July 12, 2011

Selecting a Domain Name - Grab It Before Anyone Else Does! And Be Careful How You Search

The Name

Selecting your domain name is tough, as many of the good ones have already been taken. Several companies exist just to grab that domain name from you. They watch an wait until right before the domain has been purchased and then they quickly register it and sell it to you. We have to be a little more creative and it can be tough to make a good choice. Considering the massive jump for keywords inside the domain names, one might assume that is the best way to go. However, remember Google's purpose is to serve up quality search results. If the number of unsuccessful searches increases because of these keyword-based domain names, Google will surely compensate. My recommendation is to take a step back and approach the selection from a different perspective. Try to quickly tell your friends the name and see if they can spell it correctly and then see if they remember it the next day. Hypothetically, I would say that my friends at "RATT Pest Control" might try for peskyratt.com and focus marketing on the memorization of the word "Pesky". They could grab similar names and "misspellings" with ease because the wording is original.

WAIT. Do not simply start searching Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc ... Some browser plugins can change your default search engines, or show extra search boxes that you may have become comfortable with. There are a few possible issues here as some companies are watching for traffic to new unregistered domains which they swoop in and claw. They make money by selling domains at a significant mark-up. If you are trademarked, do not hesitate to call a lawyer because you might be lucky. A lawyer should be able to quickly give you a decent rate to fight for it. If you make the mistake of punching domain names in the wrong search engines someone else might "hawk" it. I have no reason to not use the search engines of some registrars, but I would not go a daddy around. Get to a command line and start pinging. Then start buying right from the registrar. The longer the duration of your registration, the better. Do not use domain privacy, if you want to hide your companies name and reputation from your web visitors then reconsider reading this article and get help somewhere else. I believe in keeping the internet free from parasitic spammers. Make a separate telephone number with an auto-attendant to forward calls if your conserned about spammy phone calls. Create a bulk email address with tons of spam protection and use that database of spam to share with blockers. The more the search engines squeeze them out by checking for domain privacy, the more they will be forced to adopt better methods while your honesty rewards you.

Name servers (Accessibility)

Name servers store all of the DNS information related to your domain. Once your domain name is approved, you allocate your name to a hosted zone and its corresponding name servers. Your name servers will be propagated around the world and can only be changed through your registrar. You registrar will flag your name non-transferable. Often, this can be configured by the user through a web-based interface and is called something like "Security". The more name servers you have serving your record sets the faster the world will be able to access your servers. Ensure that your name servers are fast enough to resolve the level of requests you expect. Also make sure that your servers are geographically close to your users. If you have more than one geographical region, get more name servers. Some organizations have private or internal record sets: separate them completely. Always double check your registrar to ensure that you actually own the domain. Some earlier "tech" companies would register names on behalf of their clients and keep ownership as something to sell later on. Residual influence of the .com bubble.

Server and Security

Finally, you are going to have to associate a web server with your domain name. The type of server you choose to host your web applications and web sites might not be that significant if you aren't expecting much traffic. If you plan on having a few hundred a month you will be pretty safe with good ol' HostGator. If you are planning on delivering lots of pictures and videos to each visitor, you will want to plan things out a bit better. If you are blowing up and you need to quickly keep up with your traffic demand then your going to need a dedicated server. I always recommend using dedicated servers. If you are concerned about anything It's always best to have full visibility of server logs and to have the option to expand quickly.

Peter R. Jaffray

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