How to Choose the Best Domain Name for Your Business


How to Choose the Best Domain Name for Your Business

Selecting the best domain name for your business web presence is a critical step and one that should not be rushed. While the “wild west” days of getting wonderful 3 and 4-letter domain names are gone, there are still plenty of great options out there. Here are a few rules to follow for the best results.

Rules for Selecting a Domain Name

  • Choosing a book titleNo punctuation. Your domain name should not include hyphens, at any time. While this can be tempting, because it’s the easiest way to get around someone else having the domain you wanted, it’s cumbersome. People aren’t used to typing hyphens, and they’ll often miss them – possibly ending up at your competition’s website. Further, if you have to tell someone how to get to your website, over the phone or in person, this adds a level of awkwardness. In short, it can make your business seem less professional.
  • Keep it easy to say. Any domain name should be simple to say. If you have to explain the spelling, or punctuation (see above) of your website name, it is far more likely someone will mess it up.
  • Make it easy to spell. If there is more than one way to spell it, or you choose a word that is commonly misspelled, you’re asking for trouble. It doesn’t take much research to realize that even educated people have trouble spelling. While auto-correct helps us with writing emails, it rarely helps us with visiting a website.
  • Avoid confusing abbreviations. Years ago, when I started Vermont Computing (now Co-operative) I knew the importance of getting this one right. I purchased both and We never told people we had, and never wrote it, advertised it or otherwise indicated to people that our business had anything to do with the “VT” abbreviation for Vermont. However, time and again, when I looked at the logs, I saw numerous people going to Fortunately, since we had both, we forwarded any website visits over to the correct domain.
  • Yes, Dot-Com is still king. While there are many other options (more than 1000 as I write this), the venerable .com is still tops when it comes to top-level domains. It can become frustrating trying to add this rule on top of the others above, and it makes for a lot of disappointing searches, but consider that the first place people think of when adding an extension (dot-whatever) to the end of a domain name is .com. It’s ambiguous whether or not search engines care, but consider this. If you see two websites for a product or service you’re interested in, and one has and the other has… which one are you going to think most favorably about?

Final Thoughts

If this all seems overwhelming, you’re not alone. I struggle with this when working with clients. Following all of the rules isn’t easy, and often requires some creativity. For an existing business with an established name, that you are trying to add to the rules, it can become impossible. Yes, sometimes you have to break one of these rules. But knowing which one, given the circumstances is an important thing to note.

Feeling stuck? I’d be happy to help. Contact me for more information.