Choosing A Great Domain Name For Your Internet Business
In this age of seven figure prices for premium domain names, and companies pressing trademark lawsuits at the drop of a hat, how do you intelligently, and safely, select a great domain name for your online business? Alot has been written about this topic, some of it a bit forbidding if you are not at least somewhat well versed in SEO or web programming. But have no fear - the basic principles are simple and anyone can learn them. There are four basic areas of inquiry you must approach to "get it right" in the domain selection process:
I'm not sure whether "Brandability" is even a real word, but I like it and will use it here. Brandability refers to the ability to build an effective marketing strategy around your site's domain name. There are basically two ways to accomplish this. One way, mentioned above, is to invest in a one word generic domain. This approach only makes sense if you can afford the high purchase price, and have a business model that is expected to benefit sufficiently from the premium domain name (i.e., generate very large incremental absolute dollar profits from the name). Such businesses are rare, and most often you will need to take a different tack. A good quality 2-3 word name, either completely generic (like bestdogfood.com) or partially generic (like jonesdogfood.com), will cost much less than it's premium brethren, and in many cases may be even more relevant to your business. The basic idea: choose a catchy name that is short and easy to remember.
I'm pretty sure that "Efficiency" is a real word, so I use it here with no pangs of conscience. Efficiency refers to how effective your domain name will be with the search engines like Google and Yahoo. Domain names containing high traffic search keywords tend to get ranked higher in searches than those that don't, all other things being equal. There are some great keyword research tools on the web, such as WordTracker.com. Use these tools to find popular search keywords that are relevant to your business, and try to incorporate one of these words or short phrases within your domain name.
"Legality" refers to being free of the risk of challenge after you register or buy your new domain. Many businesses trademark their business name, so if your domain name is identical or "confusingly similar" to a trademarked name, you could be challenged in court. After choosing a few candidates based on the first three general principles (Relevance, Brandability, and Efficiency), check out the trademark database at the US Patent & Trademark Office web site (uspto.gov). You can find out immediately if you are on shaky ground with any of your candidates. After culling out any offending names, you should have one or two great names to build your business around.
Stewart Engelman is a web programmer and domain reseller. Stewart operates his web programming business (Champlain Micro Systems) and domain sales and rental business (DNI Services) from South Burlington, VT, USA. Domain Name Registration India
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