Every business needs to have its presence registered on the Web, with its own website. The moment you decide to make a website for your business, the first thought should be: What will be the name of my website?
You are probably thinking a domain name is just another name, right? Wrong!
What will be the domain name of my website? Thatâ€™s a very important question, indeed. Choosing a domain name requires all full attention and care right from the beginning.
Your domain name is your identity on the Web. With the millions of domain names vying for the attention of todayâ€™s online consumer, you will want a domain name that registers itself fast on the memory of your target audience.
If you already have a business running, your domain name will draw its identity from the prior, existing legal business name. Six tips to coining a successful domain name are:
1. A good domain name is relatively short.
A short name is important for several reasons:
- Fits easily into logos
- Makes a better brand
- Is more easily recognizable
- Is harder to misspell
Domain name registrars allow up to 63-character domain names. However, it is unwise to take full liberty, literally speaking. Long domain names don’t fit well in forms, on billboards or in advertising formats. So keep your domain name relatively short.
2. A good domain name is memorable.
- Generic names, such as Art.com and Garden.com, are easy on the memory. But more unique names such as Amazon.com, Google.com, and HogFog.com make good impact, too.
- Putting together strange combinations of words is fun and can be very productive. It helps if it rhymes like HogFog.com, or repeats sounds such as Google.com, or is reassuring like WebStartToday.com.
- Say your likely domain name out loud to experience how it sounds. Check if your tongue gets twisted by multiple syllables.
- Whatever your domain name, it should stick in the mind.
TIP: Including a service description in the name helps branding in the short term.
It’s best if your domain name can be guessed from your company name. But in your search for a domain name, don’t give up if you can’t find the domain for your exact business name. Find functional names, names that describe your uniqueness, names that express an emotion or attitude.
3. A good domain name isn’t easily confused with others.
In their desperation to find a domain name, some people coin hyphenated names and put “the” in front of a word, as in TheStandard.com. The problem with this is it can create confusion.
Trademark laws are designed to prevent customer confusion. If the holder of a similar domain name is first to trademark his combination, it could threaten your domain name, or at least your ability to use it as a brand.
Another consideration is how you’ll need to say your domain name over the phone. If you always have to say “spelled ding-hyphen-doodle.com” you’ll soon wish you’d left out the hyphens.
Do your best to find a name that can’t be confused.
4. A good domain name is hard to misspell.
If people can misspell something, they will. The longer and more complex your domain name, the harder it is for your customers to type it in correctly.
Many people can’t type well to start with, so to require typing in a long name may lose you a lot of business.
5. A good domain name relates to your business name or core business.
It’s best if your domain name can be guessed from your company name.
But in your search for a domain name, don’t give up if you can’t find the domain for your exact business name.
Find functional names, names that describe your uniqueness, names that express an emotion or attitude.
6. A good domain name sounds solid to your target audience.
If possible, get a .com domain or the domain that has the most respect in your country (.us).
You can get a .biz, .info, .cc, .ws, .tv, or .to. However, by common perception such domains are offbeat secondary choices.
Offbeat domain names sound … offbeat and suspect. Your main domain should be the one that people expect it to be. In the US, that’s probably .com. In France it would be .fr. If you want to appeal to an international audience, .com is probably best.
So, there indeed is a lot in a domain name!
Remember, a domain name makes or breaks a brand in the eyes of search engine robots, prospects and customers.
Think long and hard now. All the branding and search engine rankings are lost if a domain name choice changes over time.