Bus. Essentials: Choosing the Best Domain Name

This will be the first part of a series of posts to help new businesses with some of the critical decisions they need to make early on. We’ll call this our Business Essentials Series.

A domain name is the address of a business online. For example, Kona Impact’s domain name is konaimpact.com.

All domain names are unique and they are available on a first-come, first served basis. As such, it is very difficult to get a good generic domain name, as most easy-to-remember domain names using nouns and adjectives are already gone.

In the best of all possible worlds, your domain name is your business name. For example, if your business is the Titanium Ring Shop, it would be ideal for your business to have www.titaniumringshop.com as the domain name.

In fact, if you have yet to name your business, you might want to let the availability of domain names guide your decision, especially if you envision a website being an important element of your marketing or sale.

If your domain is unavailable, you need to get creative. Here are five principles to guide you:

1. Avoid a non-.com domain names. There are many domain name extensions–.us, .net, .org, .cc, .tv, etc. These are, for the most part, very hard to brand (or remember!). If another business has the .com, look elsewhere. How many times have you visited a .cc or a .us domain name?

2. Avoid dashes and numbers. Dashes are hard to remember and numbers are problematic. If you hear “one, two, three happy dot com” is the domain 123happy.com or onetwothreehappy.com? Likewise “health four you” could be www.health4u.com, www.healthforyou.com, healthfouru.com or health4you.com.

3. Fewer words is almost always better. Again, it comes down to ability to remember your website address and create an online brand.

4. The search engines will almost always give your #1 ranking on search results for your domain name. This can be very valuable and bring a lot of visitors to your website. For instance, “drbobbrown.com” is probably less useful, search engine wise, than “mauidentist.com”.  A lot more people will be searching for a “maui dentist” than “dr bob brown”.

5. Add a geographic term is your having difficulty. For example, “cleansweep.com” is not available, but if your business is Clean Sweep Cleaning and you’re in Seattle, you might want to use some combination of Clean Sweep and Seattle.