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Business Domain NamesChoosing a domain name for your business shouldn't be taken lightly—it could be one of the most important decisions you'll make regarding your online presence.
Whether you're creating a public relations blog for an offline business or starting your own online business, finding the right domain name in the beginning will pay long-term dividends down the line.
The following domain name buying tips might help you find an ideal domain name for your website or blog.
Raison d'etreThat fancy phrase simply means reason for being. In other words, what's your purpose in having a website?
Is it to establish yourself in a niche? If so, you'll need to do some keyword research to figure out which keywords and keyword phrases are the best traffic magnets.
Are you buying a domain to sell a product? If so, your product name or a variation of the product name should be your domain name.
Ideally, your website's domain should either describe what the website is about, and/or it should include keywords related to the site's purpose.
Whatever you do, don't consider the domain name of this site as a good example ... it was established in 1997, long before most of these "best practices" were established.
A better example is my sister site, i-webmaster.org. It includes a popular keyword in the domain name (webmaster) that has a high degree of relevance to the site's purpose.
PresenceHow important is it to have an exact keyword phrase in your domain? For some websites you may be able to use another similar phrase—but for others you may need the exact phrase.
In the second case, you can try adding hyphens, prefixes or suffixes to your domain name if your exact phrase is taken. This way you'll still be able to use the phrase and establish yourself in the niche. A rule of thumb is to use no more than two hyphens in a domain name. Personally, I don't like having more than one.
PotentialHow big is your website going to grow in the coming months and years? Are you buying a domain name to build a niche mini-site that acts as a feeder site to your money site? Are you looking to build an authority site in your niche?
Your intent for the site can and sometimes should influence the domain name choice. A niche mini-site domain name can be a lot more specific than an authority site. Here's an example of what I mean...
TomatoTips.com is a very niche specific domain that logically limits what your site is about; whereas AllGardenTips.com has the logical leeway to write about all kinds of gardening topics.
PriceYou can get just about any domain name you want if your pockets are deep enough. In most cases though, you'll want to register a new (unregistered) domain name.
New domain names cost anywhere from $7 to $35 depending on where you register it (you can get a free domain name if you host your site with Bluehost, and they're an excellent host).
However, if you have a very specific need and want to buy a domain that is already registered, your only option is to try contacting the domain owner and making an offer to buy it—unless you have a legal claim to the name, then you may be able to wrangle it away with a letter from a lawyer or going through the court systems.
You'll find more detailed domain name advice in this informational article: Find a Domain Name.
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Everyone says all the good domain names are taken. The very best domain names are taken, but there are still plenty of good domain names left.
Domain Name ExceptionsWhile I suggested finding a domain name with a keyword related to your site's content or purpose, the exception might be if you already have a business and want to use your business name.
It's important to realize using an existing business name likely won't rank as well for generic searches unless you happen to have a keyword in your business name.
You see, most searches are generic in nature, that is, they are not brand specific. The Internet is a worldwide market.
However, if you're more concerned with local customers finding your site and aren't concerned with ranking well for generic keywords, or if you're not interested in finding new customers outside of your local area, then using your business name is probably the better way to go.
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