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Choosing Your Domain Name

Back in the early days of the World Wide Web, it wasn’t too difficult to get any domain name you wanted. Today, it’s a different story. It’s pretty much impossible to get a good one-word .com domain name, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to get good names with other extensions.

But if you’re choosing targeted niches, one-word domain names probably aren’t your best bet anyway. They don’t have much SEO value, because Internet users don’t often do searches for just one word. They are more likely to search for phrases, so domain names that contain those phrases are better choices. If you can snag a domain name that contains your targeted keywords, you’ll have an easier time getting good search engine rankings.

A domain name shouldn’t be too long, though. If it is, it will be hard to remember. It’s true that most visitors will click on a link from another site or bookmark your site if they’re interested, but if someone hears your domain name and wants to visit, wouldn’t you want him to be able to do so? If he can’t remember it, you miss out on a potential sale. For the same reason, it’s wise to avoid using abbreviations, numbers in place of words (“4u” instead of “for you,” etc.), and words that are difficult to spell.

There is some debate as to whether you should use hyphens in domain names. At one time, it appeared that search engines favored domains with hyphens between the words when ranking for the keyword phrase appearing in the domain name. But today, it doesn’t really appear to make a difference. Now the most common reason for using hyphenated domains is to get a name that is already taken in the non-hyphenated form. As long as you don’t use more than one or two hyphens, it shouldn’t have too much of an impact on your type-in traffic.

As far as extensions go, it’s a good idea to try for a .com domain first. Even today, it’s the most familiar extension to the average Internet user. But if you absolutely can’t get a good .com for your niche, try another extension. .net is a good one, and .org gives the impression that your site is trustworthy (even though anyone can get an .org domain). If you’re promoting products that are seen on TV, a .tv extension is perfectly acceptable.

If you get a really good domain, it might be to your advantage to get several forms of it. Hyphenated, non-hyphenated, .com, and .net are good variations to have. You might even consider purchasing common misspellings of your domain. There’s no need to do this for every domain, but if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on one that contains a frequently searched keyword phrase, it could be worth the cost.

A good domain name can certainly have a positive impact on your traffic. The pool of available domains is constantly shrinking, but with a little creativity you can come up with something that’s both memorable and appealing to the search engines.

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