how to:Choosing a domain name

Choosing the right domain name can be an arduous task, even for the most experienced business owners or developers. You will hear many things from so-called pros, who will probably confuse you with industry jargon or make useless suggestions. What should you do? Should you listen to a professional with years of experience behind them and accept their advice at face value? Short answer, yes and no; by all means you should listen to their advice as it can prove invaluable but putting your own touch into your brand or site is very important.

You’ve probably already been searching for an available domain name, and no doubt having trouble finding anything decent, or someone has taken your ideal domain. Don’t fret too much, there are a number of options open to you but before we look into those, you should think how your customers and clients will see your brand. Is the domain name memorable? The less people have to type the better as people are notoriously lazy, so keep it short and relevant.

No doubt you’ve heard people in the domain industry brag on about having huge portfolios of keyword domains, selling domains for thousands of dollars each, but are they worth that much? They can be depending on the niche, but Domainers (people who buy and sell domain names) can sometimes have big egos, and want to make as big an ROI (Return on Investment) as possible, they will enjoy hyping their portfolio and might not always be so helpful.

What is a keyword domain? A keyword domain, relates to a common item, location or service for example; storage containers, home stereos, suitcases or plumbing services to name but a few. Will a keyword domain help me? It could, depending on your niche but it won’t always help brand awareness, you want people to remember your brand, not just your URL.

Hopefully these tips will give you a better idea of your needs and maybe helped you find your domain. There is one last obstacle you need to overcome, buying your domain. You might find that your desired domain has been taken, if it is don’t worry it isn’t the end of the world. Check to see who’s using the domain, if it’s in use and what it’s being used for, as you need to make sure you won’t have Trademark issues. If it’s not in use or parked, you can check to see if your domain is available in another extension. It’s likely the .com owner and your visitors won’t mind you using a .net or .countrycode domain, you might even save on registration costs, so don’t be afraid to look into alternatives.

Before you go ahead and register your domain in an alternate extension, consider the possibility that the .com owner may be willing to sell the domain to you for a fair price. Use a whois tool to find their contact information, sometimes you may have to go to the registrars website and enter a captcha code in order to see contact information. Once you have their details, send them an email or maybe even call them, it can’t hurt to try.

You should also check domain auction sites to find out if they’re offering it for sale, you may be able to make an offer through there. Another option, is to hire a 3rd party broker to negotiate for you but this could incur extra costs. If you’re negotiating yourself, remember that prices will probably be inflated, so start low but make sure it’s enough to tempt them to negotiate down, it’s just like haggling for a preowned car or at a yard sale.

Another option if it all seems a bit much for you, is to check out the reseller market such as domain forums, where domains are sold to other Domainers at reduced prices. You can often find nice little gems here and not have to pay end-user prices, so savings can be huge if you are on a limited budget. Another tip to consider is checking out what’s known as closeout auctions. These are usually located on the registrars website, here they auction expiring/dropping domain names at minimal cost. Once you’ve registered run a search for what you want, usually you can also search by extension or length. Keep in mind you may have to bid against others just like on eBay, particularly if the domain you want is desirable and you may also have to pay registration cost as well as your bid amount.

Finding a domain name can be an intimidating prospect to the layman, but if you take onboard some of the tips mentioned in this article, you should be well on your way to establishing your online presence and perhaps even have save some much needed money.