title:Hey, It?s Your Domain, Your Future author:Jeff Conduct source_url:http://www.articlecity.com/articles/online_business/article_4046.shtml date_saved:2007-07-25 12:30:16 category:online_business article:

Establishing your business or organization online is critical to business planning. And a good starting point is to establish your own domain name. Since the registration process is a snap and its benefits undeniable, there?s no excuse not to have your own domain registered ? even for businesses or projects barely on the chalkboard.
First, you?ll need to find out if your domain is available. There are several online avenues for this task. I?ve found the Trademark Electronic Search System, http://www.uspto.gov/main/trademarks.htm to be a valuable resource. Another option is www.whois.sc.
Sometimes hyphens are used in domain names. Some feel that a hyphenated name (www.scientific-pizza.com) is pleasing to the eye and easier to read and identify. Many believe hyphenated URLs rank higher on search engines.
Another school of thought believes that hyphens are a bad idea since people don?t remember them and users may be lost trying to figure out where in the domain name the hyphen falls. The marketers, business managers, and webmasters who create websites should try and decide how best to proceed ? will the hyphen help or hinder? Ex: www.scientific-pizza.com, www.scientificpizza-chicago.com, www.scientific-pizzas-chicago.com, as you can imagine, some work better than others.
Some additional sites (register.com, networksolutions.com, and godaddy.com) also present a variety of domain registration options. You will need to do some legwork in order to find out which site offers the most cost-effective registration solution for your needs – and a higher price doesn?t indicate a ?better? web address or website since the net results will be the same ? your new domain.
The nitty-gritty details need only to be shouldered by these companies who offer the service. This leaves you free to concentrate on some of the more important aspects of your domain. It?s simple ? you decide what you want your name to be.
Now the domain is yours for as long as you choose to renew your registration. Renewals are usually done on an annual basis.
You can have your own domain. And your own unique domain name provides a variety of competitive advantages almost as soon as it?s registered:
1) You?ll reinforce your name brand and strengthen online association with your organization or product. Let the following example explain: Which do you think works best, www.scientificpizza.com or www.free-hosting.com/business/restaurant/~scientificpizza?
2) It?s professionally assertive to have your name on your domain, instead of that of a free hosting service. Think about it, even if the service could handle high user volume associated with your company, wouldn?t business or interest balk at seeing another corporate name on your URL? Establish yourself with your own domain.
3) It brands your product or business with a touch more trust than without. Again, an example should suffice: Which would you trust more john@scientificpizza.com or johnscipizza1977@yahoo.com? And if you were John ? which would you want on your business card?
4) Just brace yourself for the wave of people who will find you. Search engines deliver people who are looking for your product, or something close to it, and possibly people who weren?t looking for anything at all. Your domain reels it all in. Search engines tend to index the homepage of websites, and some don?t list pages on free hosting sites.
5) Secure your domain name before someone else does. It used to be a cottage industry, of sorts, where people would snag domain names before companies or entrepreneurs would ? for the sole purpose of selling them at a premium price. This angle, while not particularly hot, is still in play. It?s possible that another entity could take your ideal domain before you get it, so considering the costs involved, you should always opt for buying domain names.
6) Expanding a bit on #5, registering for future use or ?parking? your domain is sound procedure. Don?t forget, just because you buy your domain name doesn?t mean you have to do anything with it for the time being. You can let it sit undisturbed until a use is found. They don?t go bad, you know?
7) If you?ve established email addresses in conjunction with your domain, you will not lose them ? even if you change ISPs or if there?s disruption in access to your domain.
No business or organization can thrive today without a website. If yours isn?t online yet, it should be. It?s never been easier, and the benefits are as limited or as limitless as the effort you put into it. The Internet has a permanent place in mass communications ? and if you want to establish your presence in the marketplace of tomorrow, then you need to secure your domain today.

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