name game web site
Published 12:00 am Friday, August 10, 2007
It may seem like an afterthought, but choosing a name for your Web site is crucial to representing your business on the Web.
Unfortunately, many business owners wait until the last minute to pick a domain name, and aren’t happy with the name they get.
A domain name is what identifies your site on the Internet. The IP address, which is numerical, is translated by a domain name system server into your site’s name.
As you begin the selection process, keep in mind that options dwindle daily ń millions of good names have been sold over the past few years.
Here are some things to think about when you begin your search for the right domain name:
Brainstorm: Think about obvious and not-so-obvious names while keeping in mind that domain names can only use dashes, letters and numbers. You can’t use spaces and symbols, and domain names are not case sensitive. Simple and catchy should drive the discussion, but you should also consider more conservative names.
Simplicity rules: You don’t want someone trying to remember your lengthy Web address, so make sure it’s not too long. Seven characters is a good number to strive for, not including the suffix. Speaking of the suffix, if you’re a business owner, try to get something with “.com” at the end, which most consumers associate with businesses. Also, make sure the name is easy to spell. And if it’s not, you may want to consider registering variations of the spelling.
Register:Once you’ve decided on some name variations, the next step is to register those names. And do it quickly. Names are going fast and, if you wait, you may end up with a less-than-desirable name.Make sure the name isn’t registered already by searching www.whois.com, a registrar site that can tell you whether a site name is already registered, even if there isn’t a site associated with it.
Also, be sure to check out trademarked names by searching the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s database at www.uspto.gov.
Once you’ve cleared the way, the cost to register domain names can be less than $10.It’s not a bad idea to register several similar domain names. If you registered “mysite.com,” then you should register “mysite.net” and “mysight.com” if they’re available. If you register a name like JonesforSheriff, then register JonesforSherrif also. And consider singulars and plurals such as MikesPools.com and Mikes Pool.com.
This gives you several variations on suffix and spelling possibilities, particularly if you have a commonly misspelled word in the domain name. Regardless of how many names you register, all can point to the same site.
Also check on the availability of domain names with variations of your company’s name. You never know when less Web-savvy surfers could try to find your company by typing the name into the address bar.
Better safe than sorry: If you think you’ve found the right domain name, but you’re still not 100 percent certain, register it anyway.
It may not be high on your list of priorities, but choosing a domain name is crucial to your overall Web site plan.
Choosing the right domain name is easy when you understand what makes it work. Always keep in mind the few rules of thumb: Make it simple. Make it catchy. And make it indicative of what you’re offering.