Choosing a business name will be one of the most important decisions that you will ever make. You will toss and turn in bed at night trying to come up with the perfect name that captures the essence of your products and services. Friends and family members will bombard you with name prospects. Your four-year old niece may suggest the best name. You become so desperate to find a name that you resort to running a contest that provides the perfect moniker for your business. Eventually, you settle on a business name that people attribute to high quality products and friendly service.
The same level of attention to detail that you devote to creating a business name does not apply when you decide on a domain name for your website. You may take a few minutes, before coming up with a group of words that precede dot com. The words may or may not include your business name. The words probably do not convey much at all. One of the biggest mistakes a business owner can make is carelessly choosing a domain name for his or her website.
The Importance of Choosing the Right Domain Name
Think of your business website as the cyberspace version of your physical business. Your website is just a virtual replica of what you sell over the counter. Therefore, you must perform the domain name search with the same diligence that you perform for choosing a business name. You must be diligent for two primary reasons.
- First, branding is a huge component of your marketing strategy. The name that you choose for your business is one that customers immediately recognize when they shop for the products and services that you offer. Your online brand, which is the extension of your business name, is the domain name that you choose for your website. You probably do not have the name recognition of a Wal Mart or Microsoft, so your domain name does not necessarily have to include your business name. However, when you brand via your domain name, you create a string of words that customers immediately recognize as either your business or an extension of your business.
- The second reason for the importance of domain names is Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. You want a domain that incorporates the keywords that potential customers use to find your business online. Many times, this will include incorporating words that indicate a specific industry and/or geographic region. Search engines often return results that include domain name keywords. For instance, if you run an Asian grocery store in Denver, you could create a domain such as Denver Asian Grocer dot com. Some domain name experts do not place as much emphasis on SEO friendly domain names, but think about the logic of incorporating popular keywords into the name that represents your business online.
Domain Name Tips
- Avoid using letters that people had a difficult time typing, such as x,z,q,w, and p. This may sound like nitpicking, but put yourself in a potential customer’s shoes. The easiest letters to type sit in the middle of the keyboard. Furthermore, avoid using hyphens in a domain name. People often suggest websites to their friends and family members. When they suggest a website name that contains hyphens, they typically do not include the hyphens in their oral versions. A domain of eatorganicproduce dot com is much preferable to eat-organic-produce dot com.
- Most website experts agree that short domains are preferable to long domain names. Yet, never condense your domain name, if a long name perfectly describes your business. Acronyms, while pithy in emails and online message boards, have no search engine value for your business. “How to treat foot injuries” dot com should never be condensed to HTTFI dot com. Remember that the longer the domain name, the more likely that potential customers will make a mistake typing the name into the URL box.
- If your domain is rejected because it matches another domain name, resist the temptation to use an alternative suffix, such as net or org. You operate a business, not a non-profit organization or volunteer agency. Com signifies a commercial endeavor, and you should use it for your domain suffix. If you create a domain that already exists online, then slightly tinker with the words or word placement of your domain name.
Many business owners register their websites with website hosting companies. These companies provide the number and quality of services that benefit businesses when they conduct transaction online. Many web hosting companies provide an easy to use platform for accepting payments. While enticing, you should avoid allowing a web hosting company to choose your website domain name. Insist on a name that effectively conveys your brand image and incorporates some of the primary keywords that potential customers use to find your business online.
One of the most important decisions that you will make concerning your business is choosing the best website domain name. Many business owners do not understand the implications of choosing the wrong domain name. Your website may have appealing content, you may offer superior products, and you may provide the best customer serviced in town. However, if people cannot find you online, all of your other business accomplishments will be just a waste of time and money. Choosing the right domain is so important that many business owners pay consultants to create the right domain name for their websites.
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