What’s in a Domain Name

Your domain name identifies your website and is the way people will remember your website. It is part of your image and part of the branding of your business. Your domain name establishes your unique identity and creates an impression on visitors to your website. You can use your domain name for your email address to create a professional business image.

I can’t stress enough that the domain name is an important part of the company image. When you set up free hosting with geocities or similar services, it sends the message to your customers that you are not an established, successful business.

Once you decide that you need a domain name, how do you pick a good one? Here are some pointers.

Guidelines for choosing

Use your business name

Use your primary product name

Use keywords

Keep it short

Easy to remember and sounds good

First choice is .com for a business

Business Name

When possible, I like to choose the business name as the domain name. If your business name was Jake’s Balloon Factory, my first choice would be jakesballoonfactory.com. When the company name and domain name match, this sends the strongest message that this is a stable, successful company that has been long established.

I have had clients that have had established websites where their domain name was slightly different then their business name. After discussing the importance of having the business name match their domain name match, have decided to formally change their business name. It is that important.

Product Name

Another strong domain name is to use your product name. People instantly understand what you do and you create recognition. This can be good when you use this as part of your brand recognition strategy. SC Johnson produces the Windex glass cleaner. They own the website windex.com. They have chosen to use their brand name for their product’s website.

Keywords

Using keywords in the domain name is a good strategy for getting better search engine rankings. Google and other engines will give your rankings a boost by having your targeted keywords as part of your domain. There are many factors that influence rankings and having keywords help.

Keep it Short

Keep the name as short a possible so it is easier to type and remember. Domain names can be as short as 2 characters or as long as 63. This does not include the extension such as .com. Examples range from American Airlines (aa.com) to didyouknowthatyoucanonlyhavesixty-threecharactersinadomain-name.com (this domain is currently for sale).

Easy to Remember

In choosing a domain, try and choose one that is easy to remember. This is a mistake that I made on my first domain that I purchased. 

Choose .COM

The ending for the domain name is the Top Level Domain (TLD). This is sometimes called the extension. There are almost 70 million domain names registered today and almost 75% of these are .COM’s.

.Com
.Net
.Org
.Info
.Biz
.Us
Other
Total

74.63%
10.79%
6.92%
3.96%
2.02%
1.49%
0.20%
100.00%

Source: DomainTools 4-12-06

If you are a commercial business, the .COM is the original and by far the most common. Choosing a .COM infers that your company is established and has been around for some time.

More About TLD’s

Top Level Domains have meaning about the nature of the website and you should choose the one that describes your type of organization and even where you are located. Here are some of the most common TLD’s.

.aero Air transport industry

.biz Business

.com Commercial business, a company

.edu U.S. educational institution

.gov U.S. governmental agency

.int International organizations

.mil U.S. military

.net Network provider, Internet Service Provider

.org Non-profit institution

Country Codes

AU Australia

CA Canada

CN China

DE Germany

FR France

KR Korea (South)

MX Mexico

RU Russian Federation

UK United Kingdom

US United States

http://ftp.ics.uci.edu/pub/websoft/wwwstat/country-codes.txt gives a complete listing.

Summary

Choosing a domain name is an important choice and is part of your Internet marketing strategies. This reflects strongly on the image of your business. Domain names should be a natural name that is short and easy to remember.

About The Author

altDoug Williams is an expert author on business website design (www.net-makeover.com). Doug is the president of the web marketing firm Doug Williams and Associates and author of the book Biz Blog Marketing. Contact Doug Williams and Associates at (360) 695-8100 to get started on your local business website.<

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