It All Starts With A Domain Name

It all starts-with-a-domain-name

It all Starts with a Domain name, who knew?  No I didn’t know either.  But, I do remember sitting around years ago thinking about creating a website. I thought it would be cool to share my thoughts and ideas with other people online.

Back then I had nothing but a dream.  I didn’t have a domain name, hosting account, software nothing.  Worst yet I didn’t even know what a domain name was.  Do you know what a domain name is?

Network computerLet me help you out with that one using some of what I now understand a domain name to be. At the most basic level a domain name is your websites’ name.

It is the address where Internet users can access your website.  A domain name is used to find and identify computers on the Internet. 

Computers are identified on the Internet by IP addresses, which are a series of number.  To go one step further an IP address is a unique string of numbers separated by periods that identifies each computer using the Internet Protocol to communicate over a network.

Now, because it is rather difficult for humans to remember multiple strings of numbers.  Domain names were developed and used to identify various entities on the Internet instead of using IP addresses. 

Every website name is unique and must be registered before you can use it.  As a result this means that no two websites can have the same domain name.

This is very helpful because if someone types in www.yourdomain.com they will go to your website and no one else’s. 

If you are or were like me all that information is great, but I still had no idea where to start.  I didn’t know what to do or even how to get started looking for a domain name for that matter. 

So, with little knowledge to start with I began to do some research.  I quickly realized I needed to focus on keywords and topics other people were interested in.  

As time pasted this revelation led to the next one which still applies to this day.  And that is when it comes to building a website, “It All Starts with A Domain name”. 

Now don’t take what I just said and mis-interpret it into he has no idea what he’s talking about, you need to do this and this and this over here. 

I understand that there are many more parts involved to building a website but that’s for a later post.  Right now, we’re talking about choosing a domain name, the right name for your website. 

There is a quote I read that said,

“Domain names are to websites what book covers are to Novels”

If they are not interesting or don’t properly convey what a website is about, visitor will have no desire to enter them in their browsers. Your website name must be both catchy and keyword based to be properly search engine optimized. 

Website protocolUse the following tips here to help you find the best keyword-based domain name for your website.  Ok you now know that you need a keyword-based website name that is memorable and that will do well in the various search engines. 

How do you go about achieving those goals?

You will need to write down a list of words that best summarizes the purpose of your website.   These words or keywords are ideas and topics that define what your website content is about.  Set this list aside for a few minutes until you have completed the next step.

Next, you will need to find a highly searched for keyword that can be incorporated into your domain name. You could waste time guessing or you could use a keyword analyzer website or software to help you with this task.

These can be found by doing a basic search engine query.  I like using Market Samuari to do my initial Keyword research.

When you find a keyword analyzer you like, grab the list of keywords you created earlier. Then enter in one keyword at a time that best summarizes the purpose of your website. 

The keyword analyzer will return different versions of this keyword.  Remember that when it comes to search engine optimization, more specific the keywords is in your website name the better. 

This helps with search engine optimization.  You should be aware that it may not always be possible to find a certain specific keyword that you really want to use as your websites’ name. 

That’s OK this just means you will have to go with plan “B” which is to select a few keywords that relate the closest to what your website subject matter will be about.

Here are a few more tips that will help you select your new website name: But keep this in mind as you look at these tips,

“It All Starts with A Domain Name”

Get it right and you are on your way to creating a great website. Get it wrong and you’ve may have just created extra work for yourself.

Your Website Name and Domain Name Should Be the Same. I know that seems to be a given, but people do interesting things at times.  Some people will build a website using a name other than the domain they paid for  and then direct traffic to that site.  Keep them the same.

You don’t want to be confusing people when they arrive at your website.

Having a domain that matches your website makes it easier for people who are looking for you to find you.

Now you can start selecting your actual domain name. Check to see if your selected keyword or keyword combination is available for you to use as your domain name. 

You will do this with a domain name registration company like “GoDaddy or NameCheap”.

Here’s how this process usually works once you go to one of the above-mentioned domain registration companies. 

You will enter in your selected keyword into their search box, don’t forget to add an extension like (.com, .org or .net) to the end of your keyword.  Then hit the search button.  

The domain name company results will allow you to see whether your chosen keyword-based domain name is available. 

Your chosen name may not be available.  The registar will return a list of recommended domain names.  If your keyword-based domain name is not available, consider the suggestions the domain name company gives you. 

Your website name should still have your selected keyword included in these suggestions and if it ends with .com, consider it.  Otherwise, you will have to be a little more creative.

