We often hear this question from our clients as we’re building their website and guiding them through the web development process: “What should my company and domain name be?” While there are no hard and fast rules, we always offer the following suggestions:
1. Search Engine Optimization will be an important method of building traffic for most, but not all, business models. If SEO will be a traffic generating strategy, focusing your domain name on the services and/or products you provide will provide a keyword-rich jumping off point for getting high rankings with the search engines.
2. If you’re having a hard time finding those keywords for your products and/or services, choose some themes that relate to your business, like web development for Barefoot Solutions. Get creative and come up with a list of words that describe this theme. Don’t forget to include plural and singular versions of the same word in this list.
3. Once you’ve generated a list of potential words for your company name and URL, edit the list down to a selection of 15-20 phrases. Keep your client base in mind when selecting the finalists — what phrases would make it easiest for them to find your website?
4. Avoid phrases for your URL that would cause a repeat letter, like barefootssolutions.com. These represent some of the most common typos.
5. Don’t use hyphens, spaces, underscores, cute spellings, or any kind of strange punctuation marks that would make it difficult or confusing for a potential client to find your website, like www.dog.treatz.com.
6. Test the company name out in a few major languages to make sure that the potential names won’t offend someone in another language.
7. Once you’ve narrowed these results even more based on the criteria above, check the final company name and URL contenders for availability at register.com.
8. Most sites should try to obtain a .com address. Particularly if you are selling a product or a service, .com is the de facto standard. With that being said, new startups are meeting success with .net, .org, and .tv.
9. Avoid buying an existing domain. Unless it’s absolutely crucial to the business, it’s generally a waste of your company’s time and money. You should be able to come up with some alternate options that will work just as well without the price tag.