Choosing a Domain Name
materials on this page contain opinions. ArcByte, Inc. does not
warrant that this material is free from errors or omissions.
Furthermore, given the rapidly changing nature of the Internet, this
information could become obsolete without notice or warning. The
information is solely provided to give our customers some information to
consider when choosing a domain name. We highly recommend that you
consider all information available to you before making a decision.
Choosing a domain name can seem like a very
simple process at first. Once you get started and realize the
importance of your domain name, you realize just how complicated the
First, you need to figure out a domain name
that is available. That's a fun process of looking up domain after
*If you want to look and see if a
domain is available but you don't know where to look, fill in the box on
the www.arcbyte.net home page or
Secondly, you need to decide what extension
you are going to register for your domain (.com, .biz, .net,
.whatever). Let's take the two decisions one at a time.
The search for the perfect domain.
Well, let's start with the basic facts of
how people use the Internet. Some people find web sites by typing
something into the Address bar of their website. If they want Papa
and Sons company, they will type papaandsons.com,
papaandsonscompany.com or papaandsonsco.com into the address bar.
So, it's a good idea that if you are Papa and Sons Company that you try to
find a domain like one of those listed above.
HOWEVER, many users find web sites by using
search engines. If your domain has the search term in it, you get
extra points and appear higher on the list. This means more
customers. So, if you run Papa and Sons Company and you do furniture
repair, you aren't going to get the extra points on a "furniture
repair" search if your domain is papaandsons.com, so maybe a better
domain would be papaandsonsfurniturerepair.com. However, please
note, if you take this approach, consider just how popular that search
term is. You might be better off looking for terms that might not be
as popular, but you aren't competing with 50 million other web sites on
the web for the same term.
Two (or more) may be better than one
This is the part where the whole domain
issue gets quite fun. Why limit yourself to one domain name?
And before you ask, no we don't get any commission on selling domain
names. So we aren't trying to get you to buy more so we make
money. We don't see a cent.
A short catchy domain name that is based on
your company's name or products goes a long way. However, domain
names that are based on the search words people would use to find the
types of products or services you offer help you tremendously in the
search engines. So,
purchase a second (third or fourth) domain that has good search engine
terms in them. Those domains, other than the restricted length of 67
characters long, don't have to be short "cute catch phrase"
names. These domains won't appear on business cards and you
shouldn't expect clients to remember them. They are geared toward
the key words people search on. There are several resources out on
the web that will let you see how popular search terms are in the search
engines. Some of these services are free and some cost money.
You can have all of the domains that you
registered resolve into one website, or you can split them up by purpose.
For example, we have www.arcbyte.com
(our development oriented site), and www.arcbyte.net
(deals with the ISP/dial up section of our business). Several other
parts of our company's information are hosted on what is considered
sub-domains. As you can see, we host our support pages at support.arcbyte.com.
It's a sublevel domain name. Our information for non-profits is
hosted at np.arcbyte.com. So we
use a combination of multiple domains and sub-domains to split up
different purposes of the site. And yes, we use search term specific
domains and product specific domain names, but to list them here would
give an advantage to our competitors.
Your first reaction might be, "I'll
register all the extensions" If you are honestly talking about
registering ALL extensions, that would cost a lot of money each
year. Many people don't realize that there are an overwhelming
number of country code extensions out there. There are services that
will register all the possible extensions for your domain at all the
different extension providers for you. If you have a web site that
you are going to have in multiple languages, then it might be a good idea
to get the country extension for the language differentiation. If
you have a counter part to your site that is in German then make it
separate web site and host it at <yourdomain>.de WHY?
Because there are search engines for Germans that will only list you if
you are a .de domain.
If you really want to see all the possible
extensions, a search for "domain extensions" yielded several
different web sites that list them.
No, No, No, you say. I meant the
common ones. Well, then that narrows the list down to things like:
.biz (Business Organizations)
.info (not categorized)
.name (Personal Use)
.int (International Organizations)
And AHH, do we even mention it here? - The infamous .ws
Let us note, just for the record, .ws is
the country extension for Samoa - but there has been a lot of "Get
your domain name" e-mails going around advocating registering that
hard to get domain with a .ws extension. Few people recognize that
all they are doing is registering a country specific domain
extension. So, I'm including .ws here and not under the country
extensions. I'm seeing more and more .ws sites out there, so the
advertising must be working.
The first thing to say is that .com is the
most popular and it is worth it to search for hours to find a .com that
works for you.
After you find your .com, You might
consider the following to determine what other extensions to have:
1) Are you in a highly competitive
and underhanded market where someone else will get <yourdomain>.biz
and mimic your pages to try to steal your customers AND either (1) you
don't have your site copyrighted and/or you don't have a trade mark
registered OR (2) you have these things but realize the headache of paying
an attorney to deal with it.
2) Will it bother you that someone can have
<yourdomain>.biz and be selling something not related and you can't
do anything about it, attorney or not. Someone can sell anything
from umbrellas to pornographic materials and there is really nothing you
can do as long as they aren't infringing on your trademark. Picture
the WORST POSSIBLE thing that someone can do with that other domain
extension. Then double the "unh" feeling to account for
the unimaginable things that people do on the web. Now, answer -
Will that bother you?
3) Picking what domains to register
can also be viewed like anticipating future values of stocks. How
popular do you think the domain extension will become? Do you think
that if people hear "your company name" that at some point in
the future, will people also think it might be <yourcompany>.biz?
.biz may never make it as a big domain extension, but a few years ago .net
wasn't that popular either. What is the anticipated future value of
the domain? That's a judgment call on your behalf.
There is a lot to think about when it comes
to domain names, and, WHICH domain names you purchase.
We hope you're head isn't swimming.