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Your Perfect Domain

Things to consider when purchasing a domain name

1. A domain name is normally comprised of three parts: a second-level domain, a "dot," and a top-level domain - TLD. The wording to the left of the "dot" is the second-level domain, and the wording to the right of the "dot" is the TLD.
Most common top-level domains:
.com commercial, for profit organizations
.net networks and organizations
.org usually nonprofit organizations and individuals
.edu 4 year, degree granting colleges/universities
.gov U.S. federal government agencies
.info stands for informational
.ca - for Canadian sites

2. Many entrepreneurs and businesses are investing in domain names just like in real estate. Rule to remember here - .com is the most common, and popular top-level domain (TLD). It also can be used internationally, unlike country-specific TLDs.

3. Short and snappy domain names (just as business names or brands) are easier to memorize and to spell. The best names are advertisements on their own.

4. Make sure your domain name is clear and easy to spell. Is it easy to spell it out over the phone or on the radio?

5. Some search engines give a lot of weight to keywords in the domain names when rendering search result pages. So if you are providing marketing advice and "marketing advice" your main key word, it's worth to find out if marketing-advice.com or marketingadvice.com is available. Don't get to hung-up with key word domains - think about your brand and your customers first - keep your domain name elegant and user-friendly.

6. The part of domain name between www. and TLD (.com, .net, .org) may have similar trademark rights and protection as registered trademark.

7. Do not buy domain names of recognized brands or trademarks that don't belong to you, even if they are available. It's a violation of copyright law and no court will take your side.

8. You can check domain name availability at expertsrs or at whois.net

9. You can purchase a domain name starting at around $10/year with free parking. I have been using www.expertsrs.com - they offer domain registration for $9.99/year. You will have to buy domain hosting package separately - depending on your needs and your budget. Some companies offer free domain registration for a year, if you host your website with them. Be very careful choosing your host.

10. Your host is a very important part of your online presence. You want to choose a hosting company with good customer support and guaranteed uptime. More expensive hosts don't necessarily provide better service. Do your research and shop around yourself or ask professionals for assistance.

CNET used to provide host reviews by performance, but I believe this information is no longer available from them. Do your own research and due diligence, take a look at reviews at Epinions.

I found my current host through Epinions.com.

11. If you have other domain name considerations to share, please let me know.

By Zhenya Beck

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This article can be be freely distributed and reprinted as long as the following information and live link to author's web site are included:

Zhenya Beck, M.A. is founder and a principal of Centauria Web Design- http://www.centauria.com, a professional company specializing in web design and development, corporate identity and logo design, search engine optimization and Internet consulting for start-ups and established businesses.
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