Business Owners Guide to Domain Names

How important is your domain name?  In one word – Very!!

Your website domain name needs to be memorable and relevant to your business.  The more your domain name reflects your business the easier it is for people to remember and get to your website.  Choose a descriptive name.  It should tell your prospect something about your business and what they can expect when they visit your website.  Use your branding research to guide you in your choice.

Choose a name that is unique and distinct from your competition.  Take time to make sure the name has longevity, a lasting capacity.  You will want to be comfortable with the name for a long time.  Changes later can be costly and result in a possible loss of business.  You will be building brand recognition around your domain name.

Use your keywords in your domain name.  The search engines appear to give preference to keywords that are also found in your domain name.  Whatever you choose, make sure it is easily understood.

.com is the preferred form of domain name.  It is the easiest to remember and most commonly used.  You eliminate the confusion that may result from another form i.e. .net or .org

Think of your brand name, your website name and your domain name as being the same.  Your brand name is the first thing people will try in their browser.  It’s easiest for them to remember and ties in with your product advertising.

If you can’t get the name of your choice, go for a domain name you can get and change your website name to match the domain name.  i.e. your website name is Pat’s Poodles  – patspoodles.com is gone  You can get poodleparlor.com.  Make your website name Poodle Parlor.

An alternative is to purchase the name from the current owner.  You can get their contact information at whois.com  You will likely pay a premium for the domain if the owner is willing to sell.

My name as my domain name

Does your market research suggest that you have the name recognition to use your name as your domain name?  Are you a celebrity in your field or do you have a body of work that you wish to bring under one umbrella?  You make a commitment to branding yourself when you use your own name for your domain name.

By all means purchase a domain name using your name if it is available.  It will always be there for you to use later.

Other considerations:

Short is better – Generally a shorter domain name is better.  It is easier to remember and faster to write or type.  Aim for a maximum of 19 characters if you can.  However, don’t sacrifice description or keywords for the sake of brevity.

No numbers – realestate4you.com can be mistaken as realestateforyou.com  You want people to understand what you are saying without explanation.

No hyphens or underscores – they are easy for people to forget when typing your domain or passing it along as a recommendation.  That said, you may use if the non-hyphenated form is no longer available and you want those keywords in your domain name.

No plurals – use plurals only if you can get both the singular and the plural.  i.e. website.com v websites.com  That way a competitor won’t try to get your business with a name that closely resembles yours.

No “the” or “my” forms – the domain name registrar will suggest alternate form if you can’t get what you want.  If you do decide to take “my” and “the” forms, make sure that you always promote your site with the full form of the name or people may forget to put it in.

No generic names – these are too broad and don’t tell people what you offer.

WORD OF THE DAY:  Keywords  A keyword is a term used to find documents in an information system.  When you type a word or “keyword” into a search engine it looks for sites that have information on that subject.  As a web marketer you choose to emphasize the keywords in your domain name and your copy that people will use and the search engines will pick up

Your domain name is critical to the success of your business.  Choose wisely.


Comments

Business Owners Guide to Domain Names — 30 Comments

  1. Good post and I have made some pointer domains to get to my main website. Any suggestions on how to optimize that?

    Also Kevin, who probably doesn’t remember this, told me to change my name once because I couldn’t tell people in passing to go to jenniferbattaglino.com…too hard to remember.
    So I figure if I’m famous enough people will learn how to say it and remember it! 🙂

    Jen
    The Harwood Center – Tinnitus, Chronic Illness, Fers, Phobias, and Anxiety

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