A domain by any other name would not smell as sweet. Er, or something like that.
Your website is arguably your most important marketing tool, and choosing a domain name is not a decision to be made hastily. Your website and its accompanying domain name (a.k.a. URL, web address) represent your brand, and you’ll be plastering that domain name on practically everything moving forward: business cards, t-shirts, advertisements, your @email address, letterhead, you name it. Here are some tried and true tips for making sure you choose wisely!
STRATEGIES TO CONSIDER
Support Your Brand Message – Use your URL to describe what you do, if it’s not clear. If you own a family construction business called Heath & Sons, consider a domain name such as www.HeathConstruction.com.
Keep It Short and Simple – Much of your business will come from word of mouth, so you want something easy to remember AND easy to spell – nothing that can be easily mis-typed.
Register as a .com – People tend to type in .com when they don’t know the ending of a domain name, plus it tends to sound more credible than other extensions (.me, .net, .info). Also, .coms tend to rank higher in search engine rankings. Note: It’s still a good idea to buy up these other extensions so that others don’t buy them later and build competing sites.
Consider Search Rankings – When someone searches for a product or service on a search engine, they type in key words or phrases. Sites like Bing, Google or Yahoo search through millions of records to find websites that correspond with these terms. So, if you’re a canoe manufacturer, consider using that word in your domain name (i.e., www.CurtisCanoes.com).
Be Memorable/Unique – Pick a domain name that won’t be confused with other sites (e.g., a plural version of an existing site or one that uses .net or .org instead of the existing .com).
Research It – After you’re brainstormed key words and have an idea of the name of your business, do searches for other similar domain names. Also, check to see if it’s actually available. You can do this through the Digital West Storefront Finally, ask some friends for feedback to make sure it makes sense and that you’ve haven’t overlooked something.
WHAT TO AVOID
Numbers, Hyphens & Underscores – These make your domain harder to remember, more confusing to explain, and people don’t know if they’re supposed to type “seven” or “7”.
Funky Spellings or Slang – You tell someone your domain name is “EZMusic4U.com” and they try to enter “EasyMusicForYou.com”.
Lengthy URLs – It may be tough to find a suitable short name for your business, but you’re not doing yourself any favors with a long one, like “maryshomeimprovementofomaha.com,” especially when you’ll also probably use it as your email extension (e.g., mary@maryshomemiprov..... oh, nevermind!).
Copyright Infringement – Dodge legal hassles by avoiding names that sound like other businesses or products. So fight the urge to claim www.mcdonald.com for your new hamburger joint.
Photo: Courtesty of Stuart Miles