Thursday, July 12, 2007

Tips for Choosing the Right Domain Name

Selecting the right domain name is one of the most important business decisions you can make. When you have a business online, you are competing in a global economy with millions of other websites.

The latest information from Internet World Stats counted over 1 billion Internet users in 2007. According to Rich Miller of Netcraft, an Internet monitoring company that has tracked Web growth since 1995, "There are now 100 million Web sites with domain names and content on them." Of the 100 million websites, about 47 million of them are active sites and competing for visitors.

Here are some tips to follow in choosing a domain name that makes it easy to find your business on the Internet:

(1) Choose an easy to spell domain name.

It does no good to have a website, if no one can find you because your domain name is too difficult to spell.

Last week I was talking to someone and asked her who the company was that designed her website. She told me the name of the company, and it was some very strange name that didn't make sense to me. I had to ask her twice what the name was and I then asked her to spell it for me. Unfortunately, she couldn't even spell the name because she said the company had a strange spelling, and she could never remember it. I then asked her for the website address, and she couldn't remember how to spell that either. I ended up trying to guess a couple different spellings for the website and never did find the company.

Don't get cute with your website name or for that matter, the name of your business. You may think it's clever to spell fenikz instead of Phoenix, but don't expect anyone to find your website.

I speak from experience on this topic. When I first started my business I was completely ignorant about choosing a business name. I thought it would be fun to have a business name that was a play on words. So I chose "Howe Write You Are Business Communications."

My last name is Savvy, and I am a writer. So I chose the domain name

When I would tell people my domain name, this is what they heard: They spelled the domain name exactly as they heard it and the only way they would get the correct spelling is by looking at my business card. I soon figured out what a dumb mistake I made and changed my business name after the first year.

(2) Choose the right extension for your domain name.

When you go to register a domain name you have a choice of .com, .net, .org, .biz, and some other rarely used extensions. Unless you are a nonprofit, only choose a .com extension for your domain name.

The reasons for this are very simple. When people go to search for a website, they assume it is a .com. If you have any other extension, they will end up at the wrong website.

The other reason to have a .com extension is that search engines will search first for a .com website. For example, a browser will look for before, it looks for

Let me talk a moment about strategy when it comes to choosing a domain name extension. If you don't want a competitor to have your domain name, then purchase all the extensions of your domain name. In other words, if my domain name was going to be, I might also purchase,, and This way, I insure that my business domain name will not have competition from a nearly identical domain name.

(3) Choose misspelled domain names.

If you have a business name that you know is easy to misspell, consider purchasing the domain name with the common misspelling. Both names can be set up to point to your website, so it doesn't matter if your domain name is misspelled, people will still find you.

In my previous example, I talked about my original business name and the problems that I had with the unusual spelling of my business name. If I had not wanted to change my business name, a simple solution for me would have been to purchase the domain name and have that point to my website.

An example of a well-known business that is using this technique is Verisign. If you type in or you will get to the correct website.

Your domain name is your Internet identity. Make sure your domain name selection is not an afterthought. Take the time to thoroughly analyze your options and choose a domain name that promotes your business or product online.

Original Author - Michelle Howe

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