Archive for the “Choosing Domains” Category
Nowadays it is incredibly hard to find an available domain name that fits your site’s content. All of the good ones are taken, and in some cases, even the most random phrases or combinations have been taken. When designing a new website, this can become an overwhelming and time-consuming obstacle, so many choose to rely on consultants to find an available and branded domain name.
Mainstream domain name consulting can cost upwards of $150, and for many small businesses, that’s quite a hefty price for a name. This is where CleverSiteNames.com comes in. Anyone looking for help on deciding a domain name can submit a description of their site and services there (for a small fee of $49). Then, anyone who has registered with the site can read the description and submit any number of domain names that fit the site. CleverSiteNames will email the lists to the designer, who can then pick any of the suggestions. They get to keep the domain name, and the person who came up with it gets $25. If there are no suitable or likeable names, CleverSiteNames offers a full refund.
For site owners this is a great way to find a good domain for your site, and for anyone else it’s a great way to earn a quick $25.
On a side note, the creators of the site have an excellent business model; they simply give the description to the masses who do all the work, and then earn $25 for each successful naming. Wish I’d thought of it
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It should be quite obvious (and painfully simple) for internet businesses to secure the other domain extensions for their domain. If you have a website that you plan to get a lot of traffic to, there are a few reasons you should grab the other extensions (___.org, ___.net) for it:
- Securing the other extensions prevents others from capitalizing off of your traffic by parking ad/search domains on the .org and .net versions of your domain
- Redirects on the other extensions can direct users to your site even if they mistype the domain name. This is especially useful if you have branded your site as a .org, users and browsers will often assume .com for all links.
- If, for some reason, you need to rebrand your site to a .org/.net, you don’t have to worry about securing the domains from others
- You can always sell the alternate TLD’s or place landing pages on them yourself
Now, if you are not planning on a website that will get a lot of traffic or a lot of business, you may not need to worry about securing the other extensions until the need arises, as it can be expensive for smaller businesses or home blogs.
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The bottom line for registering domains:
The most important thing about registering your domain is to do it as soon as possible. Sitting around and planning a site around a specific name is no good if you can’t secure that domain name in time. While naming a site after a domain may seem backwards, the truth is that it sometimes must be done. At around $15 a year for registration, even if your site name or domain changes before it goes live, you can still park or resell the domain you bought earlier.
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Keywords and the question of Hyphenation
If you are running a site which you intend to monetize, search engine optimization at the domain level is an excellent place to start. Similar to the concept of naming your site after your content, try to make it easy keywords rather than a long jumble with prefixes and suffixes. For example, in this site’s URL, “Earn” and “Over the web” can be easily recognized by search engine crawlers as relevant keywords. The domain of a site carries substantial weight in search algorithms. The next question is whether to hyphenate. There are many pros and cons of hyphenation:
Should you get a hyphenated name? There are a few things to consider here:
- Con: It’s easy to forget the hyphens when typing a name. Many users are used to typing things like earnovertheweb.com but not earn-over-the-web.com. They’ll probably leave out the hyphens and wind up at a blank domain or worse, a competing site.
- Pro: Search engines can distinguish and separate your keywords better and searches utilizing keywords from your URL will more often yield your site.
- Con: Hyphens are difficult and annoying to type. This also applies verbally, it’s easier to tell someone a site name without having to tell them where the hyphens are.
- Pro/Con: The domain of your preferred name may be taken already. With hyphens, you can still get the name you want. Of course, this also means you are a lot more likely to lose traffic to theat competitor than they are to you.
It’s generally not a good idea to claim the hyphenated and non-hyphenated version of a URL and use redirects. This may sligtly help in search engines, but traffic sites such as Alexa, PageRank, and Technorati may consider these URLs as separate sites, and give improper information on your incoming views.
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Name the domain after your content/business
It may seem obvious to register a domain that is the same as the name of your site or business, but many webmasters have domain names completely different than their site name. Naming a site after its domain name (or vice-versa) is important, because when people think of your website, they’ll think of it by name. If your name is the same as your URL, they’ll automatically know where to go.
Imagine that you wanted to start a blog about organization, and you’re set on the name “organizeme.com.” If some other business already has that domain, and you end up choosing some obscure name like “theorganizationblog.com” without changing the name of your site, you will lose many visitors who may recall your site name as “Organize me” and simply type that address into their browser.
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Nowadays, it’s getting harder and harder to find a good domain name that’s not already taken. Here’s one of the tips that I came up with after my search for a good name for this blog:
Alternate Extensions (.org, .net, .us, etc.)
There are many domain extensions available nowadays, including .org, .net, .tv, .info, .us, .co.uk, .ws, and many more. If you’ve set your mind on a specific name before purchasing it, or after spending hours trying to find a working domain, you may be tempted to name your site with an extension other than ______.com. This is usually not a good idea. There are a few reasons for this:
- SEO: The algorithms used by both browsers and search engines tend to favor .com addresses. If a user types a name like “earnovertheweb” into their browser address bar, the browser will search for a domain name “earnovertheweb.com” before attempting “earnovertheweb.net”, etc. This could end up delivering users to your competitor’s doorstep if you do not also own the .com address for your domain name.
- End users: End users on the web often simply assume the “.com” extension when they enter a domain into their browser, so if your site is “Earn over the web”, they’ll just assume your domain name is “Earnoverthweb.com” rather than “Earnovertheweb.net” or some other such name.
- Word of mouth: Simplicity is not the only reason. If a visito recommends a site to their friend, they might say ” I found this site, earn over the web, it’s really cool.” The person they’re talking to only hears the site name, and naturally assumes a .com
Of course there can be reasons for a .org, .net, etc. domain. If your site is promoting open source, education, or things which would benefit from a .org extension, by all means claim a .org. Also, some local or country-oriented businesses may prefer to take their country’s extension if they do not intend to cater to a worldwide user base.
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