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Choosing a domain name | What is hosting? | Country codes

How to choose a domain name?

The very first rule is: if *yourname*.com is available, get it! This is the first address that comes to mind when people think about your company's presence on the net. This is the first thing they will type into the address bar, and you wouldn't want them to end up on your competitor's web site, would you?

If *yourname*.com is not available, take *yourname*.net. This is the second most visited extension. Keep an eye on the *yourname*.com extension, and if it becomes available, register it. The best bet is to register both *yourname*.com and *yourname*.net. Then over 99% of surfers will find your site with ease. If you cannot get a .com name, make sure to advertise your site not as *yourname*, but as *yourname*.net. Emphasize the extension, so less people make a mistake of typing in a wrong address.

What if neither *yourname*.com, nor *yourname*.net is available? If your company is a non-profitable organization, you might also want to register *yourname*.org. For instance, the most known Open Source web sites have a .org extension:,, etc. People expect such organizations to have a domain with .org extension.

What if none of these domains are available? If you want to stick to your site name no matter what, then think of getting a country-specific domain extension. For example, if you operate a local Canadian company, then getting a .ca extension might be a good choice. Your customers would prefer to deal with a your company if your services are offered locally more than with some company in Europe or Australia. Wouldn't you rather look for your local restaurant or club when you want to order food or reserve a table, as opposed to browsing some .com site if the company does not operate in your city? Even more specific, if you only operate in one province, you can register a province extension. For instance, if you are situated in Manitoba, Canada, you can choose *yourname* domain. Many telephone providers prefer these extensions. Take a look at a list of country codes.

One other variant is to add "the" or "my" to the domain name. I would not recommend "my" - it will make your company look unprofessional. Adding "the" is better, but then you would have to advertise your company emphasizing "the" every time when mentioning your domain name. Or alternatively, you may add "e-" to the beginning of a site name, again mentioning it when you advertise your business.

Hyphenation is another alternative, but some people find it annoying and hard to type in. I personally would not recommend it.

If you don't have your business name yet, then choose your domain name first. Remember, it's best to have *yourname*.com for your site name. If your desired business name is taken, try thinking of putting together pieces of several words. Suffixes like "com", "ex", "tel", "ium" as well as "ant", "ent" and "int", are the most common ones. You can completely make up a word, like Google did. Try looking at other languages and encorporating a translation of the word or just a part of it into your company name.

As far as the length of a domain name, - it can be up to 67 characters. It is obviously better to find a short, easily-remembered word, but unfortunately, most of English short words are already registered. If you are unable to find a short word for a name, then a long descriptive name consisting from several words, is better than a meaningless acronym. Optimally, try making your domain name maximum 2-3 words. Otherwise it will be hard to type in, and your competitors might use your visitor's typos to get them to their sites by registering a domain name with one letter different from your domain name. Descriptive names can also be found easier, since search engines can index them better. (You don't think, your customers will type in "gwsc" into a search engine as opposed to "great west service company", do you? Chances are, they will not remember this acronym.)

And the last and very important point: never change a domain name! You will lose sales and many visitors. Your customers associate your domain with you. If they find somebody else's site under that domain name, most likely, they are not going to take time to find where your site moved. Search engines will also need time to reindex the site at your old domain name, so search results will still lead people to your old web site for a while. Think carefully when choosing your domain name, so you would not change your mind in a year and have to face all this trouble of changing all your business cards, advertisements and losing sales.

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Choosing a domain name | What is hosting? | Country codes

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