Understand Domain Names
It all begins with the domain name. Your online business life begins with getting the right domain name. Getting the right domain name can make a huge difference. It’s similar to location in Real Estate. Here are some tips for choosing a domain name.
- Shorter is better than longer
That said, really short domain names like one to four, even five characters, are very, very hard to find, and you may pay a premium price for them. These typically are considered “Premium Domains” because their value is so great.
The more memorable you can make your domain the better off you will be. When someone sees it on the back of your work vehicle, will they remember it when they return home? Sometimes abbreviations or acrostics work – and sometimes they do not. So be careful that when you shorten or abbreviate that you do not loose the memory factor.
- Make it as close to your business name, business genre, or branding as possible.
For example, what cleaning company would not die for officecleaners.com? Don’t get too excited… I checked. It’s taken. But if you can come up with something similar that is relatively short, and memorable, grab it!
- What if a domain name is taken. Is all lost?
Not necessarily. At least, not forever. You can use our domain name backorder service to grab names down the line. Here’s what happens often. There’s a great domain name, and someone has an idea they will use it … or maybe they just think someone else will pay big bucks for it, so they buy it. When their plans do not materialize, often they let the domain expire. You have a couple of options.
- Approach the owner and make an offer to buy the domain now or
- Backorder the domain and hope they get tired of waiting
A customer of mine did this. The dot-com domain they wanted was taken, so they got the dot-net version, and spent just a few bucks to backorder the dot-com. Low and behold, about 15 months later, he began getting offers from people to sell the domain to him … which I advised him to resist, since none of the offering parties actually owned the domain. They were domain scalpers. They look for expiring domains, match them with companies or entities they think may be interested, and try to broker a deal, making a profit. They do not invest a dime until a fish (like you) bites. But my client had already purchased the backorder, so the second the domain expired, the backorder service grabbed it for him.
- Multiple word domains are GREAT for SEO
If you can string two or three words together that make a memorable phrase, the search engines love it. One of the things that help you in the search engines is called subject agreement. Subject agreement simply means that you have agreement between elements like the URL or domain name, the page title tag, the description tag, the keywords tag, h1 tags in the body ( an h1 tag is an HTML term referring to text marked as “headings”), and actual content. The more agreement you have the better off you are. Another thing that helps with this agreement is when link anchor text (like the blue underlined text you see on this page) also agrees. That’s why text-ads are often so much more valuable in advertising on the net than great looking graphic ads.An example of multiple word domain names is MyOwnWebHostingBusiness.com. Grant it, it is a little long. But is there any doubt what the subject is? Can you see that if someone was searching on how to have their own web hosting business, this might pop up in the search? Do you see how we employed the power of using relevant keyword rich anchor text for the second link in this paragraph?
Have you wondered about those last letters after the period or “dot”, or even the letters that precede the first period? What do they mean? Well, let’s take a look at the anatomy of a domain name. This will help you understand domain names
- Text Case
- Did you notice in the picture above there is a mixed case – that is, some capital letters, some lower case letters? Domain names are NOT case sensitive. It is important to point out two things. First, depending on the web server settings, everything after the dot-com MAY be case sensitive. Secondly, because the domain name itself is not case sensitive, for marketing and readability, it’s perfectly fin to mix case. For example, there’s a website called Mountaintop Christian Store. The owner selected the domain name, “mountaintopchristian.com”. It’s a little long and hard to read, but making the “M” and “C” capital letters, it looks better and is readily readable as if the words were separated by a space—MountaintopChristian.com
- The most common protocol is the one you see pictured above – http://. The letters mean hyper text transport protocol. If you see an “S” added – like this, https:// it simply means that the transport is happening over a secure channel. Not all websites use the “S” or secure channel. If you are shopping or working with any information that needs some security, you will want to look for this. But note, httpS is not the only way to provide security. You may occasionally see other protocols. For example, if you get a little deeper into the internet you may have occasion to use “ftp” or file transfer protocol which would be designated as ftp://.
- Sub Domain
- This part, the sub domain, is often but not always optional. The most typical sub domain is “www”, but it really can be anything someone creating a site wants. Often, to maintain a consistent branding and domain, you will see a company use sub-domains for various parts of their company, such as
service.companyname.com. In this instance, go figure, this company’s service department can me accessed using the “service” sub-domain. You may want to use a sub domain for various parts of your online efforts – for example,
- This is the “pay load” – the part you are branding with.
- Top Level Domain
- The TLD, or Top Level Domain refers to the portion of the name that is often, but not always, indicative of the type of site or organization behind it. You see, the internet was not invented at all for the way it is used today. It was originally a military communication system. Eventually, it was adopted by academia and by research outfits. So the original use was pretty logical. The ubiquity of the net, and commercial use were never in the original plan. Today, one organization rules over the use of TLD’s as well as the registration of domain names. It is called ICANN. They are like the planet wide Secretary of State office for Domain Name Registration. Our organization serves like a satellite office. You can not actually register a domain directly from ICANN. You go to a registrar or an agent or affiliate of a registrar such as 30fold Domains.Some common TLD’s are
.com – spoken as dot-com, typically designating a commercial site
.org – an organization – but then, face it, almost any entity can qualify as an organization.
.edu – this one remains restricted. You must be a certified post-secondary educational facility to get one of these.
.gov – this one too. Restricted. Hopefully obvious, at least to English speaking people. Government.
.mil – Military. Ditto.
.net – once used only for “internet” bodies, like domain registrars before they were a large commercial enterprise – back when Network Solutions was the only game in town. Kind of like the AT&T deregulation and break up story.Today there are many new TLD’s, like .info, .name, and a host of two letter TLD’s that designate a country. You know the cool one, “.tv” being used commercially to indicate a television related or video related entity? Well, not in reality. .tv stands for Tuvalu Island. ICANN created a two letter TLD based on the international two letter codes – for example, .us for United States. Tuvalu Island had no need for its own TLD, so they figured out how to make some money from it. If you think creatively you can do some neat things with these new extensions, like ItsAllAbout.me. Guess what, at least as this is being written, you can own ItsAllAbout.me. You can bid on it via GoDaddy Auctions.
To get started, you will want to search and see if the domain name you want is available. If it is not you may be able to find information on the current owner using a whois service. But sometimes the owners do not want to be found and will hide their information. When registering a domain through 30fold Domains you can purchase such privacy as you register your domain, or you can add it on to a domain name you purchased previously.