Most people starting a new business or website, spend quite a bit of time brainstorming names for their business. Even if it is an offline business, you will probably still need to check if the .com is available. No point naming your business, only to find the .com is being used by a less than savory website.
When selecting a domain to register, you can choose between a keyword rich name, or use words that are catchy but unrelated to your business. Lonelyplanet for example doesn’t mention travel, but is a catchy and easy to remember name. Or you can even make up a new word (Yahoo) or vary the spelling of an existing word (Google).
Google’s search engine seems to place some weight on the domain name, so if you are looking to get traffic from search engines, it is a good idea to select a keyword-rich domain, ie. the keywords you want your site to rank for. The other advantage of a keyword-rich domain, is that when people link to your website, they use the name of your site as the anchor text. As we know, this is one of the best ways to build rankings in Google.
I also prefer to get a .com and not have any hyphens in the name. For this project, I was prepared to buy a domain that had previously been registered, but was available for sale. This usually means that you need to pay a bit more than the usual $10 registration fee. If you are serious about your site, I think getting a good name is a good investment. Why build your business around a .net for example, only to lose traffic to people typing in .com.
Anyway, I decided on the name asiatravelguide.com. No guessing as to what the site will be about!
I am going to continue writing about how I plan to develop and market the site. Next I will probably write about the CMS (content management system) I am running.