How to Choose a Domain Name for Your Business
One of the most important early steps in setting up a new business or project is choosing a good domain name. Spending time now to choose a decent name will only make it easier for your clients to remember, type and promote both online and offline. So what are some of the top things to think about when choosing a domain name?
Here are a few key important details to remember when deciding on a domain.
- Keep it Short – The domain name should be short enough that it will make it easy for users to type in a web browser and email. The average domain name is 11 characters long. 7 is a great number as this will be easier to remember and type. Definitely avoid going over 20 characters.
- Be Descriptive – Your domain name typically has your business name, and or a descriptive element. Sometimes the descriptive element makes the domain too long and you have to be a little more imaginative to make it work. awesomejoeslandscapingservicesltd.com is too long but wait…. awesomejoes.com is available! However, if it is not too long you really should have the descriptive element in the domain name. bigwheeltires.com is better then just bigwheel.com.
- Correct Spelling – Avoid silly spellings, hyphens, numbers or anything that you would have to spell out to someone. 3lazicattlem00vers.com is a bad idea. Please ensure you are spelling it correctly when you are searching for a domain name!! There is a reason myfreinds.com is available. Yes some people do this on purpose hoping to scavenge off another popular domain. If it is too close to a popular domain then you may have to give it up or face a costly legal battle. Seems like dirty pool if you are trying to trick visitors to go to your domain.
- Research your domain – What domain extensions are available for it? You want.com if at all possible. If you just cannot make that work using different variations then you may have to consider going with a .net, .org or a country specific extension like .ca if you are located in Canada. Once you have decided on a name and extension go online and look around for other similar domains that may cause problems for you. If your site is one letter or extension removed from a XXX site you may have to reconsider and keep looking. Unless…never mind. You would be surprised by how many .coms are still available when you get creative. If your name is taken try adding iam to the beginning…
Domain Name Extensions
Domain extensions on the Internet are often referred to as top level domains (TLDs). I generally only consider the top 3 domain extensions as I have posted here unless I have a specific purpose for the site.
Some of the most common Top Level Domain (TLD) extensions are:
- .com (Commercial) – Originally meant for commercial use but used by many organisations. Most common extension.
- .net (Network) – This was for technology based sites but is used now as a backup if .com is not available.
- .org (Organization) – Intended for non-profit type of businesses. Now it is another fall back should the .com version not be available.
- .info (Informational) – After the top 3 you may want to consider this one if your site is primarily informative in nature.
- .biz (Business) – Newer TLD that is used for businesses. Not used as much as the others above but could be good to have in the future.
- .tv (Television) – Sites that have a lot of Video and are modeling after TV shows may want to consider this extension.
- .edu (Education) – Yes it is reserved for accredited educational institutions and organizations almost exclusively in the United States.
Country code top-level domains (ccTLD)
If you are not concerned with selling outside of your country you may want to consider a country specific domain. There are a lot more premium domain names available and it does not mean you cannot be found or sell outside your country it just is more difficult to. If you are selling primary in country then DO consider a ccTLD. It will help google in ranking search engine results for local targeting. Go to wikipedia.org to see a complete list of TLD’s and ccTLD’s.
Domain Name Research Tools
Here are a few tools and links you can use to help you in your research
- Domain Name Generators – namestation.com is a easy to use free (currently it is) domain name generator. It will help you find combinations of words that are available on a domain extension. You can check out nameboy.com as well.
- Domain Name Availability – namechk is a great tool that allows you to see instantly what domains AND social media sites are available.
- Domain Registrars – My preferred domain registrars are namecheap.com, baremetal.ca and domainpeople.com in that order. Low prices and they make it easy to manage the domains. Stay away from new registrars and small ones. There are many that disappear over night leaving you with out control of your domain which could be disastrous for your business.
So what’s next now that you have decided on a domain name? Now you register it and find a hosting provider!
Why do I write these kinds of articles?
I really enjoy using my unique entrepreneurial vision, technology expertise and business experience, to create new revenue opportunities, products and services whether that is for myself or others. I currently provide a mix of Consultation, Support services, WordPress Web Development services, and Internet Marketing services to those that not only want to know more but are actually willing to do something about it.
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