Picking The Right Domain Name

By Dan Ericson

Picking the right domain name for your company is a process. Many companies make a domain name selection as an afterthought, not realizing how important it is to pick the right domain until it's far too late. In this article, I aim to simplify the domain selection process so you can focus on getting the domains that are best for your business and allow you the most growth potential. I'll do this by illustrating how Brand Shouter, picked it's domain and company name, along with other examples.

GETTING STARTED

If you already have a company, then you need to select a domain name for your company. If you haven't selected a company name, choosing a domain name should play a large role in picking your company name. My preference when starting a company is to ensure that the company name also has an available domain name that matches and makes sense.

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Search to see if your chosen domain name is available.

Six years ago when we thought of the name Brand Shouter, we were fortunate that the domain name existed. In all honesty, the company name was almost secondary to finding the domain name. I've spent days deliberating over the domain name and company name of other businesses. The name of the company was never set in stone until I could find a domain name. Making sure the company name and domain name are congruent is critical.

Check your potential name across your desired social media platforms. Brand Shouter was unavailable as a handle on Twitter so we launched Brand Shouter USA for both Twitter and Instagram. If you already have an established company name, ask yourself whether your domain name is congruent with your company name? If you haven't established a company name, choosing your domain name should play an essential role in choosing your company name.

Mistakes To Avoid

Do Not Hyphenate Your Domain Name

Hyphens are not memorable and are often lost in translation. This will cause your site visitors to type in a domain name that will send them elsewhere. Not only does this confuse and frustrate visitors, but it has the potential to affect your search engine optimization.

Avoid Numbers

Similar to hyphens, numbers are not memorable and easy to mix up. On rare occasions, numbers placed well can be successful. A real estate agency recently opened locally that has a number in their company name. My recommendation, in this case, would be to purchase the domain name with the numbers spelled out. In picking a domain name you want to strive to be clear and concise.

Protect Your Brand | Purchase Multiple Domains

Picking The Right Domain Name

If you have aspirations of growing your brand into a large company, take the necessary steps now to protect your brand online. It will cost you a little more up front but save you money and headaches in the long run. For Brand Shouter, this might mean purchasing other domain names beyond our .com name. The point is to purchase all the domain names that make the most sense to protect your company domain name. This helps prevent domain name squatting where relative domain names are purchased and then sold to companies wanting the name for a much higher price.

DON'T GET CARRIED AWAY

Keep It Short

When picking a domain name, be concise. Domain names can be too long. I have come across domain names with four or more words. I've also seen site names that were too hard to spell. This generally comes into play when a location is used in picking the domain name.

Keep It Simple

Long and hard to spell domain names impact your online business presence. Remember that your domain name will also be your company email address. So, not only does an overly long, hard to spell, hard to remember domain name impact your online presence, but it also impacts your business correspondence.

Picking a domain name such as joeyssaltedpeanutsandcashews.com is obviously longwinded and has the potential to be mistyped. A more user-friendly domain name would be joeyssaltednuts.com. After narrowing down the most simplistic name you can, do a search to see if your chosen domain name is available.

Keep It On Point.

Let's continue with our joeyssaltednuts.com example. In picking a domain name you want to keep it on point. This means don't overgeneralize your company's domain name to something like joeysfoodproducts.com. This is misleading and will disappoint your site visitors.

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We think it's pretty clear this site reflects its domain name and primary product.

TARGET YOUR AUDIENCE

On Subject

In targeting your audience you want to make sure it's on subject. We started our company as a way to help business owners grow and succeed. We had not pinpointed ourselves as a marketing company when Brand Shouter launched, although our primary services were marketing in nature. Since then, we have evolved further into a marketing focused company helping business owners grow and succeed in whatever way we possibly can.

For us, targeting our audience "on subject" means "brand shouter". "We help you shout your brand." As a matter of fact, that was one of our first slogans. We eventually changed it to "our business is your message."

Keywords.

While "shouter" might not be a keyword, "brand" is. It is known for branding or marketing. Pick a domain name using keywords. Back to our illustration using joey's peanuts and cashews: if Joey chooses the domain name peanutsandcashews.com, he has two prime keywords. Using these keywords keep him on point.

Tell What You Do.

What if Joey chose the domain name "peanutsandcashews.com." This gives the visitor a high degree of confidence that Joey's product line includes peanuts and cashews. With Brand Shouter, visitors are confident that we work to shout your brand. From our name, visitors can surmise we have something to do with putting emphasis on a brand. Our domain name has told our target audience exactly what we do.

Picking The Right Domain Name

DOMAIN MANAGEMENT

Now that you've chosen your domain, found that it is available, and have purchased it from a low-cost budget domain service, you're good to go, right? Not necessarily. Domain management involves the yearly cost of owning a domain name hosted by a domain service company. When you pick your domain name, you have to set it to point to your host. You want to make sure that you're working with an expert who can do that for you and ensure that everything is pointed properly.

Next, you need it to point to your email. If you ever make a business change and you switch your email platform or you add a sub-site, you are going to want someone who is capable of quickly making changes and ensuring they're done properly. Find someone who is willing to do the management for you and not just give you cut-rate prices and leave you with a portal that you then do-it-yourself.

CONCLUSION

You want to pick the right domain name that matches your business, reflects what you do, lets people know who you are, isn't too difficult to remember or too difficult to type, and ensures that your domain name is "on subject" and uses keywords. The right domain name is one of the most powerful pieces of your business.

Domain names are what people remember, where they go and what they see. If your domain name is your company name, as well, then it's congruent. Picking a domain name that is fluid in all of the above-mentioned ways will grow your brand and put you on a path to success.

Dan is an entrepreneur, marketer, and technology lover. His strength lies in the intersection of business, marketing, and technology. He enjoys managing and working on web ​marketing ​projects. His free-time activities include spending time with his family and enjoying the scenery around Washington state.

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