Choosing a Domain Name

Before You Begin:
Often times many web based businesses fail because they do not have a functional business model. Before you even chose a name for your site you should know your target audience, what you intend to sell to them, and what will make your business idea unique or different than everything else that is already on the market.

A Horrible Domain Idea:
Many people think it is super important to have keywords in a domain. People purchase domains like look-4-buy-cheap-discount-viagra-online-pharmacy.com. This is a horrible domain name!

Keywords in the domain name are usually important, but it usually can be done while keeping the domain short, memorable, and free of hyphens.

TIP FOR YOU : Before you pick a domain name you should know your target audience, what you intend to sell to them, and what makes your business idea unique or different than everything else that is already on the market.

Dashed Domain Names:
Search engines do not read the words in your URL if they are ran together. Many webmasters separate the words in their domain names using dashes. In the past the domain name itself was a significant ranking factor. As search engines have advanced it is not very significant factor anymore.
Many shoppers look around. If you want them to come back you want to have a domain name which will stick in their heads. It can (and often should) have keywords in it, but the thing you want more than anything else is a name that sticks. If the option between having the dash in the domain and not having a dash exist you are probably better off going without the dash as it looks more professional and would most likely be more memorable.
It is branding suicide to only have users find your site via search engines. If you are hoping to make sales on the first view in search engines you will need very strong copywriting and usability which is second to none.
If you are just using quick buck lead generation type websites then you may want to use a dashed domain for the small benefit it may offer, but in most cases I do not recommend a dashed domain name.

Long vs Short URLs:
People often forget the words in a domain if you have an exceptionally long domain name. Another problem with exceptionally long URL's is that they get cut off in emails and some other data transmission types. If you make the idea hard to spread then your site will most likely limit its potential income.
 
TLD Domain Selection:
Some regional based search engines or indexes will only list sites which are registered in their country code. If your site caters to a specific country then you will most likely want to register a domain using the local country code.
Some search engines will still show your site in regional based search results if your site is hosted within that country or have your address and phone number in the page text, but many directories are extremely picky and will only list regional domains.
As search progresses localization of results will become more common. Some of the major search engines already give sites a regional ranking boost based upon where the site is hosted and the domain extension.
If you place your site on your regional domain (.co.uk for example), I also suggest buying the .com version of your domain if it is available and forwarding it to the regional domain you registered.
By buying the .com version and forwarding it your site you help retain traffic you may have lost by people forgetting to put your region specific domain extension in their address bar when they type the website address directly into the address bar.
I also prefer to use a .com version of a URL over other generic TLDs. Often times people will just assume your site is a .com even if it is .biz, .org, or .info. Using a .com makes it easier to advertise your website off the web.
I also believe it is a good idea to place your business location on your web pages. If you are in a country where the search technology is primitive frequently local searchers will add the country or city name to their searches, and if you have them on your pages you stand to be returned as a relevant result for more searches.

Have a Site for Each Language:
Many hucksters sell some translational cross submission type products that are complete bunk. Essentially you pay them money to accept your check and nothing more. Search engines do not translate text on the fly when people search (though page translation is an option after the search).
If you use automated software to copy your text into a different language it is likely to read clumsily and turn people off. You are better off not having the text visible on the web if you did not have a person fluent in that language proof the final product.
If you have target audiences in different languages then usually you will want to have a different site for each language. This will make it easier to get links from the different geographic or ethnic communities you are interested in without losing focus of your site.
I went to the UK and noticed the English there is way different than English in the United States. Even within the same language you may need multiple versions to cater to different dialects and customs.

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