How to Choose a Website Domain
Wondering how to choose a website domain?I wish I could be involved in this decision with every client we gain. Unfortunately we (too often) hear from them after they’ve chosen and purchased their domain. This is one of the most important decisions related to your online presence. Here are the six most important things (in our opinion) to consider when choosing a domain:
1. You domain should somehow resemble your business, product, cause, or message. In other words…if you are selling candles, don’t choose your cat’s name as your domain. That is unless you’ve named your cat Sweet Candles…or something like that.
2. Make the domain as short as possible. For example our domain is too long, but why it is like that is an even longer story. This is one of those “do as I say, not as I do” things your parents used to offer. Think about ease of spelling.
3. If you can get the .com (dot com),that should be your first choice. If it is not available be careful about choosing an alternative. For example, if the dot com is taken, check to see if it is pointed to a website. If not, then choosing an otherwise “like” dot org, dot net, or any of the other choices makes sense. If the dot com is pointed to a website, and that website has been there a while, you may have an uphill challenge to compete for search engine rank especially if it involves a product, service, cause, or message similar to yours.
4. Try to choose a domain that you can match up on any social media sites you may want to join. For example, check to see if you can get the facebook and twitter urls to create a synergistic branding effort.
5. Stay away from hyphens, underscores, and the use of numbers for words if possible. Think about someone hearing your domain and being able to type it in a browser successfully. For example Candles4you, Candles4u, and Candles-Four_you are not good alternatives to the natural phrasing.
6. You may want to buy competing domains to protect your brand. For example, if you buy the dot com, you may want to buy the dot net, too…and maybe the dot org to prevent others from buying those domains and pointing them to competing sites. There is nothing more frustrating than building a brand and having your hard work benefit a competitor….who only had to buy a somewhat “matching” domain to grab some of your traffic.
There are a number of other considerations that affect how to choose a website domain, but these are the most important according to our staff of internet gurus. This process should ideally be combined with your overall search strategy. After all being found and being uniquely identifiable are primary goals. Don’t settle for something just because your dream domain is not available. Step back…rethink the process and make a sensible choice.