How to choose a business domain name
If your business isn’t online then you are not in business
If your business needs to go online (it doesn’t matter if we are talking about a one-page site or a powerful web-portal) then it also needs a domain name. How to choose it right then?
First, you need to choose a TLD (stands for Top Level Domain, often it’s called an extension) – a part which goes after dot, e.g. .com, .net or .us. If your target customers are of a one particular country, then a country TLD will work, e.g. .us for American customers. A site with such an extension will be taking a higher position in search results for this region. If international audience is expected (maybe in future, not necessarily now), then choose .com. First, it will have positive influence on speed and quality of search engine indexation. Second, this TLD is the most popular and recognizable. Even big companies are interested in getting .com domains for their projects (let’s take recent dispute for wiiu.com between Nintendo and Eurogamer). Think of ten web-sites which first come to your mind – surely either all or most of them will be .com. For statistics, let’s look at the table below. The second column contains total amount of the sites with a certain TLD which are in the top 1,000,000 popular pages in the web. The third one contains average amount of the sites in the top 1,000,000 for a thousand of registered names. The data is supplied by Alexa monitoring service:
When choosing something less popular (e.g. .net) or something exotic (let’s take .me), you are at two risks. First, a part of your earned traffic will go to the identical .com domain anyway and so will be lost. Second, you may suddenly discover that the TLD you have selected has some restrictions or pitfalls. For example, it is not allowed to run commercial websites in this zone at all (true for .info and .org).
The second step is choosing the domain name itself. If you company is called Big Tomato (for example), then you may choose bigtomato.com (or bigtomato.us if you sell your tomatoes in the US only)… and discover that it is taken long ago! No need to panic. And no need to choose a different extension (see previous paragraph). If your business is focused on a specific region then you can add a name of the region to the domain, e.g. bigtomato-ny.com. Also it’s OK to add a word characterizing the very type of the business, e.g. bigtomato-cafe.com (if your company is a café). Generally, a domain name should be memorable, easy-to-pronounce and easy-to-type.
Now what you should NOT do when choosing a domain name:
– Do not translate the name of your company or trademark from national language into English or vice versa. A name is a name and it must sound identical in all languages.
– Do not abuse hyphens and avoid digits. Big-t-o-m-a-t-o.com may look attractive but it won’t work as an easy-to-type address, while bigtomato-2013.com looks (and actually is) totally unprofessional.
– An acronym is also not a good idea. Your goal should be to make the domain memorable and it is easier to remember full words than a row of letters. Domain names like fprstb.com must have originated from the desire to make the name as short as possible, but let’s avoid extremes. Too short is almost as bad as too long. In our opinion from 10 to 20 symbols is fully adequate for a business domain.
– Do not accepts offers to purchase a registered domain name from a reseller instead of registering a new one. Though multiple marketplaces (the most known is Sedo), auctions and so-called aftermarkets may offer a beautiful and old domain, the price will be unfair and the advantages of such a domain won’t be very essential.
And the very last point. If you have a SEO specialist, this is a must to consult him before registering your domain name, because SEO and a domain name are related things. And remember that it is impossible to edit a registered domain and accidental typos may result in serious problems, so be careful in the registration process.