It’s one of your most highly visible branding opportunities. Yup, the domain name you choose for your web presence is a critical decision. In most cases, you’ll simply choose the name of your business. But there are times when that won’t be available and you’ll have to come up with another idea. Here are some domain name best practices to help you determine the best choice.
Simplicity Is Essential
Ideally, the words comprising your domain name will be short, memorable, and easy to spell. The terms you use should be common within your industry.
Keep in mind there are times when people will need to type your domain name into a web browser, even though most traffic comes from search these days. Who wants to type a 36-character domain name, hoping they don’t make a mistake and have to start all over again? Remember, every single letter must be correct, or your site won’t come up—unless you bought all possible variations of the name, of course. However, it’s next to impossible to predict every potential misspelling. It’s better to just keep it simple.
With that said, it’s better to use words, even if they are a bit longer, than to use cryptic abbreviations to keep it short. MySuperSmartBusiness.com, makes more sense to people than MSSB.com.
Research It Before Falling in Love with It
You must take pains to ensure the name you want is among available domains and isn’t copyrighted by someone else. You can also find out who owns the name if it is taken and perhaps work out a deal with them, if they aren’t using it.
When there are a few common misspellings of the name, it’s a good idea to purchase them. This will help your spelling-challenged customers find you. It will also prevent another company from capitalizing on misspellings you left vulnerable to commandeering.
Make It Relevant to Your Business
If your exact business name isn’t available, you may have to get a bit creative. There are a couple of routes you can follow. Some marketing experts will tell you to get a “.com” top-level domain (TLD) at all costs. However, getting your actual name with a “.biz”, or “.info” is a better move.
If that isn’t possible either, go for something that describes what you do. Let’s say you repair computers in Oakland. Go for OaklandComputerRepair.biz. In addition to describing your business, it says where you’re located. This choice also contains keywords someone in Oakland might type into a search engine when they’re looking for a computer repair service.
When people can say a word easily, it’s less difficult to remember. There is a phenomenon known as processing fluency, in which people tend to relate more readily to things they can say without difficulty. If you choose a domain name you have to spell when you’re trying to convey it in conversation, you’re going to have problems. By the way, this can vary by region and country. Take cultural considerations under advisement when you’re making your choice.
Avoid Trendy Phrases
Trends come and go, but keeping it real is eternal. Catchy phrases inhabiting the vernacular might be great today, but five years from now, when they’ve fallen out of favor (anybody else sick of the word “omni”?), they will make your business seem old and dated. With that said; if the phrase appeals specifically to your target audience go for it.
If you can’t get your business name—or it isn’t conducive to being a good domain name—choose something descriptive with a keyword in it. Alternative TLDs are not the kiss of death, especially if you can get your exact business name. Short, precise, easy to remember and easy to spell are ideal. These domain name best practices will help you get one that works for your business.