Thursday, October 26, 2006

Day 4

It's been a very busy day to say the least. I am only about 10 hours behind tonight. It's one of those days where life happens, and it takes priority. Parent teacher interviews, early school dismissal, teenage angst and drama. Oh yeah, it was my turn to make dinner tonight too. So, after all this was said and done, I read a few blogs, made some comments, and then spent time writing on a topic I have been spending a lot of time on. Domain registration.

Domain registration is the first and most important step in setting up your online presence. If you’re registering a domain name for your own personal use, or if you are in the process of becoming the next great web entrepreneur this is where the process begins. This domain name or name(s) will be your brand, or what your visitors will remember you by. Your domain name must be easy to remember, easy to spell, and tells the visitor what your website is about. A good name in itself will help your visitors find you again and again. Sounds easy right? Well not necessarily. There are millions of people just like you that are trying to establish a web presence by registering their own little piece of cyberspace.

So, how do you find a good cheap domain name that fits all the criteria discussed above? Sometimes it will take hours to sift through the names, or sometimes by the luck of the draw a domain name that someone else has previously purchased has expired. What makes this task even more daunting are the speculators. Just like in real estate, where there isn’t an endless supply of property, there is not an infinite amount of cyberspace especially in the top level domains such as .com, .biz, .net or .org. These speculators hoard internet domain names, and attempt to sell them at a profit. Some make a great living purchasing cheap domain names, and sell these domains they registered at hundreds, if not thousands of times the original purchase price. You need to focus on simplicity, have a brainstorming session, think about your site, think about what you’re attempting to accomplish, and the theme of your website. You can be creative with your name, and sometimes out of necessity you may have to substitute words and numbers such as the number 4 instead of the word “for”. Short forms for words work as well such as “u” instead of the word “you”. Just remember keep it simple, watch out for getting too involved in text lingo, unless of course that is your target market. Another caveat, be careful of double letters in multi-word domains. This site, has the double letter “s” in it. It can confuse potential visitors to the site. It was an acceptable domain for me, since the word “slashed” is such an attention getter. Just remember this - when anyone types in a domain name - .com is almost automatic.

After you have brainstormed your list of possible domain names to register, find yourself a reputable domain registration service - many can be found on this page. Once you a domain registration service you are happy with, start trying the domains, one at a time to see which domain names are available. Some of the so called experts say you should, if you can register all the top level domains with your name. For example, if you attempt to register , you would register all the other domains as previously mentioned (.net, .org, .biz). This will ensure a lock on the market and the speculators would be locked out, preventing them from receiving any spillover traffic that was meant for your site. This leads to another issue. This site is called anyone can register any deviation of the name, or miss-spelling, in hopes to steal traffic. The bottom line, be protective of your domain, and try to register as many combinations as you can, all the more reason to find cheap domain names.

Are you still skeptical of registering your own domain? Free domains and free hosting are everywhere, but how do you think that impacts your sales or traffic? These services will place advertising on your site to help cover the costs of providing the service too you. Having your own domain registered, and your own site, will allow you total control of what appears on your website, eliminating all the “noise” that can distract your visitors and cause them to leave. It allows you to focus entirely on what you want to do. You will score better in search engines, and allow you to specifically market your domain.

It's lots to consider, and with a little luck and determination, you will find just the domain you need.

Have you had any bad experience with domain registration? Feel free to leave your experience in the comments.

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