5-MINUTE WORKSHOP #10613-002

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Picking a Great Domain Name

OVERVIEW: Beyond all the techno-babble behind dot-com, dot-net and dot-org, there are only two types of Domain names you should take the time to understand: Human friendly names and Search Engine friendly names. Both serve a very specific purpose and it's wise to have one of each.

You've been told that all the "good" Domain names have been taken. To a certain extent this generality is true, but obviously you can't throw in the towel and ignore the issue. So what should you do? This workshop will explain why this generality does NOT apply to you and how to pick a great Domain name in today's market.

Two types of visitors will visit your Web site—Humans and Search Engines. Although your ultimate visitor will be a live person in need of your product or service, how he or she gets to your Web site is what you need to understand and control.

If you follow the simple rules presented in this workshop, you can double, triple or even quadruple the number of visitors to your site.

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In simple terms, a Domain name (a.k.a., a Web address or URL) is the text equivalent of the numeric address issued to you when you decide to make your Web site available to the world. In other words, instead of telling you to go to (the numeric IP address for 5-Minute Workshops), we can tell you to go to www.5minuteworkshops.com.

As you can see the text version is easier to remember, easier to type, and easier to share.

A Domain name can be up to 63 characters long followed by '.com' or '.net' or '.org' (for a total of 67 characters). The "http://www." is not considered part of your Web Address.

Only letters, numbers and hyphens are valid characters in a Domain name. Domain names cannot begin or end with a hyphen, and consecutive hyphens are not allowed. You can use upper and lower case characters, which can help make your Domain name easier to read and remember.

NOTE: Spaces and special characters are NOT allowed in Domain names. Special characters include, but are not limited to: ! @ # $ % ^ & * ( ) \ ; ' " < > ?

Examples of valid Domain names:

    justaboutanything.com  or  JustAboutAnything.com

The examples above all end with '.com'. They could just as well end with '.net' or '.org'. There are other extensions (a.k.a., Top Level Domain—TLD) but it is always best to go after the grand-daddy of them all—'.com'.

Everywhere you turn, you hear dot-com this and dot-com that. Most people habitually type and say '.com'. If you do use anything other than '.com', make absolutely, positively sure the '.com' version of your Domain name isn't the address to one of your competitors.

That being said, your primary Domain name (the human friendly one you plan to give out and advertise), should be as short as possible. In addition to being short, your Domain name should be easy to read, type, spell, and say & hear.

For instance, face.com is easy enough to read, easy to type (all the keys are clustered together), easy to spell (F A C E), and not difficult to say & hear (F can sometimes sound like S over the phone or across the room). Although it's difficult to avoid all the little negative nuances, you can keep them to a minimum now that you know what to look for.

So close and yet so far—keep in mind that a mistyped Domain name stops a visitor at the front door. It appears to them that you don't exist or that you're out of business. One mistyped character equals a lost opportunity.

You should use a long Search Engine friendly Domain name to achieve better positioning on the Search Engines—because some Search Engines give priority to sites that have keywords in the Domain name versus only in the Web page titles and typical metatags (information about metatags can be found in the Search Engine workshops). Since no one will be typing in this name (visitors will be clicking on links found on the Search Engine results pages), you can toss out the rules of easy to read, type, spell and hear. With Search Engine friendly Domain names, it's more important for them to be filled with the highest priority keywords from your keyword list.

Your keywords are words that your prospects or target market (NOT your friends, colleagues and industry insiders) would most likely use.

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Always go after a Domain name that ends with '.com'. When '.com' isn't available and the owner isn't a competitor (perhaps they're in a different region or industry), you can go with '.net' and use reciprocal links. This is where they add a link from their Web site to yours and you add a link to their site from yours. With this kind of arrangement you benefit from their marketing as well as your own.

Keep your Human friendly Domain name short, easy to read, type, spell, and say & hear.

If you use a long Search Engine friendly Domain name, review the keywords that are best for your target market and use them in your Domain name as much as possible. Also, as soon as possible, you should navigate/direct visitors coming from Search Engines to your Human friendly Domain name. The most important reason for this is NOT brand recognition. It's in case the Search Engine visitor decides to share your site with others. It is much easier to share the short, easy to read, type, spell and hear name, rather than the error prone long name.

Remember one of the key ingredients of success: Make it as easy and error free as possible to do business with you.

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ih2k ref: Supports dedicated, short Human friendly and long Search Engine friendly Domain names.

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