Selecting a proper domain name is one of the first important steps when starting an online business. In the online community, your domain name actually represents the name and reputation of your business, so choosing a domain name for your website is just as important as choosing your business name.
The first step to selecting a domain name is to brainstorm a list of possible domain names for your business. Ideally, your domain name should contain your business name, if possible. Customers who remember your business name can then return to your website easily by entering the URL of your website on their browser.
If it's not possible to register a domain name that contains your business name (because it has already been registered), then you need to include your business keywords in the domain name. These keywords should describe what your business does, or what products your business sells.
For example, if you plan to sell rare gemstones, you can register domain names like ‘uniquegemstones.com' or ‘raregemsonline.com'. These domain names contain the word ‘gem', which describes your business.
Another reason why you must include your business keywords in your domain name is that search engines will rank your website higher if your domain name contains the keywords you want to optimize your site for. You'll benefit from a higher stream of targeted visitors from Google, Yahoo or MSN when visitors search for your keywords.
For instance, a website with the domain name ‘webtuitionservices.com' is likely to rank higher than ‘tuition4you.com', for the keywords ‘tuition services', all else being equal.
Additionally, keep your domain name short and catchy. If your business name is too long and complicated, first-time visitors to your site may have a hard time remembering your URL, and cannot return to your website for future purchases.
When choosing a domain name, you should always register a ‘.com' URL. The ‘Dot-Com' domain name has become the industry standard, and everyone remembers ‘.com' first before ‘.net'. If you use a ‘.net' or ‘.org', you risk losing potential customers, simply because they assume that your business uses ‘.com'.
Registering The Domain Name
After you've brainstormed a list of possible domain names, you need to check their availability before actually registering them.
An example of where you can determine the availability of a domain name is Register.com, Inc. (http://www.register.com)
You can then proceed to register the domain name you've chosen. Popular domain name registration services like http://www.register.com or http://www.godaddy.com easily come to mind. The costs of registering each domain name can range between a few dollars to less than $20 a year.
Take note that domain name registration and web hosting are two separate services. The domain name registration service only registers your domain name - nothing else.
A web hosting service, on the other hand, allows you to upload your website onto a server so that visitors can view it via HTTP on the internet. The web hosting service comes together with Domain Name Service (DNS), which is the tool that directs visitors to your website when they enter the domain name on their web browser.
Also note that some web hosting services also offer free domain name registration as part of their web hosting package. One such example is PowWeb, Inc. (http://www.powweb.com). Before you register your domain name at http://www.register.com or http://www.godaddy.com, you should decide on your web host first and find out if they offer free domain name registration. This can probably save you a couple of extra dollars for domain name registration each year.
In conclusion, you need to select a domain name that is short and memorable, so that your visitors can easily return to your website another time. Your domain name should also contain either your business name, or the major keywords of your website, to rank higher on the search engines.
Ray Yee is the founder of Dropshipperscentral, a website that provides a wealth of informative articles, guides and resources on everything you'll need to know about setting up and marketing a Drop Ship Business. Click here for the Drop Ship Directory from http://www.dropshipperscentral.com.