to Choose a Good Domain Name
Electronic Business Card
In this digital age, your company's web site is your electronic business
card. A strong domain name is the key to your Internet presence. It
should be recognizable and relate to your business name, brand, product,
and/or activities. Make sure it fits on a business card and is easy
to remember whether seen in print or mentioned over the phone.
Use the name
people know you by. Don't abbreviate, unless the abbreviation
is your company's trademark. Ask your co-workers, your customers,
your friends, and your family what domain name they'd expect
your company to have.
to include your domain name in your site's logo. And put your
domain name on all company promotional materials such as business
cards and stationary.
Conventional wisdom states that a good domain name is easy for customers
to remember, easy to spell, and short. That said, it's increasingly
difficult to secure short domain names among top level domain names
such as .com, .net and ,org. In these cases (and you have 67 characters
to choose from), it's preferable to choose a meaningful statement such
as Lawreferralservice.com" or Hotelreservationservice.com," rather
than lrs.com or hrs.com
a Good Impression
We all know that first impressions can be crucial, so choose your domain
name carefully. Domain names often come without spaces, so pay careful
attention to the total package. For example, PatternsExchange can look
If your first domain name choice is not available, you can check the "whois" information
box for the domain name, contact the person listed, and see if they're
willing to sell it. If they want to sell, they will likely charge more
than the $11.99 registration fee. An easier alternative is to register
a variation of your first choice.
if your company name is Mrs Smith's Cookies, but mrssmithscookies.com
and the more obvious cookies.com are registered, try adding
a small letter such as "e" to indicate that it's
an online business. Or add the word online. Or add your location
to attract local customers:
try registering a local domain name:
Use a little creativity, and you may find your alternative beats your
got a list of alternatives for your online business, test them
with your friends and colleagues to see which ones they like
best. Make sure these names can be easily pronounced and spelled
by your test audience. Then, rank them in order of popularity.
Consider mistakes people will make when typing your web site address
and how your domain name sounds when you have to read it over the phone
to a customer. Explaining special characters, abbreviations, and spelling
is awkward and doesn't make good business sense. Will customers accidentally
make spelling mistakes? Will they use the plural form of a word instead
of the singular form, or visa versa? Make a list of possible mistakes,
and register additional domain names that incorporate these mistakes.
Multiple Versions of Your Name
Register all possible domain name variations related to your company
name. If your company's name is hard to spell, register common misspellings.
Register every domain people might use to find your company. It only
costs $35 a year to register each domain name, and that's a small expense
to keep a customer.
example: Before America Online acquired Time Warner for $178
billion, it registered at least 21 domain names that might
be useful to the new company, named AOL Time Warner, from AOLTW.com
web sites exist that capitalize on misspellings using them
as advertising vehicles and diverting customers from your site.
When users search the Internet for a particular product or service
they often search by product or service, rather than business name.
To increase the chances of having your site found, register extra domain
names that relate to your core business or products. If you owned the
hypothetical company name of Widgets & Widgets co. but you sold
an array of household products, you could register generic domain names
relating to all aspects of household goods. You may be too late to
snap up obvious domain names such as detergent.com or vacuum.com, but
a little creative thinking into alternatives can be lucrative. These
alternative domains can be easily linked to your main web site.
Ensure someone else has not trademarked the name you register. You
cannot register names already registered as copyright (for example,
McDonalds). Like company names, domain names are unique and cannot
be duplicated. Avoid registering domain names that are similar to your
competition or to famous trademarks. Businesses have lost their rights
to registered domain names due to conflicts with existing trademarks
for off-line companies.
If your company is located in Canada, you can register a .ca domain
name even if your business activity includes export trade. If you have
an international presence, a top-level domain such as .com, .net ,
or .org is more suitable. Many businesses choose to register all three,
and we suggest doing so. All three addresses can "point" to
the same e-mail account and web site.
you might open a virtual office in another country. For example,
bread.com could also register bread.ca, which may "point" towards
the same site, attracting a larger audience. Don't forget to
check to see if a local presence is required in the country
you wish to register.
If your .dot com businesses does not have a name, the world is your
oyster. One Internet incubation company decided on the metaphor campsix,
referring to the final basecamp on the Everest climb rather than a
straight description of services. The name reflected the difficulty
and challenges of building an Internet company to the scaling of Everest.
Bear in mind that if your web site is the primary tool for business,
the company name must be the company URL.