Domain names are to websites as book covers are to novels. If they are not interesting enough, or don’t properly convey what a website is about, visitor will have no desire to enter them in their browsers. Yet, excessive creativity doesn’t make for a good domain name either. Why is this so? It’s because if a domain name is creative but not keyword-rich, search engine bots won’t be able to index it in search engine listings. So, ultimately, your domain name must be both catchy yet search engine optimized. This article will explain how you can achieve both objectives.
First and foremost you will need to find a popular search engine keyword that can be incorporated into your domain name. A keyword analyzer can help you in this task. These can be found pretty easily with a basic search engine query. When you find one, enter in a keyword that best summarizes the purpose of your website. The keyword analyzer will return different versions of this keyword. If the more specific instances can also fit within the nature of your website, choose one. This is because when it comes to search engine optimization, more specific keywords are better since they are less likely to be used by other webmasters.
Now you can start selecting your actual domain name. Most domain name companies will allow you to see whether or not your domain name is available. If it is not available, it will return a list of recommended domain names. Take advantage of this tool by first entering your selected keyword. If your keyword as a domain name is not available, consider the suggestions the domain name company gives. If the main keyword is still included in these suggestions and it ends with .com, consider it. Otherwise, you will have to be more creative.
For example, you can use ‘filler’ words, numbers or phrases within your domain name to still include your selected keyword. Fillers could be ‘a,’ ‘an’ or ‘the.’ Search engines tend to not look at these words, so you still have a good shot at getting indexed while having a domain name that is memorable and catchy. You can also consider fillers at the end of a phrase, such as ‘101’.
What if you do these things and you still can’t get .com?
Well, there are some situations where it is better to stick with a lesser-used extension because the keyword is just that popular. Extensions that still get noticed include .net, .biz and .org. Additionally, you can also consider using country or state-based extensions if you don’t mind international or local-based marketing. It’s better to be number 1 in France’s version of Google than to be number 200 or worse in America’s version of Google.
Choosing a domain name that will get the right buzz from both humans and search engines doesn’t have to be hard. The keyword analyzer will help you with 90% of your domain name, while your wit with fillers can help you the other 10%. And, if after an immense amount of pondering, you still can’t get the .com, you can opt for other extensions.
Domain Names 101
Without a domain name, websites are specified by an IP address. What is an IP address? It is an identifier that is used by computers or humans to determine the location of a server or website. However, for humans, an IP address, (which is expressed in a numerical format), can be difficult to remember. This is why domain names were invented. With a domain name, a human can locate a website through more user-friendly words or phrases. And although numbers can be a part of a domain name, they usually do not make up all of it, like what is seen with an IP address.
In terms of format, domain names have several parts. The first part is known as the URL, (which stands for Uniform Resource Locator). The URL tells the browser what the domain name is going to point to. This will usually be ‘http’, which means the browser can expect to locate a hypertext document. In layman’s terms this means webpage. In the rare cases the URL is not ‘http’ it may be ‘ftp’, which means file transfer protocol. A webmaster would opt to use ftp if they would like visitors to download files from their server.
The second part of the domain name will be “www,” which stands for “World Wide Web.” This phrase lets computers and humans know the site the domain name is pointing to is indeed from the Internet. It is followed by the actual domain name, which can be a combination of letters, numbers or phrases. A good domain name will be short, memorable and most importantly, search-engine friendly. In fact, good webmasters tend to concentrate more on a domain name’s effectiveness with SEO, (or Search Engine Optimization), than they do its creativity. To do this they make sure to choose a domain name that has a widely searched keyword.
The final portion of the domain name has what is known as an extension. This lets a person know a little bit more about a website’s origins. For example, take .com, the most common domain name extension. It stands for ‘commercial’, and was originally intended for organizations in that vein. However, now the extension is used by virtually anyone looking to create a website. And this is for good reason, since most web surfers will think about the .com before they would think about .org, .biz or .net. Yet, don’t think the other extensions can’t become memorable either. Consider Wikipedia.org which is a wildly popular website despite its .org extension.
Domain name extensions can also specify things on a geographical level. An example are country-based extensions such as .fr, (which stands for France), or .jp, (which stands for Japan). They can also be state-based, such as .ca, (which stands for California). Both can serve as excellent tools for localized Internet marketing.
To get a domain name, a person can either: 1) get one from their web hosting company, provided they offer that service or 2) get one from a separate domain name company. Price-wise things will vary with both options, though typically the cost will range from $6.50 to $35.
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