Choosing a Domain Name

There are still good domain names to be had if you are looking either to start a new business or to claim a better domain name for your existing business.

First let’s examine why it is important to choose a good domain name.  Say you were a church called Mt. Zion Christian Church. You decide to go with mtzionchristian.org. Seems pretty straight forward at first. But then once you start telling people you realize they’re going to mountzionchristian.org. Oops. So it is important to get a domain name that is descriptive of where you are or what your business does.

We had a client whose last name was one of those difficult to pronounce east European names. Though that was the name of their company, we went with a much more generic denvertreeservices.com for their domain. This served them well when they later changed the company name. And “Denver” “tree” “services” rolls off the tongue much more easily. It is more memorable as well.

Sometimes it is OK to have a long domain name if it is descriptive. Imagine if you worked at the Colorado Historical Society and decided to go with coloradohissoc.org to make the domain shorter. How would you say that domain? “Colorado” “his” “sock”? You’d spend all your time trying to spell it out and folks would undoubtedly still get it wrong. But if you went with coloradohistoricalsociety.org it is easy to say and easy to remember.

Not long ago I strongly advised a client to not use hyphens in their domain name. So instead of two, they used one hyphen and thought that was a pretty brilliant idea. Then just the other day while we were meeting with them, they realized how the domain doesn’t roll off the tongue when they have to insert a dash. Just listen in your head: “mybusiness” “dash” “mysecondbusinessname”.  Or, to reuse the example above – “Colorado” “dash” “historical” “dash” “society” “dotorg” doesn’t roll off your tongue very easily.

So here’s what we recommend for choosing a domain name:

1.       Do NOT use dashes or hyphens

2.       Do NOT abbreviate

3.       Do NOT use a name if it is easily misspelt

4.       Do use longer names if necessary and if memorable

5.       Do use something descriptive if the company name is not a good choice

6.       Do consider whether to buy other top level domain names such as .biz, .net and .org to protect your brand.

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