Archive for June, 2007

How to choose the right domain name?

June 28, 2007

Major factors in choosing your domain name;

  1. Your company name
  2. First choice is always a .com. Second choice is the ccTLD. In the US that would be .us. In Britain,
  3. Keep it short. You will only find a three character domain name in the after-market for a premium price, so start looking for domain names with four or more characters
  4. Best if it is memorable
  5. Can most people spell it correctly?
  6. If you tell me the domain name over the phone, how many times will you have to repeat? Will I have it right?
  7. Does the domain name tell people what you do? Or are you going to create a brand, as Yahoo and Google did?
  8. Key Words. It is a great idea to have a word in the domain name that relates to the site content. This shows relevancy.
  9. Does it sound legitimate? does not sound trustworthy.
  10. Don’t use hyphens.
  11. Try not to be swayed too far a field by what “people” say the search engines like in a domain name. What they like changes over time as they improve. Make your selection from a marketing, branding, sales point of view instead of what folks say the search engines “like”.

Hopefully you can find the domain name that you want and purchase it directly from a domain name registrar. If you can’t, you can purchase a domain name in the after-market where domains cost hundreds, thousands and even millions of dollars. But that is story for another post on another day.

What do you look for in a domain name?


Canonicalization can more than double the link love

June 25, 2007

You may be in a position to dramatically increase the effectiveness of inbound links to your web site in a few minutes by editing the .htaccess (Hypertext Access) file and specifying your URL.

Canonicalization is the process by which the search engines choose the best URL when there are several choices.

Several choices look like this:

Multiple URLs and duplicate content

The search engines see these all as unique URL’s. But, they also have the same content on them. So, you could be dividing and diminishing your link love and presenting duplicate content, which search engines penalize.

Canonicalization to the rescue

What if we could get everyone to link to just one URL and get the search engines to see just one URL? This would gather up the power of all the links and focus them on “one web site” rather than many and eliminate the duplicate content problem.

Modify the .htaccess file

For those using Apache, the answer is .htaccess file and mod_rewrite.

Sample text to include in the .htaccess file

Directoryindex index.php index.shtml index.html index.htm
Options +FollowSymLinks
RewriteEngine On
RewriteRule ^index.html index.php
RewriteRule ^([0-9A-Za-z_-]+).html index.php?page=$1
RewriteRule ^([0-9A-Za-z_-]+)/([0-9A-Za-z_-]+).html index.php?page=$1&subpage=$2

With Rewriterule on applied to non www —> —> – no action required.

With Rewriterule off —> —>

Multiple unique domain names can be eliminated by using the .htaccess file to canonicalize your URL’s. This eliminates the duplicate content problem and gathers up all of the inbound links pointed at your Home page and redirects them to one URL. This is awesome stuff!

More information

Hard core documentation from Apache
Google’s Matt Cutts offers his advice about canonicalization
Chris Hooley explains canonicalization


Where is your primary navigation?

June 20, 2007

Where is your primary navigation?

Is it across the top, down the left side or down the right side?

There are valid reasons for all three locations. Locating your navigation on the left is by far the most popular position, but it is not right for every web site.

Eye-tracking studies show that visitors begin looking at your web site in the top left corner. Because of this, the top left corner is considered the most valuable real estate on the page. Down the left side is also very valuable.

Your purpose determines where you place your primary navigation.

Selling Ads

If you are primarily selling ads, put your ads in the top left corner where they will get clicked on. Move your navigation to another location.


If branding is a critical component of your web presence, then be sure that your logo is in the top left corner.

Content focused

If your content is king, don’t put your navigation on the left, instead put it on the right or across the top.

Playing it safe

Most visitors expect to find the navigation down the left side.

Primary navigation on the top or the right is best

Placing interesting content in the most valuable real estate engages the visitor and they will want to read on, no matter where your primary navigation is located.

Why did you choose to place your primary navigation where it is?

The 4 R’s and 5 P’s in the life of a domain name.

June 19, 2007

A domain name can be…

1. Registered for 1 to 10 years
2. Renewed for 1 to 10 years
3. Purchased from a private party for big bucks
4. Parked on a MFA page and maybe earn a few bucks
5. Privately registered. Makes it hard to answer the question, “Who is the owner?”
6. Pointed to your domain name server
7. Parked on an existing domain name
8. Rented or Leased
9. Retired. Just let it expire naturally.

Domain names can cost you money or make you money.


A couple of years ago I inherited about 80 domain names. I did not register them, however, to keep them, I would need to renew them each year at a total cost of over $500 each year or else they would expire. Many were not worth keeping. What a liability!

Domain Name purchased from a Private Pary for thousands of dollars

About a year later a client called and asked me to obtain a few of domain names that were already registered by someone else. I went into Boston to meet with one of the champs at Sedo and learned a whole lot about the domain name market place. We eventually purchased the domain names we wanted for four figures. My client was ecstatic to obtain the domain names of his business name for significantly less than expected.

Domain Name Parking

During this time, I learned of domain name parking and immediately parked all of my domains at Sedo. The pennies started rolling in most days. This was not enough to support the lame domain names in my portfolio, but it definitely eased the financial burden while I figured out which I would sell, develop, park or retire.

Private Domain Name Registration

My client elected to register his newly acquired domain names privately. This keeps his contact information out of the public whois directory of domain name owners. Many of my domain name clients elect to do this. There are spammers and scammers that search the database to populate their spam email lists. Private registration keeps their prying eyes away.

Point to your Domain Name Server (DNS)

Once we had control of the domain name accounts, we pointed the domain name servers to our hosting server. This information tells all DNS queries that our DNS is authoritative and then provides the directions to the web site.

Park your Domain Names

My client also registered a number of additional domain names for future use. So, rather then letting them sit idly by, he elected to park these names on his primary web site. This redirects all traffic for these parked domains to his primary web site.


Renting allows you to keep ownership of a valuable name. The renter has the opportunity to build a business without the expense of purchasing a valuable domain name. Make sense?

Retiring – focus your investment elsewhere

I am now down to about 60 domain names after letting those with no value expire. These are typically domain names comprised of three or more words and in industries that hold no interest for me, or anyone else likely. These domain names are now available for someone else to register and develop.

Two last points of advice.

1) Register your domain name for as many years as you can afford.
2) Do whatever it takes to make sure that your domain name does not expire. I have seen business owners lose their domain names and that really hurts.


Registration, Private registration or Renewal of your domain name

Private party purchase and Parking,