Selecting a Domain Name

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If you wish to have a presence on the web, your domain name is one of the most important decisions you will need to make. It is the center of your Internet identity and makes it easier for people to find your site. What types of things should you take into consideration when choosing the name that will represent you on the web?

Keep the domain name short: Although some places allow you to register a name with up to 63 characters, you have to keep in mind that people need to be able to remember it. Try to register the shortest name that your customers and visitors will associate with your site.

Dot What? There are many different extensions available right now. For businesses, we recommend a .com suffix. It is the first extension that most people try when searching for a site. Also, since it is one of the oldest extensions, a dot.com address shows that your business has been around for a while and that you have a well-established presence on the web.

Avoid Trademarked Names: There are two really good reasons for this. First, it's not very nice. We have all heard the stories about the zany guy who thought ahead and bought "some-huge-multi-million-dollar-company.com" and sold it to the company for enough money to retire on. But, remember that those companies, like yours, have spent lots of time and money creating their brand, and what goes around comes around. Also, companies are no longer opening their pocketbooks to get their names back. They are calling their lawyers.

Register Your Domain A.S.A.P.: Domain names are being snatched up faster than candy at the St. Patrick's Day parade. You must register soon unless you want to get stuck with "the-domain-name-that-no-one-wanted.net". You do not have to have a web master or an e-commerce department or a web design consultant or... Heck, you don't even need a web page. Just get out there and register before you loose the opportunity to get the name you really want.

One May Not Be Enough: Sometimes, it isn't a bad idea to register several similar domain names. If you have "yourname.com", register "yourname.net" so no one else takes it. You can register your full company name and a shorter, easier to remember version. Some people even register common misspellings of their company's name. (You don't need a separate web page for each. Several domains can point to the same site.)

Character Types: Just a reminder. Domain names can only use letters, numbers, and dashes. Spaces and symbols are not allowed. Also, domain names are not case sensitive.

Ask Around: When you have settled on several available name choices, see what your friends and clients have to say. A name that may make perfect sense to you may be too hard for other people to remember. Is your domain easy to say? Is it hard to spell? Do you have to explain why you chose the name?

Don't Shell Out Large Amounts of $$$: At one time, companies were able to get away with charging reservation fees plus a "mandatory" $70 InterNIC fee. Recently, it was decided that other companies should be able to compete to sell domain names. This has lowered prices dramatically.

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