You might be on our site because you’re considering setting up a new website for your business. That’s great! Give yourself a big ol’ pat on the back. Before you hang your virtual shingle on the internet, though, there is one extremely important consideration to take into account: the domain name of your website. While that might seem simple enough, there are several important factors to take into account.
Before you even think of one domain name idea, take a trip over to Google and look for competitors in your market space. Pick out the top ten most similar to you and jot down their URL’s. Congratulations! You just figured out what not to name your site. Having a unique name that will stick with customers is much more important than playing follow the leader. It’s easier every time to start with a name that is going to be at least somewhat fresh with consumers without having to fight preconceived ideas and connotations of a name that is close to a competitor’s site. Think Google ever regretted naming their site that rather than “Wahoo.com”?
When you think of a possible name for your site, try to imagine telling somebody at a loud, crowded cocktail party how to get to it on their phone. Over clinking glasses and boisterous laughter, you’re shouting at some poor soul, “OK, SO GO TO WWW DOT MIKEBIKESHARK HYPHEN 123 DOT TV…NO, NOT BIKEMIKE123, IT HAS A SHARK…NO, NOT DOT COM, DOT…LET ME JUST TYPE IT FOR YOU.” If you think you’ll get to the “let me just type it for you” phase of the conversation more often than not, consider shortening and simplifying the name. Having numbers or hyphens will fail the cocktail party test almost every time, as will having an overly long URL for customers to type.
Are you starting a company website? Okay, then it probably should have a “.com” domain. Is the site for a non-profit? Then a “.org” domain would be perfect. While it might be tempting to pick a name in one of the less-crowded top level domain spaces, most web users only remember to type “.com” or “.org” (and, at the very most, “.net”) into their web browser. While it is true that ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) recently approved hundreds of new top-level domains (or TLD’s) such as “.gripe” or “.ninja,” they just aren’t widely used enough yet for anybody to remember them.
If you are marketing your site correctly, you are trying to make your site’s name and URL come up higher and higher in search results the longer you are in business. Over time, you will have built your brand into something memorable with customers and highly visible on the web. Why, then, would you want to change the URL of your website after all that hard work? The answer is: you probably shouldn’t. That’s why it’s of the utmost importance to pick a name that will grow with your business. If your name is Joe and you sell cupcakes, then “joescupcakes.com” isn’t a bad website name, but, if you plan to expand your business to bagels and croissants in the future, then a name that will grow with your business (like “joesbakery.com”) would be a better choice.
Here at Torx, we can help you with every aspect of the early days of your website: not just picking a great name, but hosting and design as well. Contact us and let us know how we can help.