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What's Good For A Domain Name?

By Richard Lowe
Posted Friday, November 19, 2004

I have purchased a lot of domain names for many different reasons. Sometimes the domain name is for a business purchase, such as an ecommerce site. I have purchased many domain names for simple personal reasons, and occasionally the purchase was just to keep someone else from obtaining the name and abusing it.

Personal Domain Names

There are many reasons to get a personal domain name. Sometimes it's vanity, sometimes it's a hobby and occasionally the purpose is more serious and purposeful. No matter what the reason, it's important to get just the right domain name to portray exactly the desired image. Remember, the domain name is one of the first things seen by your visitors, and it tells a lot about you.

Many people like to purchase their name as a .COM address. My friend James Huggins (http://www.jameshuggins.com) has done this, as have my wife (http://www.claudialowe.com) and myself (http://www.richard-lowe.com). This is a a fantastic way to get people who know you (or know of you) to your site. They simply know your name.

If the .COM version is not available, you can check for the other domains: .NET, .INFO, .BIZ, .ORG, .US (for US citizens) or .WS. There are also many country codes available (.TO for Tonga, for example), and occasionally these are available to anyone without restriction. Other times, they are only to citizens of those countries.

In my case, I tried to get the .COM version of my name, but some scum domain name scavenger had purchased it. He would happily sell it to me, he said, for the small sum of $350. Yeah, right. I went ahead and purchased the hyphenated version instead.

A new option which is pretty cool is the .NAME domain name. These are intended for names only, in the format first.last.name or last.first.name. I went ahead and purchased the names of myself (http://richard.lowe.name) and my wife (http://claudia.lowe.name). This makes it very easy to find our personal web sites.

You can also purchase domain names which describe your interests or hobbies. For example, we purchased (http://www.lowefamilychristmas.com) to describe our Christmas experiences, and (http://www.claudiasrecipes.com) to show off Claudia's recipe collection.

I had an idea last year to get something special for my wife on our anniversary (in addition to jewelry, of course - I am not stupid). I decided to purchase some domain names for her - (http://www.iloveclaudia.com) and the .NET, and .ORG versions as well. I loaded the site with other pages and things that had been made for her over the years. A very unique present.

Business Names

So you've been working hard on your web site making it perfect. You've surveyed your market, analyzed their requirements, designed and coded a killer site, and now it's time to cut it loose on the world. It's time to do some promotion. After all, it does not matter how good a site is if no one visits.

An important part of your promotional plan should be the purchase of domain names. You will need at least one, as it's considered extremely unprofessional for a business to have a presence on the internet without one. And with domain names available for $8.95 a year, the lack of one cannot be justified financially.

What kind of domain name should a business acquire?

The business name (of course) - The simplest thing to do is to simply get the name of your business as a domain name. If you cannot get the .COM version, check for the .NET, .ORG, .BIZ or .INFO versions. This is the domain name that would typically be used for marketing and branding purposes.

Hyphenated business name - You can also get the hyphenated business name, if the name is two or more words long. You should only get this if (a) the name is not available in it's unhyphenated version or (b) you bought the non-hyphenated version as well. It's not a good idea to get only the hyphenated version, as this is not something customers normally type in URLs. It is, however, a good idea to purchase the hyphenated version in addition to the non-hyphenated version as sometimes people do type in the hyphens.

Keyword domain names - Another option is to purchase domain names which are keywords which match search engine keywords. For example, if your site sells candy, you could get the domain name candy-chocolate-lollipops.com, candychocolatelollipops.com or something like that. Some search engines do use keywords within domain names to boost the ratings of a site. Some companies like these types of domain names - personally, I feel they are a little tacky and unprofessional.

Product Names - One possible strategy is to purchase domain names for each different product or product classification that you want. You could then set up separate, distinct sites for each of these.

Product Lines - If you company sells distinctly difference product lines, you might want to create different sites for each of them. In this case, you will want different domain names for each one.

Business Units - I've seen some companies which purchase a domain name for each of their different business units.

Other Reasons

There are other reasons to purchase a domain name.

Keeping others from getting the name - Sometimes it's important to purchase a domain name just so someone else will not get it. In this case you might want to purchase "yourcompanysucks.com" and variations of the same (AOL found out the hard way about the importance of this some years ago).

Search Engine Optimization - I've heard that some people purchase a lot of different keyword-style domain names with the objective of linking them all together. This serves to convince search engines link Google that the keywords in the domain names should appear higher in the listings. This is a gray area, as it may be considered search engine spamming.

About the Author
Richard Lowe Jr. is the webmaster of Internet Tips And Secrets at (http://www.internet-tips.net) - Visit our website any time to read over 1,000 complete FREE articles about how to improve your internet profits, enjoyment and knowledge.