In a connected world, an organization’s domain name is now one of the most important parts of brand recognition. “Location, location, location” is the mantra of real estate agents, and while the brick and mortar business follows this advice, businesses that rely on referrals, search recognition or online connectivity with clients MUST recognize that their domain name IS their location!
At Digital Designs, we believe that choosing your domain name is one of the most important parts of both establishing your online reputation, because it ensures that your clients, visitors or members easily recognize and remember your site as well as provides a method of recognition of your business (email addresses, advertising, etc).
Many different factors play into how to select a domain name, and all of them need to be considered to properly choose a name that will produce the results you want….otherwise, your organization could end up with a very bad domain name and be the subject of Internet ridicule.
Some POOR examples of domain name choices (see if you can spot the problem with these domain name choices):
- Italian Power Generator Company: www.powergenitalia.com
- Computer Software Company: www.ipanywhere.com
- Speed of Art (graphic designers): www.speedofart.com
- ViaGraphix (digital software company): www.viagrafix.com
- IHA Vegas (holiday rentals): www.ihavegas.com
As you can see, not all domain names that make sense….make sense!
Here are a few quick tips when choosing a domain name:
Domain Name Availability
When you have an idea of the name you might want, check a name Registrar (the organization that will lease you the name). Examples include Godaddy.com, NetworkSolutions.com or Name.com. Using their tools, you will be able to check to see if the names you want are available to register. If not, the registrar will either suggest alternatives or suggest you contact the current owner to see about purchasing the name.
*If the name is unavailable, check with a name broker to see if it is available for purchase. Like real estate, many names are able to be purchased that will help improve your “location”.
Domain Name Length
Typically, the shorter the name, the better. Unfortunately, like the best real estate, much of the shorter more desirable names are already taken or for sale. Find a name that you can afford, that fits your needs, and try to keep it short.
Domain Name Suffix
Currently, the internet is buzzing with the possibility of private organizations being given the capacity to buy (and sell) names using their own private suffix. This would add countless suffixes to the already numerous possibilities for your name. A simple and easy thing to remember - the “Gold Standard” is .com! Anything else (.net, .org, .info, .us, etc….) will at some point be mistaken for the .com (the visitors that want to go to your site…will go to .com by mistake). If you can get the .com, get it…even if it means purchasing the name from a broker (as long as is affordable!).
Domain Name Recognition
As you can see from the bad examples earlier in the article, the capability for your clients to recognize your name is huge! And while going for the “shock-and-awe” factor may appeal to some, most want to convey the quality of service they provide in the name of their website. Make sure clients recognize your name and associate it with you. Unless your organization commonly goes by an acronym (bygn.com, agrttwng.com, etc), try to avoid these (unless your visitors would know it’s you).
Domain Name Keywords
Search Engines and the technology that drives them is one of the largest components of who gets found on the web. ALL search engines rank keywords in the domain name as a very large factor for ranking. If your organization name includes keywords, find a domain that can use them (http://www.quiksigns.com). While it alone does not guarantee high placement in the search engines, it is a factor to the site’s page rank calculation.
Is it repeatable?
Lastly, we suggest talking with friends, coworkers, associates, clients…about your new site. Give them some options for the names you are considering. As you tell them the names, see what their reactions are (speak the name www.ipanywhere.com!).
Considering these factors, the selection of a good name for your organization should now be a little easier. While the selection of a name is not a science, there are considerations you can evaluate to ensure your site is not among the worst on the net! For any further questions, or to have one of the Digital Designs staff speak with you about your next web project, contact us for more help!