|People will sometimes ask you "What's your URL?". URL
an acronym for Universal Resource Locator, but is often
used interchangeably with domain name, Internet address, or web address.
Selecting a domain name, or web address, is the most important
task you will undertake when developing for your website.
Millions of names have already been registered.
They are being registered at a ferocious rate.
If your name or a reasonable alternitive is available reserve it now.
The only characters that a domain name can contain are
letters, numbers, and hyphens. Spaces and other special
characters are not allowed. Domain names are not
case-sensitive, so BestBuys.com and bestbuys.com are the
same name, and can never point to different sites.
Although hyphens are allowed in domains, there is a golden
rule to follow here: It's OK to register a name with
hyphens in, but only if you also register the hyphen-free version.
The reason is simple. Most customers will remember a name
that they have seen advertised on TV or in a magazine, but
forget whether or not it contained hyphens. So if your
site is called Tasty-Cakes.com, a typical web user
recalling the name from memory will just type
TastyCakes.com into their browser. If you haven't
registered the hyphen-free version, you will be losing a
large percentage of customers. And if a competitor is
devious enough to have registered the hyphen-free version
(and they often are) you will be spending advertising
dollars sending your customers to a competitor's site.
Dot com names are the gold standard on the Internet.
Millions of advertising dollars have already been spent
persuading customers that Dot com names are the only names
worth having. The latest web browsers will even default to
Dot com if no extension is specified. Always register the
Dot com version of your name, even if you choose to register others.
But what about other extensions? Dot net, Dot org, Dot cc,
Dot tv, Dot co.uk etc. etc. Which ones should you register?
Our advise is to try and register at least the Dot net
version of your name, possibly the Dot org as well.
And if you are a company operating outside the United
States, you should definitely register your country-specific domain.
For example, in the UK, you would register the Dot co.uk version.
By registering several domain name extensions, you are
preventing namespace dilution. If you owned a site called
TastyCakes.com, and a competitor registered
TastyCakes.co.uk, TastyCakes.net etc. many of your
customers would end up visiting your competitor's site by
Some companies will try to persuade you that you don't
actually need your own domain name, and you can get away
with renting a free sub-directory of their name. So, for
example, if you business is based around silk products,
you could easily get a free domain such as
There are several compelling reasons why you should not
accept such a free offer:
1) By using a free service, you will make a bad first
impression with your customers, and transmit the message
that your website isn't important enough to have its own
name. 2) Free names are inevitably going to be longer, and
hence more difficult to remember, than real ones. 3)
Customers visiting your free site will be subjected to
pop-up boxes containing advertisements and other rubbish.
4) Search engines are starting to give higher priority to
sites which have their own domain names. Some will even
refuse to list sites which don't have their own domains.
Using a free domain is probably the worst mistake that you
can make when setting up your business online. Don't do it.
And generic names need not be limited to single words.
Many people interested in the Thai language for example
will try typing ThaiLanguage.com into their browser before
resorting to the search engine lottery. To summarize,
generic name = free customers.
Having a domain name without web space is like having an
address without a home. This is what hosting is all about,
where your name is parked at a server computer on the
Internet, so that other Internet users can access your website.
Nowadays, it's possible to register a domain well before
you have got a website ready or found a computer to host it
on. You are reserving the name for future use. This is a
great benefit, as it means you can register the name when
you think of it, not when you have found a server to host the site
Your domain name is your identity in the new digital
economy. Be very careful to pick the right domain names for
your business before you go online. Being forced to find a
new identity after launch is a very time-consuming and costly business.
The truth is that a poor choice of name will always reduce
the number of visitors (and hence customers) to your
website. Sure, you can still run a successful online
business with a lousy name, but your business will always
do better with a good name. And what happens when a
competitor comes along with a much better name?
Keep it Simple. Use easy to spell words. Use easy
to pronounce words. Limit names to two words if possible,
three words as an absolute maximum. Remember that the idea
is to create domain names that people can easily remember,
and just as easily type into their browser.
Domain names can now be up to sixty seven characters in
length, but we would never advise you to register a name
anywhere near that. The golden rule of selecting a good
name is short is sweet. Would you like to type a sixty
seven character domain string into a browser? No, and
neither does anybody else.
Register your preferred names now! Otherwise someone else will.
Don't forget that your primary domain name will be used
extensively offline as well as online. It will appear on
your company letterhead, business cards, advertisements in
newspapers, magazines, radio and TV. Your goal should be
to familiarize all your existing customers with your
domain, and plant the name in the minds of new customers.
Now are you getting the idea about how important domain
names really are?
Domain name registration is the process whereby you pay a
fee in order to reserve a name for current or future use.
Each country has its own registration process
and fee structures vary accordingly.
Something that definitely is true about most search engines
is that they list domain names in lower case, whether you
submitted them in lower, upper, or mixed case. So
BeDaring.com would turn into bedaring.com when viewed as
output from a search engine. Please be careful :)
Trademarks are a very complex legal entity, but they are
also a very important mechanism for protecting your
identity online. Take a look at a site like
NameProtect.com who provide an excellent range of
trademark services, including trademark searching,
trademark registration, and a free trademark monitoring
Remember that the names you select will have global
visibility, so use words which people can relate to
globally. BobsAutoMall.com might go down well in the
States, but would be virtually meaningless to UK netizens.
If your domain contains offensive words, don't be surprised
if you end up in deep water, witth many search engines especially
if your website is aimed at a general audience.
Play it safe, and avoid domain names which are 'too' controversial.
ZZZX.com - a rarely visited web site. RentSearch lists
site in alphabetical order in its directory, and poor old
ZZZX.com will not get many visitors from most search engines.
Use it today or in 5yrs but Register It Right