By Monique Martin
What’s in a name? On the Web, it’s your brand; it’s your business; it’s your livelihood. Way back in the Dark Ages of the Internet (1994), a new Web site emerged on the scene by the name of Cadabra.com. They sold books. But, because then-fledgling search engine Yahoo! (who was less than a year old) displayed search results alphabetically, Cadabra.com was displaying after their rival Barnesandnoble.com. Owner Jeff Bezos decided to change the name from Cadabra.com to Amazon.com and the rest, as they say, is history.
Choosing a domain name is a little more complicated these days. Here are a few tips to help you choose a domain that will help your business grow.
First and foremost, your domain name needs to describe your business. Start by making a list of keywords that relate to your business. They should accurately describe what you do and evoke an image of what you offer. Brainstorm.
Go to thesaurus.com and start looking for synonyms and variations of the keywords that best describe your business. Be flexible. If you’re stuck on a word that’s a noun, consider variations of it as an adjective or verb. But, don’t get too clever for your own good.
Make it Easy to Remember
Your domain will become your brand. You need to make it easy for users to remember.
- Shorter is better. Just because you have up to 63 characters to use doesn’t mean you should. Which is more memorable: Dixiesbootsandbucklesandsparklythings.com or dixiesdoodads.com?
- Avoid using numbers. It adds a layer of confusion. Is the site shoesandshirts7.com or shoesandshirtsseven.com?
- Avoid slang and “clever” misspellings like “kool.”
- Easy to remember also means easy to pronounce. Word of mouth is just as important as SEO for your brand’s success.
Make sure your domain isn’t squatting on someone else’s copyright. Don’t use variations of a popular domain to leach traffic. And, don’t just add “the” or hyphens to another domain. Make sure your name is unique and wholly your own.
Dot-coms are still where the action is. But, once you secure your .com, it doesn’t hurt to buy a few of the other extensions including .net, .biz and .mobi. Even if you don’t plan on having a mobile version of your site right now, you will. With the increase in smartphones and new technology, mobile Web sites are becoming a normal part of any online business plan. You also might consider buying a few misspelled versions of your new domain name as a preventative measure.
Domains are one of the least expensive and yet most important parts of your online business. Choose wisely. And, when you’ve found the one that’s perfect for your business, go ahead and pay for the longer registration. You save a few bucks and keep yourself from having one more thing to remember.
About the Author
Monique Martin served as chief operating officer for a successful online insurance marketing firm for five years.