There is a lot more that goes into choosing a domain than just using your company name. Going with your company name can be good, but it isn’t always the best thing to do depending on your situation. If you are a law firm and your name is Goldstein, Brown, Lufawitz, Kandor and Associates that makes for a really lousy domain that no one will ever find, goldsteinbrownlufawitzkandorandassociates.com.
First, don’t just try typing your domain in the address bar of your web browser and expect it to accurately tell you if your domain is already used or not. Just because nothing comes up does not mean that no one owns it. It only means that no one has published a website to the domain yet. No, instead you need to do your search from a registrar. A registrar is a company that you can purchase a domain through. I personally use powerpipe.com because they have always had friendly customer service that goes out of their way to help, and I like the multiple domain search tool that allows you to check on the availability of up to 50 domains at a time. They also have a nice Domain Name Brainstorming tool that can help get the creative juices going.
There are 3 main methods to use in picking a domain, but the most important thing to keep in mind for all of them is memorability and ease of use. Will people be able to remember it and can they easily type it in without messing it up. Picture yourself telling the domain to potential clients or business partners. Do you have to explain the spelling or that there is a dash between two words? Now picture yourself having to explain that to a dozen people everyday for the next five years. Are you sure you want to go with that?
With that in mind here are the 3 good methods to consider when purchasing your domain and one bad one:
1. Use your business name IF it is not too long or hard to spell. Microsoft.com is a good example. It is a simple, short, easy name to remember and spell and the business name is the first thing you always try to find when going to their website.
2. However, using your business name may not matter if you are a new business and nobody knows your name. Or you may have a name like I described above that doesn’t lend itself to a good domain. In that case you might consider using a descriptive name. Something that highlights one of your main products or services. You may have a business that has invented a robot watch that can speak the time to you and inform you of what you should be doing according to your schedule. It also narrates your day with dry witty comments, like “way to make a good impression, I am sure she will never forget you now… idiot” or “Perfect, boss’s always like it when you make them look stupid in front of their other employees”. Your business name may be The Wilshire Farm Watch Company, again, lousy domain name, thewilshirefarmwatchcompany.com. But robotwatch.com would be an awesome domain!
Using a descriptive name can also play a major factor in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and help you to get a better search ranking on the keywords you use.
Side note: when trying to choose the perfect domain you will quickly become aware of the hundreds of sleazy domain squatters out there who have already gone and purchased all of the good domains, hoping that you will find one that you can’t do without and buy it from them at a higher price. Personally I avoid them like the plague, but robotwatch.com is a good example.
3. The final method has worked very well for some of the largest and most successful websites in the world. This method requires the most creativity and you have to be careful to avoid my warning above about not having to explain your domain spelling or hyphenation. You can choose a domain solely on the fact that it is short, easy to remember, and easy to type. Yahoo and Google are the two most notable names although there are many others. This method works best for new companies or Internet based companies who may even have the luxury of naming their business after their website domain name.
4. I don’t recommend this method, using “free” or “cheap” or something similar in your website name, like FreeLifeInsurance.com. It is a bastardization of method two that I describe above and it comes across as crass, tacky and fraudulent. This is an example of using common search engine key words and terms to help return better search results for your site. It may help with your rankings in the search engines but it won’t help your reputation and it won’t help turn the hits into business. Why would you want to bring cheapskates to your website who would think it where even possible to get free life insurance? I suppose this would be perfect if you plan on doing the old bate-and-switch, in which case you and your clients might be perfect for each other 🙂