You have spent a good deal of time deciding what your online presence is going to look like. You know what your niche is, you have decided on a business name and a tag line. You may even have your artwork and logo complete. But, did you spend much time deciding what your domain name is going to convey to visitors and search engines? Your domain name is a critical part of your web presence and the choosing of your domain name is more important than it may seem at first.

Here are some basics to consider:

Definition: A domain name, also known as a web address or URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is the alpha-numeric representation for your website that allows people and search engines to easily locate you on the internet.

Parts: A domain is broken into several different parts. The http:// is not part of the domain itself; rather it is part of the URL, or Uniform Resource Locator. The www (World Wide Web) is the subdomain which appears before the domain name that you ultimately choose. The .com is called the top level domain, of which there are only about 200 or so. The most common top level domains are of course, .com, .org, and .net.

Case: A domain name is case insensitive. If you register "mydomain.com" in lower case, someone else cannot come along behind you and register the same domain in upper or mixed case. This means that people can get to your site using upper, lower, or mixed case. It is important to note that the current version of the Safari browser sometimes has difficulties setting up cookies due to mixed case domain names, so it is a good habit to purchase all of your domain names in lower case.

Choosing Your Domain Name - Or, Getting the Most Bang for the Buck.

Domain names are not expensive these days, but what will ultimately cost you is choosing a domain name that really means nothing. If your visitors don't know what myllc dot com means, how can a search engine possible figure it out? We recommend GoDaddy as your domain registrar and hosting because we like the simplicity of their platform and the feature rich applications can get you up and running on the web very quickly. All that being said, good (and short) domain names are getting harder and harder to come by as people begin to utilize the power of the web. With a little thought and some digging around, you can find what you need.

Avoid dashes in your domain name if possible.

Consider the plural singular issue. Will people commonly confuse your domain by adding an "s" or removing the ending "s"? If so, considering registering both and re-directing the one that you don't use to the one that you do use.
Go for the ".com" extension whenever possible as your primary domain. This is still the most popular to level domain for businesses. For non-profits or other organizations, you will be best served by the ".org" extension. I always suggest that you purchase as many extensions as possible (.net, .org, .biz, etc.) to keep your brand safe and to also allow you to have other extensions to use for different products or services within your brand.

Make your domain makes sense and be easy to pronounce. If your domain name is a nonsensical word or combination of words that don't make much sense to people, they are not going to be able to remember the. If people feel silly pronouncing a poorly chosen domain name, they are unlikely to discuss it with other people. By making your domain name both easy to remember and easy to say, you will have a much easier time getting it found in the search engines and promoting it among people who eventually form part of your online community.

And lastly, if your aim is to become an online entrepreneur, and to ultimately have people doing keyword searches on your own name, be absolutely sure to purchase at least the top level extensions of your name. You do not want somebody with evil intentions purchasing your name. Your name is your brand and should be managed by you. Even if you don't have any intentions of building a website or blog under your own name, be sure to make sure you own it.

**You have permission to reprint in your publication or to your website/blog any articles by Denise Griffitts found on this Website as long as Denise Griffitt's name and contact information is included. Denise Griffitts, Virtual Assistance Industry Expert, http://virtualassistantindustry.com, info @ virtualassistantindustry.com, 888-719-6711.

Author's Bio: 

Denise Griffitts is a nationally recognized Virtual Assistance Industry Expert, Thought Leader, Coach and Mentor. She owns and operates a highly successful multi-VA firm and a web development company.

Denise also trains and coaches virtual assistants at Virtual Assistance University, http://virtualassistanceuniversity.com, a leading provider of training and coaching for the virtual assistance industry. Whether you're just looking to get started as a VA, or you've already got a strong client base, VAU will help you skyrocket your success as a Virtual Assistant.