You’re ready to take your business online. You’ve got your
business plan, mission statement, your logo, etc. when you run into your first
roadblock, choosing your domain name. Your domain will be your website’s
identity and should be associated with your actual business. This will determine how easily your website will be found on the internet.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when selecting your domain name:
1. Keep it Simple
Along with most things, the simpler something is, the easier it will be to remember. Using commonly known words that are easy to spell is a must! If people can’t type in your URL they’re going to have a very difficult time finding you. This also includes avoiding words that are commonly misspelled like, collectible, leisure, or even jewelry. Try finding similar words by using a thesaurus if you find that your domain name contains one.
Being short and sweet can sometimes backfire. Beware of puns or being “too clever,” as they can sometimes be misleading when people go to type them in. Flickr, for example wanted to be trendy and the domain was different and fresh. Eventually though, they had to purchase the correct spelling domain, flicker.com.
Also, don’t include words that only your industry would recognize. Using slang or industry lingo in your domain name will be hard to remember and hard to understand. Stick with words that your customers will comprehend.
2. Use your Name
Being straightforward can often be the best route to go when selecting a domain, especially for businesses where you ARE the business like doctors, dentists and lawyers. If your last name is hard to spell, consider using your first name and an initial. This way even if people misspell your URL, they are still likely to find you by searching for your name.
3. Make it Keyword Rich
Inserting one or two keywords about your business into your domain name will not only make it easier for people to find, but also gives you a nice boost in the eyes of the search engines. However, beware of using hyphens if the regular version of the domain you want is taken. While it looks good and is still valuable in a search engine optimization standpoint, it can often lose traffic from people searching for your domain if they are unaware your URL contains the hyphen.
4. Watch out for Word Strings and Other Things
They’re just as hard to read as they are to type. Word string URLs such as, bulbsfansstandsandmore.com can be easily forgotten. Instead, use something like LightingsPlus.com but always beware of infringing on others' copyrights when brainstorming. You can always check whois.net to see if your top choice is already being used or copyright.gov to ensure you’re not stealing anyone else’s work.
5. Using .Com
Out of all of the domain extensions that exist, .com is probably the most commonly used. Most people will assume that your site is .com unless you really push to inform them it’s otherwise. Unless you have a particular reason not to, it’s always best to use .com.
While it may be easy to think of your domain as where your site “lives,” it is important to remember that choosing the right one for your business is crucial. Find the domain name that will bring your website the most success.