When an Internet user types a domain name into a website browser a request is sent out to the local Internet Service Provider (ISP) asking where it can find that website. The ISP checks with the relevant master domain name server for the country then the server points the user to the location of the website.
Now to speed these domain name queries up, whenever the local ISP makes a query on a domain name it will store the result for a period of time so that it doesn’t have to ask again. This is a process called caching. Every now and then the ISP will update their stored cache with the information stored on the master domain name server. This period of time can range between a few minutes and 48 hours.
Whenever you want to update the information that is stored about your domain name on the master domain name server, because of caching, it can take up to 48 hours for every ISP around the world to update their records. This is a process called ‘propagation’.
Own your domain nameEvery serious business website needs at least one domain name. The choice of what domain name(s) you purchase is absolutely crucial. Do not use the ‘free’ domain names that are offered by some websites. These free domain names usually come in the form of www.someothername.com/your_name. It is unprofessional and less enticing for users to follow a free domain name made up of unrelated words, in a line-up of search engine results.
Choosing a Domain NameIf your target market or your future target market is an international one, a domain name ending in ‘.com’ should be your first choice.
Unfortunately, a ‘.com’ domain name is difficult to find these days. There are now over 24 million ‘.com’ names registered so the chances of finding the name you want will be difficult.
Other international alternatives to a domain ending in ‘.com’ is a domain name ending in ‘.net’ or ‘.biz’. These domain names are not as good as a domain name ending in ‘.com’ but can be used successfully with careful marketing and branding.
If your target market is local or predominately local then a domain name ending in ‘.co.nz’ should be your first choice. If your audience know you as a New Zealand company they will expect you to have a ‘.co.nz’ domain.
If your target market is a combination of both international and New Zealand users you should consider using both.
Registering Multiple Domain NamesYou may have multiple domain names and ‘point’ them all to your website, so users can access your website with any of the chosen names.
For many companies it is a good idea to register other secondary top level domain names such as ‘.net’ or ‘.org’ to protect your business brand. Very few people will use these domain names to access your website, but by registering them you prevent other businesses taking them and stealing website visitors or damaging your brand by displaying obscenities at their addresses.
If your domain name combines two separate words, make sure you register versions with and without hyphens. Search engines prefer domain names with hyphens and users prefer them without. If it is easy to misspell the domain name – consider registering the misspelt version of the domain name.
It is also a good idea to register the domain name of individual products, especially if these are well known brands and people have heard of them and are searching for them. This will also protect your product names.
Your domain name should reflect your business name and if possible portray who you are and what you do. Try to obtain a domain name that is:
- Easy to spell
- Easy to remember
- Easy to pronounce
- Easy to type.
Look to reflect your business name in your domain name. Zeald is our domain name and our company name. When we tell people we work for a company called Zeald, it instantly tells them that our company has something to do with the Internet and that we have a website.
Some great domain names include key words that your audience are searching for. Search engines will often credit words in the domain name as part of their ranking process. So if your domain name includes popular keywords that your target audience are searching for, your website will have that added advantage.
If you are just starting a new business, try to research popular keywords and see what domains you can register before you brand your new business.
Keep in mind that cute or non-traditional spellings may elude potential visitors.
Choosing a Domain Name for an Existing BusinessFor an already established business making its first step online, you may find that your original business name does not suit the web. It may be too long or too generic. It may not reflect the product or service. It may be impossible to find the appropriate domain name.
In this situation, we suggest you register the original business name so you don’t lose that traffic, but also register a name made up of popular keywords that would attract more targeted traffic, perhaps a name that focuses on the product or service as opposed to the company. You can use this keyword-rich domain name as your main address and redirect the traffic from your original ‘company name’ domain name to the same address.
If the business is completely changing to an online focus, or your brand is not well established, you may want to consider changing the business name altogether.
Don’t feel restricted by an existing business name in order to purchase a good domain. Even what may seem like a perfect keyword domain name, is not a guarantee.
Tools for Brainstorming Domain Names
- ‘Who_is Source’ (www.whois.sc)
This is a great tool for finding available domains and brainstorming different ideas for domain names.
- Word Tracker (www.wordtracker.com)
Word Tracker has a free trial version of their service, which shows you detailed information about what keywords people are searching on and how many websites are competing for rankings on those keywords.
Finding out Who Owns a Particular Domain NameFree Parking (www.freeparking.co.nz) allows you to quickly find out who owns a specific domain name you may be interested in. Since many domain names are registered but never used, this is a great tool to track down the contact details of the owner, allowing you to make an offer to purchase it.
Infringing TrademarksBecause ‘online business’ means doing business internationally, you should make sure the domain name you choose does not infringe on any existing trademarks. Domain name disputes tend to go to the trademark holder, so even if you have the domain name you could have it taken away.
Consider establishing a trademark on your name - during this process you will discover any possible infringements. For information on establishing a New Zealand trademark go to http://www.iponz.govt.nz. You can also do a free search of US trademarks at the US Patent and Trademark office’s website at www.uspto.gov.
How to Register your Domain NamesIf you would like to register a domain name contact Zeald on 0508 WEBSITE or email us firstname.lastname@example.org and we will make all the necessary arrangements for you.
Keep in mind that when you purchase your domain name, you are essentially reserving the name for your own usage, for a set period of time. You are not required to put up a website on the new domain name immediately. You also don’t need to have your website hosted by the same company that registers or hosts your domain name.
Finally make sure you keep your contact information up-to-date, as you do not want to miss being notified when your domain name is about to expire, thus letting your competition scoop it up, along with all your hard-earned website traffic.
“Is Your Website Producing Amazing RESULTS?”
If you answer anything less than a resounding yes, then you need to learn about Zeald and the ‘Websites that Work!” program. Because results that are anything less than ‘amazing’ means you are selling yourself short!