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The Domain Name Game
Written by Guest MyMommyBiz Author Rachael Hoffman

Marketing online today has become more competitive than ever. With so many websites like www.tripod.com and www.angelfire.com offering free hosting, it leaves many new business owners and those entering the world of e-commerce for the first time wondering if they really need a domain name.

If you are offering a product or service to a national audience or even to a local audience and you want to be taken seriously in the world of e-commerce, then a domain name could mean the difference in your success.

“Free sites” just don’t carry the same weight as a site with it’s own domain. Imagine visiting a site in hopes of finding a source of inexpensive, but quality business cards. You find two sites. The first is http://www.members.aol.com/membername/bizcards.html and has a pop up ad or large banner exchange bar on top when you enter the page. The second is http://www.bizcards.com and has no ads popping up at you for totally unrelated sites or a banner exchange bar taking up a large portion of the top of the page. Which one would inspire more trust in you? Which one would look more professional to you? And with the low cost of registering a domain and hosting a site in today’s world of e-commerce, one has to wonder if a business owner believes in their own business enough to spend the small monthly investment.

So, you have decided to make the plunge and invest in your own domain. A few suggestions for going through the process:

1. Search for a domain registrar. Registrars charge anywhere from 7.95 a year to in excess of 35.00 a year, depending on the domain extension (.com, .net, .biz, .us, .ca etc.) and the level of profit they choose to take. You should have no problem finding a registrar to register your domain for under 15.00 a year. Make sure that when you use a registrars services, the domain is purchased under your name or your company’s name.

2. Once you have a found a registrar with a good price and service, do not start the search for your domain name, until you have credit card in hand and are ready to pay the moment you find a name you like that is available.

3. Try to put relevant keywords in your domain to help with search engine ranking. For example, if you sell Discovery Toys via your website, a domain name like www.DiscoveryToysByNancy.com or www.Get-Discovery-Toys.com would have much more keyword relevance than www.DTRep.com. When submitting to search engines, domain name keyword relevance can help you rank higher.

4. There are many domain extensions out there today… .com, .net, .biz, .ca, .info and many more. By far, the most easily remembered will be a .com, followed by a .net. The others are new and those who are not so computer savvy may have a hard time remembering your extension and put a .com in it’s place.

5. Pick something easily remembered and preferably short. The longer a domain name or the more unusual or difficult to spell or pronounce the domain name, the more chances it will be misspelled or wrongly remembered.

Once you have your domain, you can find several sources of cheap reliable hosting. Many of your fellow MyMommyBiz'ers offer web hosting packages. Ask others for their hosting recommendations, or click on some of the signature links in message board posts to get an idea of what is available, and at what price. You can also enter in "cheap hosting" at any search engine and find hundreds of thousands of results.

What if you have a company generated site but love the idea of a domain name? Get one! You can use free forwarding service such as http://www.mydomain.com and have it forward to your company-generated site. Instead of http://www.yourcompany/yourrepsname/ you can have www.yourcompanyrep.com.

While there are businesses that have found success with “free sites” for their business, it seems to be becoming more of an exception than the rule. With the low cost of domain registration and hosting in today’s e-commerce world, it can be a cost-effective choice for many home based business owners.

When Rachael isn't busy chasing after her two children while trying to simultaneously clean her house, she works as an agent for a telecommunications company offering discount long distance, and - you guessed it - internet access & services. Rachael can be reached at info@discountlongdistancerates.com or through her website at http://www.discountlongdistancerates.com.


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