Domain Name: Pick one that Helps Your Business
By Twinty Karat
How hard can it be picking a domain name? It should be easy, right? Why not just use my business name. That should be fine shouldn’t it? Hold on, not so fast. According to myself and a lot of other people there should be a good bit of thought given to selecting a domain name. You want a domain name that’s effective in getting people to your website and also one that indicates what your business is about.
Let’s think more about this
You can think of it like this. Choosing a domain name is similar to getting married. In almost all cases you have to stick with it till the bitter end. Visitors and those that use your site will come to know it by the domain name. Many links going to your site may also have your domain name or site title in the link. Any repeat visitors you have will often simply type in the domain name to get to the site. This is often known as “type in traffic”. Because of this it is recommended to use words in your domain name that do not have different ways of spelling any words in your domain name or URL.
For example, do you search for “Apple” when you want to find out about Apple Computers or products or do you simply type in apple.com? If Apple were to change its domain name to BarePaw, there would be mass confusion and a lot of unhappy campers. The same goes with your domain name. Once you pick a good name then stick with it come “He.. and high water.” Seriously though, you could potentially lose a lot of customers because anyone typing in your old name would not find you if you changed your domain name.
In the case just mentioned where a business has changed their website address, there is something that can be done to prevent losing customers, but that is not something we will cover in this short article. Suffice it to say, it is not advisable to change your domain name once you have people coming to your website.
Choices for your domain name
Well, the most obvious choice of a name is your business name, but depending on several factors it may not be the best choice. Here we will consider five significant issues concerning your business name.
- First, is there anything about your business name that makes it an unwise choice as a domain name? This could be because you have a long business name, have words that might be spelled two ways, or have plural words. “Suzette’s Sipp’n Slop Goodies, Inc.” is going to be a terrible domain name. It could easily turn off potential or new clients simply because it can be a nightmare to even say, let alone remember, plus very difficult to type into a browser.
- A second issue is double letter problems. These are entirely unique to the Internet. What if Sis’s Soup Kitchen wants to use its business name as a domain name? The “s” at the end of first word and beginning of the second word can cause confusion for many people. Is the domain name SissSoupKitchen.com or SisSoupKitchen.com or SiSoupKitchen.com? This type of confusing situation for your users is not a good way to get people to your site or remember your domain name.
- The third issue concerns your site topic and search engine optimization (SEO). If you are trying to rank for a particular keyword phrase, you might be better off using that same keyword phrase in your domain name. However, if the phrase is long or has many words in it then it is not advisable or you should not use the exact phrase.
- A fourth issue is to not use dashes in your domain name. Same for numbers, unless there is a good reason to use them. If the words in your domain name have dashes, this is not a good thing. Of course there are probably exceptions, but they won’t affect you. When the web was new it was common and some said it was an advantage to use dashes in your domain name, but no more; now it is a disadvantage. You should give strong consideration to using relevant keywords in your domain name if your business is in a very specific area but do not use dashes in the process.
- Lastly, your domain name should end in “.com” otherwise you will almost surely lose some traffic and not have the normal .com extension most everyone expects. The fact is when people think of websites, they always think of and type in .com. Of course there are other extensions and .org, .net, .biz, etc., and many more, some of which may seem unique, but any one of the non .com extensions kills your traffic. Since the web started people have been conditioned to type in .com. Don’t select any other ending; it will almost surely be to your peril. If you do, a smart competitor will register the .com version of your name. They will get some free traffic complements of you.
Although .com is the preferred domain name extension there are cases in countries outside the United States where registering the country name is desired or even preferred, such as .ca for Canada. If you are in one of these countries that is another consideration when it comes to registering domain names.
For example Google, the most important search engine, looks at the domain name as part of the equation when evaluating a site. Right now, with their latest EMD algorithm update, they are targeting some Exact Match Domains so be careful. If your domain name is an exact match of longer search phrases it could pose problems for you leading to less traffic instead of more.
Consider these points before you select a domain name. Just like a spouse, choosing a domain name can have advantages and disadvantages and the results can be either good or bad depending on your choice of a name. Make that choice a good one. Here are some excellent choices for a domain name.