How To Choose A Domain Name For Your Business

A website’s domain name (also know as a website
address or URL) is an important consideration when developing your
online presence. Choosing an appropriate domain name is the first step
in the process of building online credibility. Remember to choose
carefully because this online address may be where your business resides
for the rest of its operating life. Now, some important tips to
consider before choosing your domain name:
Choosing Your Domain Extension
A domain extension or top level domain is simply
the suffix of your website address: (.com, .net, .org, .ca, etc.) Most
Internet users are familiar with the “.com” extension, and will
generally use this extension by default when typing an address into
their browser. Choosing a “.com” extension should be your fist choice in
case your potential customers forget that your address is
“www.mybusiness.NET”, and visit your competitor at “www.mybusiness.COM”
by mistake. Choosing the “.com” extension gives your website the most
credibility in the eyes of your customers.
If your business only caters to the local
community, then it makes sense to get a country specific domain name,
such as the “.ca” extension. A country specific domain benefits you in
two ways: both your customers and search engines such as Google will
know that your website is registered to a Canadian and operates in
Canada. Potential customers will feel more comfortable knowing that they
are dealing with a Canadian company, and not a U.S. based business
pretending to be a Canadian company. Also, search engines will give your
website higher placement in the search results when a user is
performing a Canadian specific search.
I personally recommend that my clients, if
possible, register both the “.com” AND “.ca” extension. This way, your
Canadian based website will benefit from using the “.ca” extension,
while at the same time ensuring that they reach your website if they
accidentally type the “.com” extension into their browser.
Using Your Business Name
The first choice for any domain name would be your
business’ name. This ensures that your customers will remember your
website’s address. You can’t expect your potential customers to remember
a phrase that just relates to your business.
Choosing Choice Keywords
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Including specific keywords in your website’s
address will help your rankings in popular search engines such as Google
or Yahoo. It is best to choose a keyword that you think your potential
customers will use to search for your business. A search engine
optimization (SEO) professional such as Cost Effective Design can assist
you in choosing your keyword(s). These type of domain names are used in
instances where the client does not want to use the business name
because it is either already registered by another company, or the
company name is simply too long. Any company that is serious about
generating traffic through search engines should acquire a domain name
with a keyword in addition to your business name.
Don’t Confuse Your Customers
If possible, try not to use domain names that
include: “2” for “To” or “4” for “For” or “u” for “You”. These may make
your domain look “cool” or “hip”, but in reality they are not very
practical. These domain names create a problem when directing your
clients to your website verbally or over the phone. For example, if you
owned, every time you verbally directed
someone to your website, you would have to specify that the URL uses the
actual number 4, and letter U.
To Use, Or Not to Use Hyphens
Given that more and more businesses are
registering domain names every day, getting the website address you want
is becoming increasingly difficult. One or two word domain names are
usually already registered, forcing new registrants to choose URLs
containing three or four words. To some people, these URLs can look like
a big mess of words. Using hyphens in between the words can make them
visually more appealing. For example, “, looks
better than “ The jury is still out on hyphenated
domain names. The advantages are that they look better and search
engines can easily distinguish the separate keywords for better search
placements, but the disadvantages are that they are difficult to
verbally communicate and type.
The best solution would be to register both the
hyphenated, and the un-hyphenated version of the domain name to ensure
that there is no confusion.
Domain Name Length
Even though you are allowed to use 67 characters
for a domain name, the general rule of thumb is: shorter is better.
Although, in some instances, the website address may be more memorable
if it is more descriptive. For example a domain consisting of initials
only, such as “”, may not create a lasting impression
compared to the domain name “”. Therefore,
it is best to choose a name that, while short, contains enough
description for your customers to easily remember.
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