What Should You Consider When Picking A Domain Name?

2002-10-21 by Mark Bove

Obviously, most of the best domain names are already taken. Don't let that discourage you. Solid, worthwhile names are still available. Here are some factors you should consider when trying to pick a name.

  • Importance Of Dot Com - Without a doubt, domain names ending in .com are much superior to those ending in the next best choice of .net. In fact, we'd recommend a much weaker name ending in .com over a strong name ending in .com. Why? Many people will only remember the main part of your domain name and then type in the .com automatically afterward. If they find another site at that address you may have just handed off a customer to your competitor for free.

  • Possible Exceptions - A possible exception might be for a not for profit business. Most non-profits choose the .org suffix and you may want to also if you are a non-profit. Actually, though, because so many people still only think of .com, you may want to consider buying both endings and having your web host re-direct the .com name to your web site also. Some television based or related companies are buying the newly popular "Dot TV" endings. You can only buy these through one company, dotTV, and they are rather expensive. Radio related sites might also want to consider "Dot FM" names. It is too early in the game to determine is these ".tv" or ".fm" names are worth the money.

Also, if you find a Dot Com name available, many people choose to also buy the corresponding .net and .org endings in order to prevent anyone else from trying to ride on your coattails. Whether or not this is worth the extra money is debatable.

  • The Shorter The Better - If torn between a couple different names, you may just want to pick the shorter one. Not only does this require less typing by your visitors, it also usually conveys greater credibility. Which sounds more like a market leader that you would want to buy from - fishingsupplies.com or suppliesforpeoplewhofish.com?

  • Avoid Hyphens If Possible - If you tell someone to visit your site named "STOCK" "MARKET" "DOT" "COM," you can't expect them to remember to type stock-market.com. They won't. Only if you are strapped for name ideas or if you hyphen alternative is much shorter than another available choice should you settle for hyphens.

  • Avoid Names That Could Be Misspelled - When looking for names for this site, we here at eBiz101.com purposely avoided those with the word entrepreneur in them because it is an often misspelled word in the English language. Try to stick with names that can only be pronounced and spelled one particular way. This will help you avoid any possible confusion and loss of any potential visitors.

  • Consider Alphabetical Order - If you can't make up your mind between two or more names, you might want to choose the one that comes up first in the alphabet. There are many internet directories and various lists that will put web site names in order alphabetically. As an internet surfer looks down these lists, they might come across your name sooner and be more likely to visit. Just like businesses listed in the telephone yellow pages, you can often benefit from an alphabetically favored domain name.

  • Descriptive Names - This is 1 of 3 types of names you might consider. When picking a descriptive name consider two things:

Don't Be Confusing - If your site sells office supplies, don't call it internetproducts.com. People looking for office supplies won't visit your site as they won't infer what your site is really about.

Don't Limit Yourself - Amazon.com can continue to expand into whatever area they want. If they had originally called themselves books.com, it would have been much harder to branch into toys and electronics, etc. Consider if there is any possibility of future expansion for your eBiz and if there is, name yourself accordingly.

  • Unique Names Requiring Branding - This is another type of name you might consider although it has strong cons along with its pros. Examples are this kind of name are Amazon.com and Yahoo.

Pros - A catchy, unique name can be very memorable. It also allows your company to expand however you want - consider the name Amazon.com vs. the name eToys.

Cons - It can be very costly to market your unique name to the point where people know what your company is all about.

  • Names Related to Your Offline Company - If you are building a site that is the online arm of your pre-existing company, you may want to make that your name or if not available, make it some variation of it. For example, in Las Vegas, there is a popular casino called "Excalibur." When they built their web site, someone already owned that name, so they bought excaliburcasino.com. You can add "restaurant" "store" "online" or whatever related word at the end of your real world company's name.

Don't forget to add your new domain name to all marketing material, brochures, business cards, etc. that you have for your brick and mortar company.

Final Thought - Once you have thought of a name and found out if it is still available, buy it immediately (even if you aren't planning to build the web site right away.) Millions of names are being bought every year and if you wait even a matter of days, your desired name could be taken from right under your nose.

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