Your domain name is your address on the Web, and it becomes associated with the name of your business or organization.
You will display it on your business cards, flyers, and other publications, so choose it carefully! Here are a few guidelines for you to consider:
- If you have a business, a “dot com” domain is the most popular type. It’s possible to make almost any type of domain work if you put enough Search Engine Optimization (SEO) effort into it, but your potential customers usually expect to see a dot com address.
- If you have a church or other type of organization such as a library, it is common to use a “dot org” (for “organization”) domain. In the past you were not allowed to use .org domains for commercial purposes, but that restriction has been lifted. However, most noncommercial entities still opt for a .org domain.
- Shorter names are easier to type into a browser, but these days people are accustomed to finding web sites by searching through one of the popular search engines (e.g., Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.). Therefore, the length of the name is not as important as it once was. Besides, most of the very short names like “aa.com” are already registered (taken).
- If you opt for a longer name, it can be helpful to choose the name of your business if the name is unique.
- Sometimes I am asked about the use of hyphens in a domain name. While not ideal for the reasons given above they are usable, mainly due to the fact that most visitors will find you via the use of a search engine. I would choose a hyphenated name particularly when the available alternative is a much longer name, unless the longer name is the exact name of your business or organization.
How do you know if a particular domain name is available? Many companies offer domain registration service, but the most economical way of obtaining your domain is usually in connection with your web hosting package. A good web hosting company will often include one or more domains with your hosting package at no extra charge. I’ll discuss web hosting on another page, but I use and recommend 1and1.com for domains and hosting services. They have a nice domain name search tool that you can use to check and see if your preferred domain name is available. It will also provide alternative suggestions in case the exact name you choose is not available.
Here’s a handy tool for checking domain availability:
Before you actually order your domain, read the next section on Web Hosting because you will get a better deal if you bundle the two services. We can help you with your domain name selection and acquisition. If you want to check prices, use this link: Domain Name Specials at 1&1
Once you have secured your primary domain name, you may want to consider adding one or more additional domains to your package. There are various reasons for doing this, including the following:
- You may have several different types of products or services that would benefit from having separate domain names
- Your business or organization may be known under several different names
- You may want to prevent a competitor from registering a domain name that is very similar to your primary domain
If you do obtain additional domains, there are several things you can do with them:
- You can forward them to your primary domain. In that case, when someone types one of the additional domain names into their browser, they will be automatically forwarded to your primary address.
- You can develop additional web sites focusing on different products or aspects of your business. This will often prove advantageous for SEO purposes, but does take extra work!
- If you don’t know what you want to do with them, you can forward them to your web hosting company and they will pay you if someone signs up with them as a result of having visited that page
- You can sell them– sometimes for a profit, and sometimes not– at some point in the future
We can help you decide whether acquiring additional domain(s) would be advisable in your situation, and we can help you pick them.