This simply means that you can use ‘filler’ words, numbers or phrases within your domain name but still include your selected keyword.   

For instance if the main keyword you want to use is the word “Wheelbarrow”.  You can try word combinations like “wheelbarrow1.com, wheel-barrow.com, mywheelbarrow.com, wheelbarrow.org, wheelbarrow.net, etc.

Play around with these various combinations until you find a combination that has your selected keyword in the name and allows visitors to know what your website is about.

Additionally, you can also consider using country or state-based extensions if you don’t mind international or local-based marketing.  

Some people believe it’s better to be number 1 in Spain’s version of Google than to be number 200 or worse in America’s version of Google.  That’s another discussion all together for another day.

Be aware of the length of your name you select. You can have a domain name that is up to 63 characters, so you don’t have to settle from short abbreviated URL that’s obscure to your visitors.

But you may not want a domain name that is too long. Some people believe shorter domain names are easier to type and there are fewer mistakes.  

While others argue that a long domain name is easier to remember because it will include keywords.

For example, what would you find easier? TheBigBadWolfAndCrew.com or TBBWAC.com.  What’s the right choice? Probably neither of these two.

So, go for a domain that best allows you to use keywords from your website name and still allows visitors to know what your site is about.

Hyphened Name Domain names – Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages:

* Search engines can pick out your keywords and thus help to place your site more appropriately.

* The non-hyphenated version of your name may no longer be available, but the hyphenated is.

Disadvantages

* It’s easy to forget the hyphens when typing the site name.

* When people recommend your website, they must remember that they need to put hyphens in the name.

* Hyphens tend to be a pain.

Personally, I have used domain names with and without hyphenated names and I like the non-hyphenated names better. 

I think people do forget to add in that hyphen into your domain name more often then we realize.

Avoid Trademark infringement issues

Nextstep trademarkAs you are going through your website name selection process you must be aware of the fact that someone else may already have the name you want to use.

They may be using it online or at a physical location offline.  Here are some tips to help you to avoid this potentially costly mistake.

First, you need to check and see if your chosen name resembles any existing trademark that is on the books.  To search existing trademarks, visit the website of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office which is USPTO.gov. 

Once there you can search a database that contains current trademarks as well as those that are pending.  

If a domain name is similar to a registered or pending trademark.  Evaluate whether the domain name is still worth taking.

To be completely sure, run the website name by a trademark attorney. 

Don’t delay too long if your selected domain name is not trademarked.  You should consider getting it trademarked.   Especially if they are using it to help brand your business. 

An official trademark gives you more legal power should another company try to take you to court.

By checking whether your chosen domain name has keywords that are part of a trademark today.  You lessen the risk that you will have legal problems in the future.  

Should there be a problem and a domain name arbitration proceeding does not rule in your favor, you can turn to, The Domain Name Rights Coalition. 

Once you have selected your domain name and it is available as per the domain name registration company’s database.  

It’s time to buy that keyword-based domain name  

Below is the information that is usually required to register a website name.  

Much of the information will be the same for registrant, administrative, technical, and billing contact unless the website is a corporate website. 

Then you will fill in that information as per the companys’ instructions.

Requested domain name

Registrant – the person/company purchasing the domain name.

Administrative contact – the person authorized to make decisions.

Technical contact – the person who can make technical changes.

Billing contact – the person to whom all bills are sent to.

DNS server settings – these are supplied by your website host. This usually takes at least 24 hours for the DNS changes to go live.

Write down the URL of your domain name registrar and take the time to print out the terms of service along with registration specifics.

DO NOT BUY WEBSITE HOSTING FROM THE DOMAIN REGISTRATION COMPANY WHEN YOU REGISTER YOUR DOMAIN NAME

The reason why is because should you ever have an issue with either your hosting account or the domain name itself.  

You may possibly loose control of both your hosting account and website domain at the same time.  Now you may be thinking that is no big deal it’s only one website. 

But what if you have other websites on that hosting account.  Well your entire list of websites could potentially be taken offline with the stroke of one keyboard key.

Don’t bundle keep everything separated.  Buy separate website hosting from a different company.  Here’s a good reason why this is important.  My old account got hacked read about it here.

Once you have completed the registration process your domain name will be yours as long as you renew it at renewal time. 

And remember this as you build out your website down the road, “It All Starts with A Domain Name”.  It doesn’t have to be a perfect name just a good name that will let visitors know what your website is about and is keyword based.

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