The domain name creates the address of your site. So, mywebsite.com would be an example of a domain name.
Domain names are paid for yearly and you register them.
I do not endorse free websites. They are too unstable, you never really own your site and you do not receive a true domain name. Instead your address will be something like http://freesite.yourdomain.com. In some cases, the domain may be even longer.
There are two basic steps to getting your site online and registering/reserving a domain name is the first.
A domain name makes up the address of your site and can end in .com, .net, .org, .info, .us, .biz, .tv and more. Throughout this site you will also see the domain name referred to as the "dot com name".
Once you have registered your name, you will select a web host (2nd step). The web host is the guts of any website because this is where you create and publish your pages, build order forms, add functionality and maintain your site.
First, let's focus on selecting the best domain name for your site...
If being found in the major search engines (Google, Yahoo, etc.) is extremely important to you, I highly recommend you register a name that contains your major keywords instead of your company name.
Think about it. The average surfer searches by subject, not by proper name. So why it may seem cool to have a name like TimToolTyme.com, you'll want to choose a name that includes keywords that your target audience would likely use when they search.
So with that in mind, a name like Tool-Tips-for-Beginners.com would be much better than TimsToolTyme.com. Sure, you can still list your company name on your web pages, but I believe it's more important to make sure the domain name includes your important "search friendly" keywords if you want to receive traffic from all over.
Of course, you can still list your company name on the website, but your domain name will include all the important keywords you'll want to be found with.
Now, as always, there are exceptions...
If you are just creating a website for a local business, getting traffic from all over the web may not be as important to you. This is because your customers will be local and you may want to grow your brand name in a specific area.
If this is the case, it may make more sense to register your company name and create brand awareness locally instead of trying to capitalize on search engine presence.
For example, let's say you have a company called L.K. Wade & Co and you help people get rid of debt, but you're based in California and can only cater to residents in this area.
Since you are only servicing local clients, you may not care if someone in Indiana can find your site in Google since they are not likely to become one of your customers.
In this case, it's not as important to register a name filled with "search optimized" keywords. You may decide to just reserve the company name, LKWadeAndCo.com.
NOTE: Keep in mind that the domain name is not the only factor weighed by search engines when deciding your rank.
The content on your web pages and your site's popularity (inbound links from other sites) is very important too. However, it certainly doesn't hurt to make sure your name is optimized for maximum results.
Here are some more tips on choosing the best domain name:
1) Don't register domain names that are too long and have too many syllables if you can help it. Yes, you can register names up to 63 characters long, but that doesn't mean you have to use all 63 characters.
You want your name to be easy to remember. Not everyone will bookmark your page initially so try to think of something that can be easily remembered -- although I realize this may be tricky since a lot of names are taken these days.
2) Use hyphens if your name is more than 3 words long (unless your name includes 3 short words). A name like truckbuying.com doesn't really need a hyphen because it's readable the way it is. However a name like used-truck-buying-scams.com looks better than usedtruckbuyingscams.com since there are so many words in the name.
3) Protect your name by registering multiple extensions (.net, .org, etc.) This deters people from copying your name. For example, if you own cooking-tips-for-us.com you can also register cooking-tips-for-us.net and any other extension that's available.
You don't have to build a site on all the domains, but you can reserve the others to keep people (copycats) from registering them.
Reserving a domain name is easy and very cost friendly. The big name companies like Register.com and NetworkSolutions.com charge ridiculous prices such as $30-35/year for one domain name, and you get the same service at places like www.GoDaddy.com for much less.
It doesn't matter where you register your domain. Every registrar provides the same services.
You can save a bundle at www.GoDaddy.com, and you get a bunch of freebies. The domain name cost is typically about $10-$15 per year unless you also use them as your Hosting service in which case the domain name is only a couple of dollars per year.
As you're registering your name, you will be presented with the option of keeping your domain name private - a deluxe feature you'll probably want to take advantage of.
A private domain registration will keep your information (name, email address, etc.) out of the global Internet database, and will prevent a lot of spam from reaching your email box.
Even though registering a "private" domain is not mandatory and will not block all spam, I highly recommend you select this option.
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