Choosing a good domain name isnt always so simple.

So you need a domain name for your brand new internet business. You may even have some cool ideas for a new domain name combination that will really impress your friends. Question is, is your new domain name going to help your business or hurt it?

What could be simpler than choosing a domain name right? Wrong. There are a number of things you need to consider and research before you register your favorite domain name.

First off, what is a domain name and why would I want one?

A domain name makes our lives much easier when surfing the internet. You see, all computers on the internet are actually referenced with what is called IP addresses. On the internet, IP addresses are four sets of numbers that serve like street addresses allowing two computers to talk over a network. An example of an IP address is the one for Google.com. It is 216.239.39.99. If you enter this IP address into the address bar of your browser it will bring you to Google's home page in that very same way that typing www.google.com would get you there. Unfortunately, we humans have difficulty remembering our phone numbers let alone so many digits for all kinds of sites. That's one of the main reasons domain names were invented.

Domain names make it easy for us humans to remember how to find a site. Most people know Google.com and anyone familiar with the internet knows that to reach Google, you simply type www.google.com in your address bar and you are transported to their website. The same goes for Disney.com, Microsoft.com, CNN.com, etc?

Now you would think that choosing a domain name would simply be a matter of choosing something that is unique and that people would remember. The problem with that approach is that most of us don't have the money needed to turn our name into a brand name on the mass market. Most of us need to rely on our prospects reaching our website through other means. The best of these are search engines.

Choosing a good domain name for your site starts with the main keywords you have chosen to focus on for your website. Before you launch your business, you should conduct some preliminary research online to determine which keywords have the most traffic and the least number of other websites competing for that particular keyword. Some tools that help in this are the Overture keyword suggestion tool and Wordtracker.com. Both of these tools will give you a rough idea of how much traffic each of your chosen keywords will likely get each month. This helps to determine which keywords to focus on.

Should you choose a domain name that includes your main keywords?

In most cases, the answer is yes. Google and to some degree Yahoo both give you a small boost for your domain name. If your domain name happens to contain your targeted keywords, your domain name will help you in your quest for higher search engine rankings. Now if you do everything else wrong, having your main keywords in your domain name will not magically catapult you to the top of the listings. Many other parts of your site must be working for you as well. Other things you can do to improve rankings are beyond the scope of this article.

Choosing a keyword rich domain is a smart business move.

For some sites, it could be the edge they need to move up a few spots in the search engines. When choosing a keyword rich domain name, you may want to consider hyphens between your keywords. An example is cheap-airline-tickets.com. Current research trends for Google and Yahoo suggest that hyphens are the only way to separate keywords within a URL that will give you a rankings boost.

Why not simply choose your company name? Simple. Is your company a household name? Are you so dominant in a category that people have stopped referring to the generic name of your category and use your brand name like Kleenex has for tissue paper? If so, register your company name. If not, register a keyword rich domain wherever possible.

You may be thinking, "But I already own a domain name that is my company name. Should I go and register a new domain and point it to the same site? The short answer is no. Years ago, you could improve your rankings on search engines simply by setting up lots of doorway pages and having them all link back to your home page with all kinds of domain names. That tactic nowadays can backfire. You are better off optimizing individual pages within your existing website than you are creating a whole bunch of "fluff" sites just to increase rankings.

The technique I suggest above is really best suited for brand new business ventures. If you still have not registered your domain name for that special online business you are about to start, then make it keyword rich wherever possible. If you have already launched your business, you'll just have to take advantage of this information next time you start another online venture.

This article was written by Joe Duchesne, president of http://www.yowling.com/ , a budget web hosting company that specializes in helping online business owners increase their website traffic. Copyright 2004 Yowling. Reprint Freely.

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