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Domain Name Do's & Dont's

Domain Name Do's & Dont's Here are 13 general domain name DO's and DONT's tips. Some of these tips may be of some benefit to you. Save or print them and use them as a checklist when registering your next domain name.

1. DO know the domain name format. Domain names can generally be between 2 and 63 characters long (not including the extension), and contain the characters a-z, 0-9 and '-' (hyphen). Domain names cannot start or end with '-' (hyphen). Domain names are not case sensitive and should generally be displayed in all lowercase. You can now also register multi-lingual domain names.

2. DO know your target audience. Choose domain names that are appropriate for them. Depending on who you are targeting this could mean choosing names that sound sincere, cool, current, active, professional, or that use key words from the industry for example.

3. DO keep domain names short and simple. Generally, the shorter the domain name the easier it is to remember or write down, and the less chance of users noting and remembering it incorrectly. Restrict the domain name to one, two or three words at most. (The one exception to this is the next tip). All other things being equal, give preference to words with fewer syllables and words that are easy to pronounce. Short is good, but don't use difficult to remember acronyms, such as qmxf.

4. DO register a long domain name containing a list of relevant words for your web site to achieve a higher ranking in some search engines. Several of the major search engines rank web sites much higher if the search terms are contained in the domain name. You can use up to 63 characters to create a long domain name with keywords and automatically redirect visitors to the real web site. Some registrars offer the redirect service as standard in their price.

5. DO use the appropriate pluralization. For example, newhomes.com is probably better than newhome.com if the web site is not relating to "a" particular home.

6. DO use words that can be visualized. Vision is the strongest of human senses. Even better, use words that involve several of the 5 senses. This usually involves choosing more common nouns (names or objects), verbs (actions), and adjectives (descriptions). For example, the word "fire" is easily imagined. It includes strong cues in four of the five senses - visual (red and yellow flames), auditory (crackling and other noises), feeling (heat), and smell (smoke).

7. DO plan for the future. If you are planning on releasing other products or services from this domain name in the future then don't limit the relevance to the initial product or service. That being said Internet marketing experts believe that your web site should have only one subject or focus. All products or services listed on the web site should be related. A web site with a broad focus is not as appealing to someone who is looking for particular information.

8. DO use a domain name search program (such as Mozzle http://www.mozzle.com, or Domain Questor http://www.internet-soft.com) to generate your domain names. There are some great free and shareware programs available, and several include advanced word and character combinations and other features far beyond those that web based services provide. For example, Mozzle contains an automatic thesaurus, acronyms, alternative domain name spellings, trademark searches, a pattern search and so on. Check out a few of these software tools and decide which is best for you.

9. DO register the domain name in the correct global or country level domain. For universal appeal use a .com, .org, or .net domain. For local appeal use an appropriate domain in your country, such as .co.uk or .org.au. Note that many domains have restrictions on what domain names can be registered. In some domains you can only use a name that is derived from a registered business or organization name.

10. DO check that you are not infringing on an existing trademark or other name that rightfully belongs to another company or individual. An available domain name does not necessarily give you the right to register and use it.

11. DON'T use hyphens between words if possible. A domain name with hyphens is harder to describe when said aloud. It is commonly accepted that a domain name with multiple words does not include hyphens.

12. DON'T use confusing spelling. If your domain is targeted at a worldwide audience then stay away from words that are spelt differently throughout the world, such as words ending in ize(US)/ise(UK). This also applies to many words that have different meanings throughout the world. Some common English words are even offensive in other languages.

13. DO

N'T choose domain names that are very similar to others if possible. After all, you want customers coming to you, not your competitors! An exception to this rule is if you register the domain name of a commonly mis-spelt word, in the hope of catching additional customers. Like any brand name, logo, or trademark, your domain name represents part of your business identity. Customers will associate it with your particular product, service, company and so on, if you name it correctly. Remember that you domain name will probably be used for several purposes, including your web site, email address, and possibly an ftp or other server. It will be an integral part of your marketing campaign. If your domain name can be easily remembered then you will attract more customers. People will use your web site or email address to get immediate and convenient access to the information or service that you are providing. Domain names are portable. You can move physical address, change phone numbers, change Internet service providers, change the company that hosts your web site, and still keep the same domain name. This provides an extremely flexible method of keeping in touch with your customers and users. Good luck getting the domain name you want!

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