Your domain name| by David Callan Your domain name is imperative to the success of your website, if anyone tells you otherwise they're either lying or don't know what they're talking about.
You need a domain name if you're serious about being an online entity, it's where you'll direct all your potential customers to. For them to become customers you've to make a good first impression and having your own domain name rather than some free geocities address that's long and cumbersome will enable you to do this.
There are lots of other benefits of having your own domain, here's just a few of them.
A domain name is your own unique identity and always will be as long has you continue to use that name. Say for instance you hosted your free site with geocities and you found that you needed a more advanced host because your website was becoming successful. Visitors and links to your site would know you by the long geocities URL and you'd have to start promoting your new URL all over again. If you had your own domain name you could change hosts as often as you like and people would still be able to find you simply by typing in your domain name.
You can promote your website instead of someone else's when you're sending emails as your domain name will be in the email address, for example email@example.com is helping to promote akamarketing.com while firstname.lastname@example.org is helping to promote and brand AOL.com
Your likely to have more traffic to your website with your own domain name because more people will be returning as they can remember your address and because many search directories such as Yahoo only index websites with their own domain name.
Another advantage of having your own domain name is that you can use custom error pages to prevent people from leaving your site because of broken links and other errors.
Domain names are so cheap nowadays that there's no excuse for not having one. Now that your ready to get yourself a domain name here's some pointers to help you choose a good one.
Size does matter
In the case of domain names the smaller the better. Of course short domain names are harder to find but if you can find one it has a number of advantages such as, it's easier to brand, easier to remember and it's harder to misspell.
Easy to remember
Try to get a name that's easy to remember and sounds good. General words are best for this but since these are all gone at this stage you should look for non general names or combinations of general names which rhyme and sound good together. Take elephantdroppings.com for example that's an easy to remember name.
Relate to your business
If you use keywords which are related to your business industry you will help your search engine rankings. What's even better is if you can get your actual business name or a name similar to your company name as your domain name, this way all your off-line branding will pay off online as Internet users should be able to guess your domain name from your business name.
This means you should avoid choosing domain names that already have similar counterparts online, if you choose one of these people could end up on your competitors site rather than yours because they got confused over the two domain names.
.com is best
You should always aim for the .com version of a name, that's what most people will go to after doing a search or after typing something directly into their address bar, if you register .tv or .net or any of the other available extensions and your competition has the .com version then you've just lost a potential customer.