10 Things to Look for When Choosing a Domain Name

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Entrepreneurial Q&A: What should you look for when choosing a business domain name?

A: Make sure you are not stepping on anyone’s toes. “Invest in a preliminary legal check to make sure the domain name is not likely to cause customer confusion, which could result in trademark litigation. The last thing you want to do is spend time and money directing traffic to a domain only to have to change it because of legal concerns.” Doug Bend, Bend Law Group, PC

Make sure it’s unique. “Most businesses will receive a lot of searches and inbound visits from people using the business name (or something close to it) in their favorite search engine. If you have a generic name and there are lots of other companies with a similar name, you are unlikely to stand out and it could cause confusion. People directly trying to search for your brand are often the best customers, so being found is key.” Thomas Smale, FE International

Choose a domain name that markets what you do. “While many people first opted to select a domain name that was their company name, this doesn’t always tell others what it is that you do or how you are different. It also doesn’t provide any SEO opportunities like a domain name that uses unique keywords to describe and market how you are different and useful to your target audience.” Angela Ruth, Calendar

Beware of accidental innuendos. “There are a few times when you put words together that they form a completely new word between them. For example, think of Hills Winery turning into Hill Swinery for some people. There’s also the possibility that your business name actually means something in another language, even if you think you made it up. Do your homework and research how people respond before committing to a domain name.” Jared Brown, Hubstaff Talent

Consider what to avoid. “What to look for may be obvious: short, snappy and catchy. What to avoid is more important. If the name is spoken aloud, will someone spell it right? If you’re using a ccTLD, will this harm your search rankings? Check Google’s special exceptions for gccTLDs. Also, don’t overvalue keywords in domains. These can have a minor impact, but nothing like they once did.” Corey Northcutt, Northcutt Inbound Marketing

Don’t get too fancy with it. “I know of a company who purchased a ‘.es’ domain name because it completed the last two letters of their name. Unfortunately, customers always put .com and were unable to find them. Even worse, Google assumed that the company was catering to an audience in Spain, as the .ES domain is reserved for that country. Stick to a slightly longer .com instead of one that customers can easily get wrong.” Jeff Jahn, DynamiX

Choose a domain that is easy to spell. “Many times I see people making the mistake of choosing a business domain name that is too open for interpretation and is hard to spell. Try to pick a business domain name that the vast majority of people will know how to spell. This way, people will be able to easily find you online and they won’t get frustrated and give up as they try to find your company online.” Diana Goodwin, AquaMobile

Tie it to your brand image. “Use the domain name as a way to highlight your brand’s image, focusing on those keywords that describe your business or are memorable to your audience. With so much more that can be done with a domain name, it’s possible to even turn it into your company’s slogan.” Cynthia Johnson, Bell + Ivy

Consider a new extension option. “There are so many new TLDs now available to further customize your domain name, differentiate your company from the competition, and further optimize your domain name for search engines. Many companies have found these extensions as valuable marketing tool that also helps make the domain more memorable for the target audience.” Murray Newlands, ChattyPeople

Create something memorable. “As an SEO expert, it’s always been my knee-jerk reaction to pick what’s called an exact match domain (EMD). In recent months/years, Google has given less stock to these types of domains, and in fact I’ve found them to be a little finicky. If it’s a business I intend to keep around for a while, I now default to something that people will remember — something that rolls off the tongue nicely.” Adam Steele, Loganix

(Article written by Young Entrepreneur Council)

(SOURCE: TCA)