How To Pick A Domain Name
Before you can start pulling in clients to your website, you first need to have a domain name. This can be one of the most difficult parts of putting your business online. Of course, you need to have it related to your business and something that people will remember.
To help you on your domain name search, we’ve created an easy acronym - U.S.E.R.S.
U - Unique
It’s often challenging to find a domain name that isn’t taken. You may even find that your business name is no longer available with most standard website extensions. Sure, a simple URL is great, but they can be bland and boring -- Be creative, find something unique and memorable. Create new, catchy words (that’s what Google, Bing and Yahoo! did) or use existing words that align with your brand.
Just because the domain name is inexpensive, doesn’t mean you need to buy it. Don’t just Google “inexpensive domain names” because that’s what you’ll end up with: a cheap domain name that you’ll end up stuck with forever.
No matter which direction you choose, just make sure it doesn’t sound awkward or form unintentionally inappropriate words when put together.
S - Spelling
Make it easy to read and spell! If you have to explain the spelling more than once for it to be understood, then it’s too complicated. The last thing you want is for potential visitors to mistype your domain and end up on a different website! Especially if changing one letter makes it turn into something inappropriate that you don’t want your potential business prospects to see.
The chances of visitors typing it wrong when they try and find your site is high if you get too creative with the spelling. Yes, Flickr gets away with it, but they were probably one of the only companies that bent this rule and had it actually end up paying off. Plus, voice recognition programs such as Siri, won’t be able to search the business if it isn’t spelled properly.
Sometimes you may run into issues using your own personal name as the domain. For example, if your business name is “Katherine’s Designs”, with a ‘k’, it’s possible that someone may instinctively type in the ‘C’ way of spelling a name. You could pay for both domain names and reroute one to the other just in case (so that Catherine with a ‘C’ with a similar business doesn’t steal your prospects), or you could try incorporating other keywords for your business.
Lastly, making it easy to pronounce helps as well. If every time someone says your business name and it comes out wrong, eventually people will be typing in the mispronounced version of your domain name and potentially never actually ending up on your intended site.
E - Extension
The end of your domain name (.com, .ca and .org) is an integral part of how someone will find you. Make sure you are using the proper one for your type of website. The most popular, .com, stands for commercial businesses, so it would be a good idea to at least make sure you grab the rights to it. It may seem fun to use .org instead, but it is actually intended to be used for non-profit organizations. If your’s isn’t, then don’t use it.
For Canadian businesses we recommend securing .com and .ca and rerouting one to the other. This ensures that you own the rights to the two most popular domain extensions for your business.
*For a list of popular website extension click here!
R - Related
As we mentioned above, your business name doesn’t need to be your domain name, it helps if they are the same, but when it’s not available it’s time to get creative. However, try and stick as closely related to your business as possible.
You can take the simple words that are already associated with your business, stick them into a thesaurus, and come out with some outrageous words that both sound sophisticated and are fun to type.
Having difficulties? Remember those quizzes where you take the first letter of your first and last names and you’ll find out your wizard name or the name of your future spouse? The same can be used for finding a domain name with a name generator. All you have to do is stick your keywords and business prospects into the generator and it’ll shoot out possible domain names. Often times they can be horrible and may make no sense, but you can take your chances and may find just what you were looking for. Worst case, it sparks a further brainstorming session.
S - Short
This one we will keep short and sweet. Make sure your domain name is short enough that people will remember it easily - and it’ll fit in the contact information section of your business card.
How did you come up with your domain name? We’d love to hear.
Kimberley Falk - Multimedia Writer