to choose domain names
By Sumantra Roy
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.
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 as possible.
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.
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.
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.
guess what - the mother of all directories - Yahoo!
- lists web sites alphabetically based on the Title that had been
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!
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.
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 email@example.com), you should create
the corresponding email alias for the domain containing "ist"
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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
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.
Article by Sumantra Roy. Sumantra is one of the most respected
and recognized search engine positioning specialists on the Internet.
For more articles on search engine placement, subscribe to his
1st Search Ranking Newsletter by sending a blank email to mailto:1stSearchRanking.firstname.lastname@example.org
or by going to http://www.1stSearchRanking.com
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