Choosing a Domain Name

in Website Marketing

Your domain name on the Internet is the equivalent of your business name and street address in the physical world. It’s how your business is found by others. Choosing the right domain name for your business is one of the most important decisions you make to establish your online presence. However, there are over 110 million active registered domain names and over 100,000 new registrations every day. You may not be able to get the name you want, so you probably need to be creative and explore alternatives. You can use any domain registration service such as GoDaddy or 1and1 to check whether a name is available.

A domain consists of 3 parts separated by periods:
sub-domain.domain-name.top-level-domain
for example: www.yourbusinessname.com or blog.yourbusinessname.com
The first decision you need to make is what Top Level Domain (TLD) you want – .com is the most common universal business TLD. If you plan to do business in a specific country or language you should consider country specific TLDs such as .ca (Canada), .uk (United Kingdom), .au (Australia), .de (Germany), etc. The .org TLD was originally intended for non-profits and .net was originally intended for network providers, but anyone can register domains with these TLDs.

There are endless debates about what constitutes a good domain name and how to go about choosing the right domain name for your business. Here are some guidelines to follow for choosing a good domain name:

  • Use your company or brand name if it is available. If not, try variations or add a qualifier that describes your business – e.g. if smiths.com isn’t available, try smithsoptical.com or smiths-optical.com, etc.
  • Your domain name needs to be your website name and vice versa. Don’t have a domain name of bettyjohnson.com for your business website titled ‘Betty’s Baby Clothes’.
  • Most generic names like clothing.com or furniture.com are taken, so you’ll probably need some combination name or invent your own to brand your online business.
  • Make it easy to remember.
  • Avoid names and spelling that are easy to confuse or misspell.
  • Shorter is better, but avoid being cryptic.
  • Be descriptive, but avoid really long names like bettysforthebestbabyclothes.com
  • Be careful using hyphens – people tend to forget to type in the hyphen and may not find your website or land on your competitor’s website.
  • Be careful how syllables of concatenated words can be misread when strung together – e.g. for a business name of Experts Exchange it’s better to use experts-exchange.com than expertsexchange.com.

Once you have a domain name you like and it’s available, consider registering additional TLDs and name variants to stop an unscrupulous operator from taking traffic from you with adjacent names. But don’t go overboard, just a few obvious variants and TLDs if appropriate – e.g. for marketance.com, I also registered marketince.com and marketence.com and have those domains redirected to the marketance.com website.

See the Domain Registration article for details on how to register your domain name.
Copyright © 2009 Ingistics LLC and Marketance™ www.marketance.com

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