5 Tips on Picking the Optimal Domain Name

  • September 17, 2013

One of the more exciting (and frustrating) stages of creating a website is figuring out which domain name you will use. Unfortunately, it usually isn’t as easy as thinking up a domain and going with it; there are many factors to consider. Here are 5 things to keep in mind when choosing your domain name:

1. Choosing a domain name that matches your business name.
Naming your website after your business is one of the more common strategies when it comes to choosing a domain name. One of the advantages to having your business and domain name match is that people will recognize your business for what it is instantly. For example, if your business sells office supplies and your domain has the words office supplies in it, you can be sure your audience will understand your product before even reaching your site. It is important to ensure that whichever domain name you choose is in line with your branding. If your website doesn’t include any of the keywords in your URL, your search rankings may suffer.

2. Using a hyphen in your domain name.
You’ve thought of the perfect domain name – officesupplies.com  – but someone else thought of that domain name first. Should you instead use office-supplies.com? Yes and no. Think about how people use the web – many people looking for office supplies will simply type in officesupplies.com in their address bar and see what comes up. Another factor will be word of mouth recommendations to your site. If someone likes your site and wants to tell their friend, the odds are they won’t say “office dash supplies dot com,” and their friend will end up going to your competitor’s site. On the other hand, using a hyphen might allow you to get the domain you actually want. The important part to remember is if you use a hyphen, make sure your site is marketed with the hyphen. Any time you mention your site in text, use the hyphen. Branding your company with the hyphen will be key. The other positive side to using a hyphen in your domain name is Google will pick up on the keywords easier, potentially increasing your search ranking.

3. .com, .net, .org, etc. – Deciding which is best?
Another factor to consider when choosing your domain name is the TLD. Your domain name might not be available as a .com, but available in other TLDs such as .net and .org, etc. Should you take something else? Certainly, while  .net and .org were originally used for networked businesses and non-profit organizations respectively, they have since been used like .com, as they are also unrestricted open domains.

Something to keep in mind would be whether your business is local or international. If you are an office supplies store located in one country only, you might want to consider using a country-specific TLD, for example .ca for Canada, .us for the United States, or .ie for Ireland.

4. Making it memorable.
There is no point in creating a domain name that someone can’t remember. Avoid using excessively long names and too many words like wesellhighqualityofficesupplies.com. While domain names can be up to 67 characters, who wants to type that in an address bar? Keep your domain name short, sweet, and relevant to your brand.

5. Registering multiple TLDs.
So you’ve found the perfect domain name, and it has a .com TLD – great! Myofficesupplies.com is created. If you are going to be running a business you might want to consider registering myofficesupplies.net, and .org  and have them redirect to your website. One reason for this is to prevent phishing scams – you wouldn’t want someone to create the same site as you under a different TLD.  Another reason is so others don’t purchase those TLDs under your name and try to sell them to you.

There you have it! Following these easy tips will help you end up with a great domain name, and a great domain name is the stepping stone to making your online business a success.

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