In the modern world of the Internet, where people automatically turn to the Web for information, your domain name needs to be unique to you to actively lead people to your business. Customers have short memories; they will not memorize an unrelated URL. Keep it simple for your customers and visitors and uniquely related to your business. Here are some useful answers...
What is a Domain Name?
Just to make sure we're all on the same page here, a domain name is the web address that leads people to your web site. Just the same as your home address, web browsers will direct people to your site via your domain name which ususally starts with 'www.' and ends with .com, .net, .co, .biz, .org etc.
Should My Domain Name Match My Business Name?
In most cases....yes! Example: If my business name is Bloomin Flowers then my website domain name might be http://www.bloominflowers.com/ or http://www.bloomin-flowers.com/. This makes it easy for people to find my website just by searching for my business by name. You want your site to be easy to find and easy to get to. Many new businesses search for and secure their domain name before officially naming their business for this reason.
Not every domain name matches the business name, surprising but true.Suppose those domain names for Bloomin Flowers are taken already. So instead I get http://www.bf.com/ which is my initials but rather obscure since it doesn't delinate what my business is. What happens when my customers type in Bloomin Flowers in a search engine. My competitors' sites will show up first and if I haven't actively made my website search engine friendly, my site might not show up or be recognizable.
What if I can't Match my Domain Name to My Business Name?
Your domain name choice may be already bought and could be a lot of time and money to get ownership of it. You have to determine how important the one you want is and how much you may be willing to spend to buy it from the party that already owns it. Check up the "whois" information for the domain, and contact that person listed to see if they're willing to sell it.
On the other hand, if you're just starting out, you might prefer the cheaper alternative of trying to obtain a domain name first, and then naming your website (or business) after the domain that you've acquired. This may seems a bit like putting the cart before the horse, but that's the reality if you don't want to lose out on the Internet.
Sometimes adjusting the domain name slightly will allow you to get a domain name that matches your business without having to pay extra. Here are some factors to consider...
Abreviations versus Keywords
Domain names can be of any length up to 67 characters. Some argue that shorter domain names are easier to remember, easier to type and far less susceptible to mistakes. Plus if you work with your initials alot you can incorporate this into your marketing. Example: www. RCDbyJohn.com for a business called Really Cool Designs by John. It's increasingly difficult to get short meaningful domain names because most have been sold already. If you manage to get a short domain name though, the key is to make sure it's a meaningful combination of characters and not hard to type and remember
Others argue that a longer domain name is usually easier on the human memory - for example, "www.gaepw.com" is a sequence of unrelated letters that is difficult to remember and type correctly, whereas if we expand it to its long form, "GetAnEconomicallyPricedWebsite.com", we are more likely to remember the domain name. If you have a tagline that you use often, it can be positive to use that as a domain name. Long domain names that have your site keywords in them also have an advantage in that they seach better in the search engines. This is the key to being found on the internet, can the search engines find your company.
Try to avoid extremely long names verging on 67 characters. Aside from the obvious problem that people might not be able to remember such a long name, it would also be a chore typing it and trying to fit it as a title on your web page.
Hyphenated Domain Names
1. Hphens are easy to forget when typing a name. Many users are used to typing things like freecomputertools.com but not free-computer-tools.com. They'll probably leave out the hyphens and end up at your competitor's site.
2. When people recommend your site verbally, having hyphens in your domain name leads to more potential errors.
1. Search engines can distinguish your keywords better and thus return your site more prominently in search results for those keywords occurring in your domain name.
2. The non-hyphenated form may no longer be available. At least this way, you still get the domain name you want.
Different forms of Domains with plurals: the and my
Very often, if you can't get the domain name you want, the domain name registrar will suggest alternate forms of the name you typed. For example, if you wanted website.com, and it was taken (of course it is), it might suggest forms like:
and the like, if they were not already taken as well. The question is, should you go with one of these options?
If you take the "the..." and "my..." forms of the domain name, you must remember to promote your site with the full form of the name. Otherwise, people are likely to forget to affix the necessary "the" or "my".
On the other hand, do not take the plural form of the domain name (eg, websites.com) if you cannot also get "website.com", since the chance of the visitor failing to type the "s" in the name is very great.
Domain Name Endings or Extensions
What if you cannot get the “.com” domain but the “.net” or “.org” or others are available. Are these others ok for domain addresses? The answer is not as simple as you might think and should fit your business needs based on some of the features covered below.
.com - the most popular and widely recognized domain extension in the world. It usually pops up first in search results and people are more likely to type it over any other ending. May be registered by anyone. Get it if you can!
.net - used frequently when the .com version of your domain name has been taken. Widely used for internet infrastructure as well.
.info - associated with websites that provide information as opposed to sales. This can be useful for businesses who publish articles and is recognized world wide.
.co - this is a new extension that provides people options if their domains are taken in other widely recognized domain extensions. International recognition and easy to remember.
.biz - made specifically for business and ecommerce sites such as online stores.
.org - popular extension for non-profit and non-commercial organizations as well as highlighting a business or companies charitable features.
.mobi - can be easily viewed on a mobile device such as a smart phone or tablet.
.me - usually reserved for blogs, online resumes or portfolios of an individual
There are other domain extensions that relate to specific countries as well as one's that must be a qualified group to obtain (Example: only an official school can get a .edu extension or government agency use .gov etc)
Can I Have More Than One Domain Name?
Absolutely! Multiple domain names can point to the same website. In fact if you are a new business it's best to secure your domain name with multiple extensions to protect it from a competitor. You can create other search word filled domain names to point to your website but it's a good idea to make sure the domain names are relevant to your content so as not to draw negative attention from search engines.
The best idea is to get your domain name first....before you even make your business offcial! If you're already in business, follow the above hints or seek help from a marketing strategist who understands search engine optimization and establishing a professional web presence.