small caveat here. If you are going to name a domain
starting with "1st", also register the domain which starts
with "ist". Then, have the domain containing the vowel
"i" redirect visitors to the domain containing the digit
1. This is because people will often type in 'ist' when they mean
'1st' and vice-versa. In fact, I myself make this mistake all too
often when I try to access my site from my browser. That is the
reason I registered both 1stSearchRanking.com and istSearchRanking.com.
Also, for every email alias that you create for the domain containing
"1st " (like firstname.lastname@example.org), you should create
the corresponding email alias for the domain containing "ist"
Also, this strategy of registering domains starting with '1st'
is mainly applicable if yours is a somewhat new company. If you
own a well established concern with a well known domain, you simply
cannot change your company name and your domain in a hurry because
you will confuse your existing customers.
2) Don't want to start your domain name with "1st"?
Consider starting it with "A", "B" or "C".
Although domains starting with A, B or C will be listed after those
starting with the 10 digits, you can still get a pretty high alphabetical
placement with A, B or C. Also, since The Open Directory considers
only the meaningful part of a domain, domains starting with A will
be the ones which are listed first in The Open Directory. However,
please don't name your domain in the form of AAASomeCompany.com
- it'll make your company seem like a fly by night operator. (And
you won't get a high alphabetical placement in The Open Directory
either - it ignores the "AAA" bit when it decides the
alphabetical placement of sites).
3) Try to register a domain which contains a popular keyword applicable
for your industry. This will help your customers remember your domain
name better. Furthermore, for searches conducted in Yahoo!, a higher
ranking will be given to those web sites which contain the keyword
in the title. And according to Yahoo!'s instructions, the Title
should always be the official name of the site. Thus, if the domain
name contains a keyword, you will be able to include the keyword
in the Title which will improve your ranking in Yahoo!. As a minor
side-benefit, this can also help to marginally increase the ranking
of your web site in some search engines.
4) Don't register a domain containing the digit 0 in it, unless
it is going to be part of a recognizable word (like 1000 or 2000).
This is because the digit 0 is often confused with the vowel O.
If you feel that you must register a domain with the digit 0, make
sure that you also register the corresponding domain containing
the vowel O.
5) Try to avoid using domains that contain '2' for "To',
'4' for 'For', 'u' for 'You' and so on even if they seem to make
your domain sound 'cool'. Your customers will easily get confused
if you do so. However, if you must register such a domain, register
the expanded form of the domain as well, i.e. if you are registering
greatthings2do.com, also register greatthingstodo.com.
6) Should you or should you not use hyphens in your domain? Well,
the jury is out on the question. While some Internet marketers will
tell you that domains containing hyphens are difficult to remember,
spell and pronounce, others will state that domains containing hyphens
are, in fact, easy to remember, spell and pronounce. Go figure.
Personally, I would feel that whether or not hyphens are helpful
has to be determined on a case by case basis. However, if you register
a domain containing hyphens, make sure that you also register the
corresponding domain without the hyphens. Once you do that, you
can simply redirect visitors from the domain without the hyphens
to the domain with the hyphens.
7) Don't make your primary domain too long. Even though 67 character
domains are a reality, exactly how many of your users will want
to type a domain name like thisisanexampleofaverylargedomainname.com?
8) Always use ".com". If yours is a serious business
site, avoid using domains ending in "nu" or "to".
Your business will have little credibility if you do so. You can
consider registering a ".net" domain, but since most people
are familiar with ".com", it is better to stick to convention.
While it is unlikely that you will be able to register a domain
which satisfies all the rules that I outlined above, try to follow
as many of the above rules as you can.You can check out the availability
of domain names and register new domains at here.
About the Author
Sumantra is one of
the most respected search engine positioning specialists on the
Internet. To have Sumantra's company place your site at the top
of the search engines, go to http://www.1stSearchRanking.net
. Article Copyright © 2001 by Sumantra Roy