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How to Choose a Domain Name to Maximise Your Ranking

In case you’re not familiar with the term “domain name”, it refers to the address that you type in that takes you directly to a particular website. Domain names commonly start with “www.” but some miss this out and can end with a variety of tags such as “.com”, “.co.uk” or “.net”. I would suggest that you select either a “.com” or “.co.uk” ending, or snap up both to avoid someone else using them in your area. These are the most prevalent and well recognised endings.

In order to choose the most effective domain name you first need to find out what keywords and phrases potential customers are likely to use when searching for product or service. One way to do this is by asking existing customers or your friends and family. You could also try one of the various online keyword tools to find out how often they are used as well but don’t waste hours on the latter. A couple of these keyword tools are the Google Search Based Keyword Tool and the Google Traffic Estimator. Another good tactic is to find out what keywords your high page ranking competitors are using which can be done within Google AdWords. You do need to sign up and pay a small fee to start the account however.

For best results your domain name should involve these keywords in order to improve your Google search ranking i.e. on which page and how near the top of the page your website is listed for that search phrase. However be aware that shorter is better when it comes to domain names because they are easier to remember and quicker to type in for your potential customers. It doesn’t pay to be fancy or clever with your domain name if you want to get free, naturally occurring traffic i.e. visitors to your website.

So go and research your keywords and come up with a selection of possible and traffic-attracting domain names for your business.

The next step is to find out if the domain name you have chosen has already been taken or is still available. One way to do this is to simply type in the address in the top bar of your internet browser, for example Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox, and if it says that no such website exists then it is almost certainly still available. If an actual website comes up, of course, you know it has been taken but take the opportunity to look at your competition and save it to your favourites for future reference. Find out now if your preferred domain names are available.

Now you can get your domain name separately or with your website hosting. Website hosting refers to the space and other facilities needed to actually have your website published and showing on the World Wide Web. Sometimes it can be cheaper to buy the domain name from one company and get your hosting with another. If you buy it separately you will have to do a little bit of extra work to link it up with your hosting company or if you are lucky they will sort it out for you.

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