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Choosing a Good Domain Name for your Equine Business Website

Why your Domain Name Matters:

Your success in building your horse business using the Internet pivots on the ability of your clients to find your website.

Customers will find your website by one of these methods:

  1. Using a search engine (such as Google.com) and entering words or phrases related to what he is looking for. The search engine produces a list of websites that are relevant to those keywords and phrases. The ways that search engines find and rank relevant sites are complicated and varied, but for many the actual domain name still influences the ranking.
  2. Following a link to your site from another website or online directory.
  3. Knowing the domain name of the website (from seeing it on a print ad or business card, for example) and entering the URL (the domain name followed by "." and the domain extension: com, net, info...) of the site into their web browser.
  4. Knowing the name of the business and typing the business name plus an extension in their address bar, hoping to get lucky and find the business' website.

In any case, your domain name should be intuitive and descriptive. If you are raising Egyptian Arabians you should not name your website "Outback Kangaroos."

Which Name to Choose?

Should you register your business name as your domain (e.g., johnsonsranch.com)? Or should you pick something more descriptive that contains likely keywords (e.g., reiningquarterhorses.com)? Or should you combine these strategies (e.g., johnsonsquarterhorses.com or johnsonsreininghorses.com)?

Opinions vary, but I would choose the second or third option over the first. Using your business name as the domain name might make it easier for the smaller visitor groups, numbers 3 and 4, to find you on the internet. Using descriptive terms, alone or in combination with your business name, helps the larger visitor groups 1 and 2 by helping with search engine rank and providing a descriptive link.

The best solution is to register all three of those choices. Domain name registration is inexpensive. Having a couple of domain names offer more opportunity for people to find you. Plus, registering multiple names can prevent other people from grabbing a name you want and confusing web surfers by posting a competing business website under that name.

What About the Domain Extension?

What about the domain extension? For a commercial or business site, I am of the opinion that the .com extension is the best, because it was the first extension available for commercial sites and is the first extension that most people think of when they are looking for a business. A referral to "Super Saddle" would prompt most people with surfing experience to go first to the URL "Supersaddle.com." If "Supersaddle" had the domain of "Supersaddle.org," "Supersaddle.net," "Supersaddle.ws," or the like, less clients would find it from a referral to plain old "Supersaddle."

As with the name selection, a better bet in choosing a domain extension would be to not choose at all: register the .com, .net, .org, .ws, .biz, and .info extensions. When it comes to registering domain names, feel free to take two (or more), they're small (er, cheap)!

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