What’s in a (Domain) Name?
With most of my clients, the first challenge in building an online presence is choosing a domain name. While new social networks and Web 2.0 platforms sprout like weeds, the anchor of your web properties should always be your very own dotcom.
Picking a domain is more art than science, but that won’t stop me from offering a few general tips:
- Unless you absolutely can’t avoid it (like the website you’re reading now!) your domain should end in “.com” Dotcoms tend to outperform even geographic extensions like .co.uk or .ca.
- Don’t worry about registering all the various extensions your domain provider will try to sell you. The days of imitators snatching up the .info of a popular brand and trying to confused visitors is (pretty much) over.
- If you’ve been in business for a substantial period of time, your domain must contain most of your brand name, or at least the brand elements. If your company is Central Letterpress, centralprint.com makes more sense than letterpressprint.com
- Avoid funny-spelled names that make it sound like you’re mysterious startup, like watchrepairr.com or cardboarddbx.com
- Try to keep your domain under 10-12 characters.
- Don’t overdo it with acronyms – it’s ok if your domain is a touch long. suttonlocksmith.com is more sensible and memorable than suttonls.com
- A location qualifier is beneficial if your business is primarily local, such as samflaxNYC.com
- Exact Match Domains (EMD) are domains intended to capture search traffic from popular keywords. An example might be latowing.com or cheapbikes.com. EMDs are valuable for a brand new business or ecommerce company, but don’t sacrifice your brand in search of a keyword.
No matter what domain you settle on, the rules are meant to be broken. Don’t overthink the process. My most recent project involves one of the worst domains ever registered – desperatelyseekingjonstewart.com!
No real keywords, way too long, and a little hard to spell. Yet, while the domain doesn’t strictly hew to convention, it’s easy to remember and fits the singular focus of the site’s subject material. I’m confident the site will do well!