Okay so the first question is what is a domain name? And why is it so important? Well a domain name is simply the words that are used in the address to your website. For example in the example below you see a screen capture of the address bar in my browser. The address in the browser is http://www.cnn.com. The “www.cnn.com” part is the domain name.
So why are domain names important? They are critical for a two specific reasons…
The domain name is what visitors will type in when they want to go directly to your site.
Additionally, the domain name is used as part of Google’s ranking algorithm to decide what is ranked higher in the search engines.
For those two reasons alone, a good domain name can put you leaps and bounds ahead of the competition. So how do you choose a good domain name? Follow these simple steps:
- Goto Godaddy.com in your internet browser.
- In the area that says “Start Domain Search” type in a possible domain.
- Godaddy will then let you know whether that domain is available. If it is not available, try another variation or try a different keyword.
- Try and find a domain name that is available for each of the following:
- Your company name such as “JohnDoePhotography.com” or “WeddingMemoriesPhotography.com”
- The city you live in and “photography.com” or “photographer.com”
- The city you live in and the type of photography you specialize in such as “LittleRockWeddingPhotographer.com”
Why would you want more than one domain name? Well this will help you later on to build traffic. But don’t worry; you don’t need to build 3 or more separate websites. I recommend starting out with just one website to begin with and redirecting any additional domain names you purchase to your single site. Then in the future you can take advantage of these additional domains to create separate websites targeting those specific keywords.
The 7 Rules of Domain Name Selection
Below are the 7 rules that I consider when picking a domain name.
- Rule #1: Make it a “.com”. For your business website do not use a .org, .net, .info or any other extension (unless using a country specific extension)
- Rule #2: This is the only exception to Rule #1. If outside the US, consider using country specific extensions such as .uk or .au.
- Rule #3: Avoid strange or difficult spellings
- Rule #4: Avoid using “The” or similar words in your domain unless that is how you market your business.
- Rule #5: Register your personal name if it is available. (Just because you may be famous one day!)
- Rule #6: Shorter is better but not always possible
- Rule #7: Hyphens are okay, though not optimum. Can’t find a good domain name that is available? Try using hyphens to separate the words. (i.e. http://tucson-wedding-photographer.com)
Where to register your domain?
I recommend using Godaddy.com to register your domains. You may be able to find cheaper places and you will certainly be able to find more expensive places. But I stick with Godaddy because they are a solid company that will be around for a long time. The only thing I don’t like about them is all the additional services they pitch to you during the checkout process. Just stick with the basics and ignore all these additional offers.
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Oddly enough, I do not recommend using Godaddy as your webhost provider. I believe there are better solutions out there with more features for less money. I will go over choosing a webhost in the next chapter.
Action Steps for This Chapter
- Goto Godaddy.com and search for a domain name for your business using the rules in this chapter.
- First priority is to get your business name for your domain name.
- Look for additional domains with good keywords
- Remember .com is best. Avoid .net, .info, .org, etc. for your main commercial site.
- Once you found a good domain name (or more) complete the registration process. Be sure to save your account information so you can log back in to your account at Godaddy.