What’s in a (Domain) Name?

An essential thing that you need prior to building your website is a place for that website to reside, your own little chunk of the world wide web.

What factors should you consider when choosing and registering your domain name?  Here are some things to think about when choosing where your business will ultimately make its home.

 RELATE YOUR DOMAIN NAME TO YOUR BRAND

So you've gone through the naming process for your brand and you have the most amazing name ever in existence that perfectly suits you.  Ideally, your .com will be available for your specific brand name and everything will be hunky-dory, and there will be unicorns prancing and choirs singing, but that's not always the reality (especially the unicorns part, no matter how much we wish it was so).  What happens if yours is not available?

Choosing a domain name that relates back to your brand is definitely a must.  Your brand is your calling card throughout all aspects of your business, so having a domain name that is not related back to your business brand can be a problem.  If your ideal is not available, think of other mutations of your brand name that you can search for.  Take note of other businesses using similar domain names, especially if they are in your area and in your same line of business.  The last thing you want to do is choose a domain name one letter off from a competitor in your market, leading to them getting all of your potential clients.  It is definitely important to have a unique brand name, and a unique domain name is equally important.

If you are having difficulties, enlist a fresh pair of eyes or two in the form of friends, family members, or fellow Showiteers!  There might be ways to relate back to your brand that you haven't yet thought of that they might be able to steer you toward.  If there isn't anything available that suits your brand, or your brand name is very common, there is always the possibility open for rebranding to something that is available.

MAKE IT MEMORABLE, MAKE IT SIMPLE

Simple is always better, and you definitely want something catchy and memorable.  The last thing you want to have to do is constantly spell out a ridiculously long domain name with dashes and numbers and crazy spellings.  Simple is always better, and catchy is even better still!  You definitely don't want someone forgetting your domain name, or confusing you with other businesses in your same area.  Shorter names are typically easier to remember than longer ones, and something unique will set you apart from the crowd.

.COM VERSUS THE REST

I'm constantly getting emailed with the newest extensions that have come out in the domain world like .photography and .biznatch and .yolo…okay, maybe some of those aren't real, but they might be in the near future! Dot com domain names still remain in the number one slot for registrations by far.  Odds are that if someone is trying to find you on the web, they will probably type in the “.com” version of your domain first.  Does that mean the other domain extensions are bad?  No, it doesn't.  But again, when choosing your domain name, be sure that there isn't another business in your same area (or even remotely close to you) that has the .com version of your same domain or your potential clients might end up on their site instead of yours.  If you have come up with an amazing business name and several extensions are available, consider at least purchasing the .com and .net versions of the domain name so that other businesses cannot come in and snatch them up.  Registering a domain name is only about $10-14/year, so it's a relatively cheap investment to make sure that you have the prime real estate on the web.

Did you run into any problems when registering your domain name?  How did you work around the challenges?

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