The Domain Name
This is always a deceptive step as it’s so easy to forget there are already literally millions of websites up and running today. This means millions of domain names are already unavailable, and when you add in the fact many are also bought and held to reduce competition, increase traffic, or for resale to the highest bidder, the once endless ocean of possibility has shrunken to a mere kiddie-pool. Once you’ve read this article, check out our domain name search tool to explore available names for your business.
What’s in a name…identity, image, and product.
Domain names ideally convey your product or service while at the same time being memorable. Thinking of what I might name a day-spa I searched www.lazydays.com. It turned out to be an active domain, not for a spa but rather a site promoting RV’s. This still illustrates the point, however, as one can see the thought process that went into picking LazyDays; the domain name itself promotes the RV-ing lifestyle and is bound to sound attractive to the client who is most likely dreaming of retirement, holidays, and lazy days.
A name does not always have to reflect the product or service being offered. I have seen some interesting and catchy names out there, and it is possible this helps them to be memorable. This is alright if you’re looking to engage in a “branding” campaign and have the capital and time to make your name just as desirable as the product/service you sell. But the risk run with an arbitrary name selection is that the disconnect between the name and the content of your site/business can result in a similar disconnect between the client and your site. Take for example an imaginary e-commerce site that sells original-print t-shirts and has the fanciful and dreamy domain name stardust.com (I am sure this name is taken, it is used for example purposes only). This is all well and good, but there is no relevant link, no mental connection between the two, and so it is more easily forgotten and will most likely have a negative impact on web searches like “funky t’s” or “t-shirt design”. A name like originaltees.com or shortsleeves.ca implies your product and creates a distinct mental connection in the mind of the potential client.
How long should a name be?
Equally important is the length of a site name, as one that is too long can be easily forgotten and easily misspelled. Short words with simple spelling are best, and limiting your domain name to between four and seventeen characters is usually a good idea. Any longer than this, and people will be left scratching their heads instead of browsing your products.
Only as a last resort. If you are thinking of hyphenating it usually means that you are trying to use a phrase which is already taken. Hyphenating a domain name falls into the category of easily forgotten, confused, and misspelled names. A user who forgets your domain name has a hyphen may not arrive at a blank page, but at the site that owns the unhyphenated name. They may never know that the site they arrived at was not the intended site at all, and if the unhyphenated site is competition, you’ve kindly handed them a client. This can, of course, be to YOUR advantage too as it is possible you could receive their clients by mistake, but this is of dubious value so it is best to steer clear of hyphens.
.CA,? .COM,? .NET? Aaargghhhhh….
This will be the subject of a whole other post – please check back soon!