Picking a domain name should be easy, right? Why, I’ll just use my business name. Not so fast, Sparky. A good bit of thought should be given to selecting a domain name.
A Cautionary Note
Picking a domain name is like getting married. You are going to have to stick with it till the bitter end. People that use your site will come to know it by the domain name. Repeat visitors will often simply type in the domain name to get to the site, better known as “type in traffic”. As an example, do you search for “Amazon” when you want to buy a book or do simply type in amazon.com? If Amazon were to change its domain name to Desert, there would be a lot of confusion. The same goes with your domain. Once you pick something, stick with it.
Well, the obvious choice is your business name, but it may not be the best. There are four significant issues to consider.
First, is there something about your business name that makes using it as a domain an unwise choice? This situation typically arises if you have a long business name or have plural words. “Halstatt’s Rip’n Marketing Campaigns, Inc.” is going to be a horrible domain name. Clients are going to find it difficult to type in such a domain name.
Double letter problems are a second issue that is entirely unique to the Internet. What if Sams Salon wants to use its business name as a domain? The “s” at the end of first word and beginning of the second can cause confusion. Is the domain name Samssalon.com or Samsalon.com? Confusing your users is a bad way to run a site.
The third issue concerns the nature of your site and search engine optimization. If you are shooting for a particular keyword phrase, you may be better off using that keyword phrase in your domain name. Google, for instance, looks at the domain name when evaluating a site. If the words in your domain name are spaced with dashes, many believe it will help in the ranking process. This is why you see so many xxx-xxxx-xxx.com domain names on the net. If your business focuses on a very specific area, strong consideration should be given to using relevant keywords in your domain name.
Finally, your domain name should end in “.com” and I don’t want to hear any argument or see any rolling of the eyes. The simple fact is that when people think of sites, they always type in .com. Yes, there are other extensions and .us, .net, .biz, etc., may seem unique, but it kills your traffic. Pavlov and his dog experiments had it right. People have been mentally conditioned to type in .com, so don’t select any other ending. If you do, a smart competitor will register the .com version of your name to get some free traffic. If you are really lucky, a porn site will do it!
Take a breath before you select a domain name. Like a spouse, it can be either a good or bad choice.