People will sometimes ask you "What's your URL?". URL is 
an acronym for Universal Resource Locator, but is often 
used interchangeably with domain name, Internet address, or web address. 

Selecting a domain name, or web address, is the most important 
task you will undertake when developing for your website. 

Millions of names have already been registered. 
They are being registered at a ferocious rate. 
If your name or a reasonable alternitive is available reserve it now.

The only characters that a domain name can contain are 
letters, numbers, and hyphens. Spaces and other special 
characters are not allowed. Domain names are not 
case-sensitive, so and are the
same name, and can never point to different sites. 

Although hyphens are allowed in domains, there is a golden
rule to follow here: It's OK to register a name with 
hyphens in, but only if you also register the hyphen-free version. 

The reason is simple. Most customers will remember a name
that they have seen advertised on TV or in a magazine, but
forget whether or not it contained hyphens. So if your
site is called, a typical web user 
recalling the name from memory will just type into their browser. If you haven't
registered the hyphen-free version, you will be losing a
large percentage of customers. And if a competitor is
devious enough to have registered the hyphen-free version
(and they often are) you will be spending advertising
dollars sending your customers to a competitor's site.
Enough said. 

Dot com names are the gold standard on the Internet. 
Millions of advertising dollars have already been spent 
persuading customers that Dot com names are the only names
worth having. The latest web browsers will even default to
Dot com if no extension is specified. Always register the
Dot com version of your name, even if you choose to register others. 

But what about other extensions? Dot net, Dot org, Dot cc, 
Dot tv, Dot etc. etc. Which ones should you register?
Our advise is to try and register at least the Dot net
version of your name, possibly the Dot org as well. 

And if you are a company operating outside the United 
States, you should definitely register your country-specific domain. 
For example, in the UK, you would register the Dot version. 

By registering several domain name extensions, you are 
preventing namespace dilution. If you owned a site called, and a competitor registered, etc. many of your 
customers would end up visiting your competitor's site by 

Some companies will try to persuade you that you don't 
actually need your own domain name, and you can get away
with renting a free sub-directory of their name. So, for 
example, if you business is based around silk products, 
you could easily get a free domain such as 

There are several compelling reasons why you should not 
accept such a free offer: 

1) By using a free service, you will make a bad first 
impression with your customers, and transmit the message
that your website isn't important enough to have its own
name. 2) Free names are inevitably going to be longer, and
hence more difficult to remember, than real ones. 3)
Customers visiting your free site will be subjected to 
pop-up boxes containing advertisements and other rubbish.
4) Search engines are starting to give higher priority to
sites which have their own domain names. Some will even 
refuse to list sites which don't have their own domains. 

Using a free domain is probably the worst mistake that you 
can make when setting up your business online. Don't do it. 

And generic names need not be limited to single words. 
Many people interested in the Thai language for example 
will try typing into their browser before 
resorting to the search engine lottery. To summarize, 
generic name = free customers. 

Having a domain name without web space is like having an 
address without a home. This is what hosting is all about, 
where your name is parked at a server computer on the 
Internet, so that other Internet users can access your website. 

Nowadays, it's possible to register a domain well before 
you have got a website ready or found a computer to host it
on. You are reserving the name for future use. This is a 
great benefit, as it means you can register the name when 
you think of it, not when you have found a server to host the site on. 

Your domain name is your identity in the new digital 
economy. Be very careful to pick the right domain names for
your business before you go online. Being forced to find a 
new identity after launch is a very time-consuming and costly business. 

The truth is that a poor choice of name will always reduce 
the number of visitors (and hence customers) to your 
website. Sure, you can still run a successful online 
business with a lousy name, but your business will always 
do better with a good name. And what happens when a 
competitor comes along with a much better name? 

Keep it Simple. Use easy to spell words. Use easy
to pronounce words. Limit names to two words if possible, 
three words as an absolute maximum. Remember that the idea
is to create domain names that people can easily remember,
and just as easily type into their browser. 

Domain names can now be up to sixty seven characters in 
length, but we would never advise you to register a name 
anywhere near that. The golden rule of selecting a good 
name is short is sweet. Would you like to type a sixty
seven character domain string into a browser? No, and
neither does anybody else. 

Register your preferred names now! Otherwise someone else will. 

Don't forget that your primary domain name will be used 
extensively offline as well as online. It will appear on
your company letterhead, business cards, advertisements in
newspapers, magazines, radio and TV. Your goal should be
to familiarize all your existing customers with your 
domain, and plant the name in the minds of new customers.
Now are you getting the idea about how important domain
names really are? 

Domain name registration is the process whereby you pay a
fee in order to reserve a name for current or future use. 
Each country has its own registration process 
and fee structures vary accordingly. 

Something that definitely is true about most search engines
is that they list domain names in lower case, whether you 
submitted them in lower, upper, or mixed case. So would turn into when viewed as
output from a search engine. Please be careful :) 

Trademarks are a very complex legal entity, but they are 
also a very important mechanism for protecting your
identity online. Take a look at a site like who provide an excellent range of
trademark services, including trademark searching,
trademark registration, and a free trademark monitoring

Remember that the names you select will have global 
visibility, so use words which people can relate to
globally. might go down well in the
States, but would be virtually meaningless to UK netizens. 

If your domain contains offensive words, don't be surprised
if you end up in deep water, witth many search engines especially
if your website is  aimed at a general audience. 
Play it safe, and avoid domain names which are 'too' controversial. - a rarely visited web site. RentSearch lists
site in alphabetical order in its directory, and poor old will not get many visitors from most search engines.

Use it today or in 5yrs but Register It Right Now!

If you already have a web site or internet ad, we would like to link to you. Click here for instructions.
(We reserve the right to accept or reject any application for a link to outside sites and to remove any link at our discretion.)

© 2001