As the client and I are gearing up to work on a new web site project, before work on the design even starts, I ask the client what their domain name is. Clients who don’t already have a domain name ordered usually ask me what I would recommend.
By Kim Adams
As the client and I are gearing up to work on a new web site project, before work on the design even starts, I ask the client what their domain name is. Clients who don’t already have a domain name ordered usually ask me what I would recommend. Hopefully my tips will help you when you are going through the same process.
Use Your Business or Product Name
My suggestion is to use your business or product name when creating your domain name. Unfortunately, with about 644 million active web sites out there your first choice of domain names might not be available. This is when you need to get creative. If the full name of the business is not available try these tricks.
- Shorten or abbreviate the name
- Consider using a hyphen or adding a number
- Add your location (state or city) to the name
Domain Names and Search Engines
In the past, you could create a domain name that was keyword rich and it would help you with your ranking in the search engines. For example, I could have used www.webdesigncompany.com, which is one big keyword, instead of my company’s name www.tiger-studios.com. Today that practice only helps you to a small degree and there are draw backs. Using keywords instead of your business name will not help build brand awareness among your current and future clients. Stay with using your business name or product name and only use keywords if it makes sense.
Length of Your Domain Name
I don’t recommend really long domain names from a usability stand point. The more a user has to type the more likely, I feel, the domain name might get misspelled. Domain names can be anywhere from 3 to 63 letters.
Beware Where You Buy Your Domain Name
Sometimes hosting companies offer free domain names with their hosting packages. Beware of these offers. You may not really own that domain name. Once you terminate your account with that hosting company you could also lose the domain name that you had for years and created a following with. Make sure before you complete your initial order that when your hosting contract ends you will still have the rights to the domain name. You don’t want to start your search engine rankings from the start again with a new domain name.
Buy More Domain Names
Domain names are inexpensive which means buying multiple domain names and linking them to your main web site is an easy business decision. But why should you purchase more than one?
- To protect your brand purchase the same domain name in .com, .net, .biz, etc.
- If your business name is easy to misspell buy the domain names for the most common misspellings
- If your business name is available as one word (www.businessname.com) consider purchasing variations of the same name (www.business-name.com, www.bizname.com, etc.)