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How to Choose a Domain Name

Updated on May 21, 2010

How to Select a Domain Name for Your Internet Business

Selecting a domain name is one of the most important steps in taking your business online. Registering a domain name will give you and your business an online presence. Selecting a poor domain name could be disastrous.

Domain Names - Definition:

A domain name makes up the part of the Uniform Resource Locater or "URL" as it has become known. For example, The url is the address one types into the address bar of your favourite web browser, such as Netscape or Internet Explorer.

The ‘http://' stands for hypertext transfer protocol', which represents a set of rules defined by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) that allows web servers and web browsers communicate and exchange data.

The ‘www' within the url indicates the server or host name within a company and distinguishes it from a companies main Internet or non-web-related servers, such as a local intranet.

A domain name (i.e. ‘yourwebsite') is identifier for an Internet or web server from a single company or institution. For example, the ‘yourwebsite' aspect of the url is considered the Server's name and the ‘.com' is called the top level domain for the website.

Since the ‘http://' and the ‘www.' portions of the url are placed in the address bar of the browser by convention - and are not generally required - this article will not discuss this further. Thus, the most important aspects of selecting a domain name are the domain name server and the top level for the website.

Tips For Choosing and Selecting a Domain Name

Here are the most important components of a good domain name:

  • Short
  • Thematic
  • Keyword-Rich (prominence/density)
  • Branding
  • No Hyphens
  • Easy to Spell/Memorable
  • Dot Com (preferable)

Short - a good domain name should be short, concise and memorable, especially if the reader has to remember it and return back to his or her web browser some time later; too long, and the reader may forget it or misspell it and land on an error page.

Thematic - your domain name should reflect what your site is all about; let the viewer know what to expect.

Keywords - ideally your domain name should contain keyword-rich which describe your general website theme. It should be general and allow for more specific genres through your menus and navigation system. Keyword-rich domain names make for an excellent search engine optimization strategy too, which is beyond the scope of this article.

Branding - why not brand yourself and use your own name if you are an expert in a field of expertise. You could even make your company name your domain name. Your product line or brand could make your domain name.

Hyphenated- with so many good existing domain names already taken, the pressure to start adding extra words or hyphens increases. The problem with hyphens and extra words (i.e. vs are that users may even forget to put them in or even misspell the domain name when attempting to type them in.

Easy Spelling- a good domain name should be easy to spell - best between the fourth and eighth grade level. For example, could easily be typed in as for those who cannot remember ‘i' before ‘e' except after ‘c' rule. And avoiding double consonants too like the the double ‘t' could easily be typed in three times instead of two.

Dot Com or Not?

Not all website end in the dot com extension. If your company is situated in Canada, the the dot ca or ‘.ca' extension would be appropriate. most experts would agree that if you are doing business online, the most reputable top level domain name is still the .com extension - not to mention the most memorable extension used by web users. It is not uncommon for web surfers to type in a keyword like shoppingonline and then just add the .com extension. If your website concerns a non-profit organization the .org extension would be better as it is less likely to convey a commercial feel to any potential surfers or users.


Selecting a good domain name is a cinch when adhering to these basic steps. Following these basic tenets of domain name selection criteria will ensure your online success.

The last and final step once you have selected a short list of keyword laiden domain names is to determine if your potential domain names are available. First, select a short list of well known, industry respected domain name registrars. Visit all of their sites and then pick the domain name registrar that best suites your needs and has all the features you require for total DNS control.

Daniel Tetreault Biography

Daniel Tetreault's writing and online marketing experience includes developing and writing website content for many of his small office/home-based business and internet marketing related weblogs (blogs) and includes several e-commerce websites. He is also an avid writer for several online magazines, forums article center and press releases. Daniel Tetreault is the Director of Business Development for IMG Ventures. He is a frequent contributor to ezines, forums, article directories, online communities. He is an active participant in various Web 2.0 communities and is actively involved in blogging, forums, discussion groups, and video submission.



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    • danieltetreault profile image

      danieltetreault 9 years ago from Nanaimo, British Columbia Canada

      Thanks AEvans. I have looked at your profile and have read many of your Hubs. Great!

      Take care, Daniel.

    • AEvans profile image

      Julianna 9 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      I did not realize this as I have never understood some of it , so this knowledge is great!!!:)

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 9 years ago from Northern California

      Great tips on domain names... now I just need to figure out how to create a domain :)

    • profile image

      Internet Marketing Fundamentals 9 years ago

      Dorsi/Glycdoc:Hey Guys, thanks for taking the time to comment on my hub. It took me a long time to put that Hub together...and much more time actually going through the domain name selection and registration phases. My advice: research, research, and more research.

      Thanks, Daniel Tetreault.

    • Dorsi profile image

      Dorsi Diaz 9 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

      Great advice- I'm in the stage of coming up with a couple domain names so I'm taking my time making sure it's right before I do it- because once you got it that's it!

      Thanks for the great hub!

    • glycodoc profile image

      glycodoc 9 years ago

      Thanks for taking time to post this information - nice hub!