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When you want to start a new Internet business, an all-important question is, What domain name should I choose?“What should my domain name be?”

I’ve discovered a secret to choosing a domain name, so read on!

Your domain name is important because it is considered in Search Engine Optimization (SEO). So, if your domain name contains words that people search for, your website may appear higher on the list of results.

Another reason that your domain name is important is that it should be easy to remember. This helps people return and tell their friends about it.

The 3 domain name types

But using keywords is not the only way to go. In fact there are 3 types of domain names and any one of them can succeed.

 Type  Description  Examples Advantages Disadvantages
Your name Used when a business is based on one’s ideas,  creativity, work. Use when you want to become an Internet star! johnassaraf.com, markvictorhansen.comellenfinkelstein.com Creates a personal connection, lets you become a well-known personality. Ideal for authors, musicians, etc. Hard to sell, may seem small and less professional
Keywords Contains keywords that people search for, related to your business problogger.net, bigstockphoto.com Helps SEO, yo can sell it, more professional if you want to go big Impersonal, doesn’t create a connection with you
Trade name An easy-to-remember trade name Amazon, Yahoo, Google. Easiest to sell, easy to remember. May have coolness value. Hard to choose the right one, most short names are taken, you may have to buy one.

For most people starting a 1-person business, I recommend either type 1 or 2. Use your name if you want to become an Internet star! Otherwise, use keywords.

The secret to a great domain name

Let’s say that you decide to use keywords. But your keywords aren’t available! I recommend always (or almost always) going with .com for a domain name, so forget trying .net or anything else–.com is just to automatic with Internet surfers.

Here’s my secret technique!

  1. Come up with 2 great keywords that make a good phrase.
  2. Add a 3rd word that isn’t related, but is general enough to apply to almost anything.

For example, a friend/student wanted a website on Internet Marketing. It’s a tough one, because so many other people want that topic, too. I realized that there were 4 synonyms:

  1. Internet marketing
  2. Web marketing
  3. emarketing
  4. online marketing

So we looked for a 3rd word that she could add to any of these. We ended up with “star.” Her final choice was www.webmarketingstar.com. That’s an excellent domain name. It’s clear what it refers to, will help her SEO, is easy to remember, and sounds great!

Here are some words you can add:

  • mastery
  • success
  • star
  • peak
  • autopilot

What words do you think could apply to a lot of different websites? How did you choose your domain name? Leave a comment!

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    2 replies to "How to choose a domain name"

    • Lee Starshine

      Thanks for this informative article, Ellen! Choosing a domain name is a toughie. You need something that reflects well on your business, isn’t already taken (or can be purchased for a reasonable fee), is easy to remember, and has SEO qualities. Also, just like your company name, you don’t want something that’s easily mixed up with another brand (if possible). I like how you provided examples. I have another domain name, NewsletterGal.com, which was great when I was just 1 lady, but it limited my business to one person and one product (newsletters). You mentioned this type of problem in your table comparing different domain names. I kept the old domain name, but Web Marketing Star is way better for offering lots of different Internet Marketing Services.

    • Ellen Finkelstein

      Lee, great additional points! I think that your experience with newslettergal.com is common–people start a website and then grow or change and the name doesn’t represent what they do anymore.

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