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What's in a name? When choosing one for your domain, it could mean the difference between success and failure. Giving birth to a website requires the same thought and effort you'd put into naming your flesh-and-blood babies. After all, you're going to have to live with it for a long time. So you need to choose something you're not only going to love, but will also work to your benefit.

Let's begin by examining domain extensions that are available to you:

1) .COM- Still the King and the best choice for most online businesses

2) .NET- In the beginning this was meant for ISP's but now it's the most common alternative when the .com extension of a domain you really want is already taken.

3) .ORG- Designed for Non-Profit sites

4) .INFO/.BIZ- Fairly new but starting to spread in usage

5) .US- Country extension domains are also available
for most countries

As you can see, you have many extensions available to choose from but if possible, always go with .com. It's the most widely recognized and still the default people use when looking for a website.

After registering your .com name you may want to "lock up" the .net version to keep out any would-be competitors from registering it and trying to infringe on your traffic. You can also use these other domains as "mini-sites" that concentrate on one aspect of your business that also link to your main website.

The next step is choosing your name. If you ask ten people how to pick a domain name you'd probably get ten different answers. Get out a sheet of paper and just start writing names that appeal to you or that pop into your head. Keep the following pointers in

1) Keep it Short- Under 13 characters is the ultimate in length.

2) Include Keywords- If possible, try to include your most important keyword in your name. You'll hear many conflicting stories on this, but opt for a keyword in your domain name if possible. It helps with the search engines and is also more descriptive of your site and what you do.

3) Odd Characters- Stay away from dashes and numbers in your domain name. This will make it harder for people to remember it when they go to type it in.

4) Be Memorable: Try to choose something that will stick out in people's minds if you can.

5) Spelling: Make sure it's easy to spell. You don't want people mis-typing the name in and not being able to find you at all, do you?

6) Trademarks: Make sure the name you choose is not trademarked to avoid any problems down the road. Do a free quickie search here...

If you're having problems coming up with good names you may want to try an online "name generator" services for some quick inspiration:

1) Type in a primary word or if you like, a secondary one and hit go. NameBoy will come back with a list of names showing what is and isn't taken.

2) Type in a keyword and choose a category, then hit search. The list generated shows what's available and what's not.

3) Type in a domain and choose a theme for a complete list of what is and isn't available.

4) Type in a primary and secondary keyword and choose your industry.

5) Maximum Edge: Type in 1 or 2 keywords to search and click for a list of Possibilities.

For even more tips on domain names check out..

So now that you have taken your list of possibilities and have finally narrowed it down to your best selections, so where do you go to register your new found beauties? In part 2 of this series we'll discuss some of the cheapest and best places to
register names, the fine art of buying expired and deleted domains and some of the best domain management tools to help you keep track of your new treasures.

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