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Finding the Right Domain Name for your Business
A domain represents the unique name assigned to an organization or individual on the Internet. For instance, we are all familiar with names such as google.com, microsoft.com, and so on. A particular name (domain) may only be owned by one person or company. To use an analogy, a domain represents your "street address" where you live on the Internet. It uniquely identifies where you can be found. Having a straight-forward, easy to remember domain is crucial to your business success.
The domain name is comprised of several parts. The last part of the domain (e.g., .com) is referred to as the top-level domain (TLD). In theory, the TLD represents a type of entity. For instance, .com stands for "commercial". It was originally meant to be for commercial enterprises (business), but that has become something of a misnomer as even people with personal websites use the .com TLD.
Other popular TLDs include:
> .net - originally meant to signify Network organizations such as Internet Service Providers (ISP)
> .edu - Education establishments (colleges/universities)
> .mil - Military
> .org - Non-profit organizations
> .gov - Government organizations
> .biz - a business
> .name - individual/person
> .info - information service
There are others as well such as: .aero, .pro, .coop, and so on. In addition, there are TLDs assigned to countries (e.g., .ca for Canada).
Before you can launch your site on the Web, you will need a domain name. There are literally hundreds of millions of domains already taken so you may have to be creative in finding the name you want. It can be frustrating at times, so brew yourself a pot of coffee or grab your favorite beverage before you sit down to find that special domain that will become your address on the Web.
Several months ago, I was attempting to acquire a domain for a customer. I tried just about every combination of his actual business name to find one that was available. As is becoming much too common, I ran into a brick wall. Out of sheer frustration, I just randomly pounded my fingers on my keyboard and came up with sdfsdfsdf.com. I submitted that to the domain search. You probably know the punch line. To my total amazement that name was already taken. At that point, I decided I needed to take a walk around my garden.
But there is no way around it. If you plan to put your own site on the web, you will need to identify an available domain. Once you do so, you should purchase that name immediately as it may not be available the next day. If the name you want is already taken, you will have to find a different one. For instance, if you wanted the domain CandlesForSale.com, that is already taken. However, the name CandlesForSale.biz is available (as of the date this article was written). You could select the .biz name, or try to find an alternate such as Candles4sale.com, candles4u.com, candlesonline.com, and so on. All of those of course, are taken. By trying the different combinations you would find that candles-forsale.com is (currently) available.
It is much easier to find available domains ending in .biz,. info, and so on. The major problem with using any of these is that people are just inherently conditioned to type in the .com extension after the business name. If you did register the candlesforsale.biz name mentioned above, it is quite likely that people surfing the Web would type in candlesforsale.com instead. That of course, would lead to a competitor, which is not what you want to do.
Selecting just the right (available) domain name for your business can be a frustrating process, but it is important to get it right. Many people I have spoken to donít seem to realize that your domain name is part of your branding; it represents who you are on the web. In many cases, the domain name is the first piece of information a potential customer may have about your business. Your domain name is every bit as important as the logo you put on your business card. If all else fails, check some of the domain auction sites to see if there is a good match available. You will have to pay more than normal, but in the long run, it may just be worth it.
Be creative, stay patient, and donít break your keyboard as you go through this process.
About the Author: Ray has a 30+ career in the Computer (IT) field. He has been a Systems Analyst, DB and Network Administrator, Website Project Manager, IT Architect and Director of IT. He has owned several successful business. He is also the author of several books related to technology and business.