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How to Design Web Sites for Internet Marketing (part 2)

2. Domain Name Selection

Ahhh… to have been on the band wagon early and to have purchased all of that virtual real estate. One wonders how those pioneering speculators fared. The rumors of million dollar deals over cocacola.com (registered in 1994), mcdonalds.com (registered in 1994), and generalmotors.com (registered in 1999), ibm.com (registered in 1986), and more; make us wish that we had thought of it first.

Domain Names that Make a DifferenceLaws have been enacted to prevent what is called cybersquatting. Cybersquatting is defined by a United States federal law as registering, trafficking in, or using a domain name with the intent to profit from a trademark belonging to someone else. However this does not prevent individuals, who may not even be aware of the law, from registering such domain names. For example, internationalbusinessmachines.com was registered in 2007 by an individual with a gmail.com email account. The registrant is probably not a representative of IBM. You have to wonder why IBM never registered that domain name.

Saying that all of the good domain names have been taken is like saying all of the good songs have been sung, all of the good books have been written, or all of the good advertising slogans have been used.

Be creative! Think of Google, Amazon, Facebook, eBay, Starbucks, Monster, Apple… etc. The bottom line is that your domain name should be easy to remember, easy to spell, and hopefully (but not necessarily) somehow related to you or your business.

Other domain names such as find-my-dog.com are favored by search engines because the search engines treat hyphens as spaces and a person searching for help in finding their dog, might very well enter “find my dog” as a search phrase. Google, and other search engines, might see the domain name “find-my-dog.com” as a perfect match for this search phrase and would probably rank it higher than “findmydog.com” (all things being equal.) However when you want to tell a potential customer what your domain name is, find my dog.com is easier to remember than find hyphen my hyphen dog.com. My advice is to register both domain names and have them point to the same website that should be hosted as find-my-dog.com.

A common mistake for registering this type of domain name is that the business owner is inclined to look at the domain name from his or her perspective. Find Your Dog seems like a logical choice for a business that searches for lost dogs. However, most potential customers would probably search for “find my dog” if they lost their dog. Don’t despair, just register findyourdog.com (if that’s the name of your business) right along with the other two domain names and have them all point to the same website. It can’t hurt to also register find-your-dog.com. The cost of the domain name is cheap at about $10 per year each so the four domain names as illustrated here would cost the business $40 a year… that’s about 10 lattes a year and the cheapest advertising that you will ever find.

Consider spelling… as well as misspelling. Some of us are happy with “sargent” others type in “sargant” and some use “sgt” – if your domain name is sargentcamo.com, you might want to also register sargantcamo.com as well as sgtcamo.com. Many words have common misspellings and many cybersquatters will take advantage of a popular domain name by registering a common misspelling.

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