What's in a [DOMAIN] Name?
Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Choosing the Right Domain Name for your Website in 3 Steps

'Domain Name' is a synonym for URL or Uniform Resource Locator. A relevant domain name is an important item to consider by any organization that is serious about establishing a web presence. Choosing the right domain name can be difficult, but here are three 'rules of thumb' to assist your organization with the first step to building an effective web strategy.

1. Long or Short? How long should my domain name be?

A domain name can be up to 67 characters long. However, it is not recommended that your domain is this long. That being said, a shorter domain is not always better. You should pick a domain name based on the ability of someone to remember the name rather than the length. A domain name that makes a statement is more effective than an acronym because people are more likely to remember a statement (or phrase).

Example: Imagine a car company called Thompson & Jones Ford Mercury. A domain name of may make sense to them, however would be more memorable for driving traffic (no pun intended) to their website.

2. My domain name is not available, what do I do?

There are several ways to work around unavailable domain names. One common way is to choose a suffix other than .com (such as .us , .net, .org, etc.). Another way is to add a short word before the domain name that you wish to register.

Example: Assume you opened a coffee shop. You can bet that has already been registered, so trying variations as follows can help you find an excellent domain name that is still available:

3. Consider the digits and characters you are using.

Don't register a domain containing the digit "0" in it, unless it is going to be part of a recognizable word (like 1000 or 2000). This is because the digit "0" is often confused with the vowel "O." If you feel that you must register a domain with the digit "0," make sure that you also register the corresponding domain containing the vowel "O." Try to avoid using domains that contain '2' for "to," '4' for 'for,' 'u' for 'you.' Your customers will easily get confused. However, if you must register such a domain, register the expanded form of the domain as well, i.e. if you are registering "," also register ""

There are other things that can come into consideration when considering your domain name, but these will get you started. It is recommended that you work with your web developer during this process and also, if you see one you like - GRAB IT (before someone else does)!

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