Small Business Websites
What's in a Domain Name?
Written by Richard San Juan for Gaebler Ventures
The Internet now has become such a vital aspect of marketing your business, and you've got to do it right. In particular, choosing a domain name for a company website is something that must be done with best practices in mind.
When people want to find information about a product or service, they turn to the Internet.
Because of this, it is significantly important that whatever representation of your small business that is on the Internet (website, domain, blog, etc.) is an accurate representation of your company's qualities and product image.
Choosing a Good Domain Name
Choosing a domain name should be a carefully thought-out process.
Why are domain names so important? For one thing, having a good domain name adds credibility to your new business.
Since the website looks more professional, there is a greater possibility that customers will see the new business as more reliable than a company that uses a free domain service like Geocities.
Moreover, a well-chosen domain will have greater visibility and thus receive more web traffic. This is especially true if it is a domain name that can be easily stored in memory of the customer because memorable domain names are conducive to word-of-mouth marketing buzz.
How to Choose a Domain Name
Now that the importance of why an appropriate domain name for your small business has been established, what are some ways to choose a domain name?
Since acquiring a domain name is one of the most important initial steps in getting your small business up and running, choosing a domain name can be a daunting task.
Buying Multiple Domain Names
The first thing to realize is you don't have to stress yourself in picking the single one domain for your company...you can have multiple domains. Usually a small business establishes itself in the industry by marketing its own strong product. Therefore, in choosing domains, the entrepreneur can decide to have a domain with the name of the company and have another domain with the name of the product.
Go With .Com
If you can get it, get the dotcom (.com) version of your desired domain name. There is still some innate belief in the world of the Web that those who have the .com address are the elite of the Internet in comparison to those who must settle for .net or other suffixes.
The exception of course is if you are a non-profit, in which case by all means get the .org version of the domain.
Keywords in Domain Names
Using keywords in your domain name can definitely help boost up unique visitors to your website. If you own a Chicago bakery and can get the domain chicagobakery.com, for example, you will find that many the search engines will direct many people to your site when they search for Chicago bakery.
Should You Make a Dash for It?
The question as to whether to add dashes in a domain name is a hotly debated one. Some argue that dashes improve readability and that will drive traffic. For example, which is easier to read: www.workfromhomeinternship.com or www.work-from-home-internship.com? The majority would choose the latter. The counterargument is that many search engine spammers have bought dash-separated domain names, and these days the search engines may not treat your dashed domain name well, based on a suspicion that you may be gaming the search engines.
Short and Memorable
It almost goes without saying. Choose a short and memorable domain name. If it's too long, nobody will bother to type it in. It might not even fit on your business card!
Spelling Errors in Domain Names
Don't forget about spelling mistakes. Spelling was never a favorite subject for some people, and it's amazingly common for people to misspell domain names.
Oftentimes, when someone does not spell a domain name correctly, it will either bring up an error page or the person will be directed to somebody else's website. It would be advantageous for an entrepreneur to purchase domains that are similar and reroute them to your main page. For example, if your website is www.caribbeancruises.com, someone looking for our website might type in www.carribbeancruises.com. Also, if your company is global and called Colored Pencils, Inc., to market towards the British market you might want to purchase www.colouredpencils.com.
Domain Name Availability
Everything above notwithstanding, you may pick the perfect domain name only to find that it is not available. Most good domain names have been taken.
When you find that your ideal domain name is gone, you simply need to try, try again, as they say. Good luck!
Richard San Juan is currently pursuing an MBA degree with an emphasis in Finance from DePaul University in Chicago. He is particularly interested in writing about business news and strategies.
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