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Choosing Your Domain Name

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Choosing your domain name is important to the success of your website. Don’t forget, your domain name will probably be the first thing your potential customer sees. You may have to play around some available names before finding one that fits your business…and will play nice with the search engines.

“For the rest of our lives, all we can hear are our names chanted over and over, until we are deaf to everything else.”
Sherman Alexie, Reservation Blues

Use Keywords – Try to use keywords that describe your business and what you offer. For example; if you sell coffee mugs with funny sayings, you might want to register funnymugs.com or bestfunnymugs.com. Try to use the keywords that visitors will enter when searching for your products or services. This will greatly improve your search engine rankings.

If you offer a local service…even better!  Try to use ‘what you do’, and ‘where you do it’.  Something like: plumbingrepairatlanta.com, or atlantaplumbing.com.  Search engines love this!

TIP – When you advertise your domain name, the browser is not case sensitive.  In other words, if a visitor types in HouseOfBlues.com, or houseofblues.com, it doesn’t matter.  If your domain is more the one word, I advise capitalizing the first letter of each word in all of your media (business cards, stationary, flyers, etc.).

Keep It Short – Shorter domain names are easier for your visitors to remember. Would you remember funnyquotesoncoffemugs.com, or funnymug.com? The easier it is for them to type, the easier it is for your visitors to tell others about your domain name.

Don’t let Your Ego Get In The Way – Try to avoid what I call ‘Vanity Names’ unless your name is what you sell or do. I know you are proud of your company name, but it doesn’t mean much to someone in pajamas surfing for juice blenders at three in the morning. If your company’s name is Rising Son Inc., and you sell shoes, people won’t search for, or remember, the name rising son when searching for shoes. They will however, remember something like: affordableshoes.com.     Do Extensions Matter? – There are over 110 million .com, 15 million .net and 10 million .org domains on the web. Try to go for the .com extension if it is available, or tweak your potential domain name to find one that fits.  If it makes more sense (following the rules here) go ahead and grab the .net extension. Don’t worry, the world won’t stop spinning if you do. The .net extension, a well as some of the newer extensions, are becoming more popular, but everyone still remembers .com.

Avoid Hyphens – Yes, many businesses still use a domain name with a hyphen or two, but the problems with these domain names are that people forget where the hyphens go (or leave them out completely).  Also, you don’t want to send someone to your competitor’s site that has a similar name, but without the hyphens. If your domain name is affordable-shoes.com, and someone types affordableshoes.com in the address bar (trying to remember your domain name), guess who sells more shoes?

Don’t Play The Numbers Game – Numbers in a domain name can work, but try to avoid substituting common words with numbers, they tend to confuse web surfers, and can often be hard to remember. As an example, try not to use the number “4″ instead of the word “for”, “2″ instead of the word “to”, etc. The number “0″ alone is often mistaken for the letter “O” and vice versa. Plus, in my opinion (so glad you asked) they look cheap! Part of having a website is also about conveying quality. The last thing you want is a name like laywers4less.com (no, really…would you use them?).

Well, that’s about it on choosing your perfect domain name that will be easy to remember, not confusing, and do well in the search engines.  Think about it, you can have a killer looking, easy to use website, but if no one can find it, what good is it?

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