Picking a domain name should be an educated decision. Here's what happens when it's not. By Theresa Happe
The lack of the ideal domain name can throw some businesses completely off and result in the selection of a bad domain name. Sometimes, the poor choice is simply due to lack of understanding of the internet, keywords and how search works. Unfortunately, finding out too late is not helpful when you’ve already invested time and resources into a business website. Here’s an example of what can happen and why you should make an informed decision about your domain name.
While it may be cute and catchy, working with your company slogan as an alternative to your business name can cause problems when the slogan reveals nothing about the type of business. A local business here named Young Equipment Sales goes by the name “YES.” It seems catchy enough on the surface and it’s easy to remember. Their website is theyesexperience.com (The Yes Experience). As you can see, the domain name does not reveal the nature of the business. The business sells a wide variety of municipal equipment, which you would never know from looking at the domain name. If you take a closer look at the domain name, “sex” stands out. This has caused domain emails from employees at the company to end up straight in spam folders. Although their current contacts might receive their emails, the dilemma is devastating to the effectiveness of making new business contacts. Ultimately, they had to acquire youngequipmentsales.com and redirect it to theyesexperience.com. Given that their company name was available to begin with, they really should have acquired it first and developed the website on that domain. Their company name contains the word “equipment” which tells searchers what their business is about and would have helped the website to rank for equipment related keywords.
Granted, it is difficult these days to find the perfect .com domain name for your business, but you still have choices and knowing which mistakes could trip you up will help you to avoid going backwards or hindering progress.
The first question you want to answer is whether or not your business is a local one. If you only serve a designated area and do not need to compete with similar businesses in other areas, a local domain is on the table. You will have a better chance of finding a domain with the keywords you want if you can work with a local domain. If your plumbing business will only be offered within a 50 mile radius of your home, do you want to fight to be found in search with plumbers from across the country? It’s more work and there’s no point in pursuing inquiries from people you cannot service.
Your keyword list should contain your business name, keywords related to your business, your city, and cities in your area. Break these words out into as many variables as you can, i.e. synonyms of your keywords, abbreviations of your city, etc.
When you approach a domain search tool, plug in your keywords and set the search filters to your price range and filter out results with hyphens and numerals. Check .com availability first and if you come up short, move on to the .net, .info, .biz and .org extensions. Combine your keywords with your different location words. Save a list of your different results and narrow the list down to the shortest domains that are easiest to remember. Avoid misspellings and definitely avoid any domains which could be misconstrued like the example above. Yes, catchy does matter, but it shouldn’t come at the price it did. Run your choices by friends and family and take their feedback into consideration. If your domain describes your business, is memorable and people like it, you’re on the right track.