You’ve decided you want a website and now you have the challenging task of choosing a domain name.  For those of you who don’t know what a domain name is, it is your website address (www.mrtechnique.com is this website’s address).  Picking a domain name could be a challenging task.  This week and over the next few weeks, I’ll be giving you some tips which could make the process a little easier for you.  Here are a few tips to start you off:

Short vs. long – Whichever option you choose, be sure the domain name is easy to spell and remember for most people. For example, you would probably be more likely to remember AreYouHotOrNot.com as opposed to AYHON.com.  Shorter domains have a smaller chance of being misspelled than longer ones. They’re also easier to fit on a business card.  On the flip side, you can squeeze in more relevant keywords (e.g. highqualitywidgets.com) to your industry in longer domain names. You could also fit an easy and catchy phrase (e.g. icantbelieveitsnotbutter.com) into a longer domain name. So, whether you choose a long or short domain name, be sure it is easy to spell and remember.

Look into purchasing alternative spellings or common misspellings – Nobody’s perfect and everybody’s bound to make a typing mistake every once in a while.  It would be a shame if you miss out on traffic and possible sales because some people frequently misspell your domain name.  Sit down with a few friends and get them to type in the name of your website on their browser twenty times.  Whichever misspellings you see the most, you should purchase.  In addition to common misspellings, you may want to purchase alternative spellings of a word or a name which appears in your domain name.  For example, one of my clients, Neal Smith Designs, has the name www.nealsmithdesigns.com.  If we were to verbally tell someone to go to the website, they may spell the name Neal in different ways (Neal or Neil).  So, we to avoid any confusion, the domain name www.neilsmithdesigns.com was purchased as well.  You don’t want to miss out on traffic because a visitor wasn’t exactly sure about spelling a name.

Hyphens – If you’re going to use them for your domain name, I’d recommend purchasing both versions of the domain name (with and without hyphens) if possible.  Let’s say someone finds your site, www.the-best-widgets-around.com, through a Google search and they liked what they saw and decided to tell a friend about it on the phone.  That person probably won’t mention the hyphens in your domain name.  Instead, they’ll probably tell their friend to go to www.thebestwidgetsaround.com.  Instead of you getting that traffic and possible business, the lucky owner of the unhyphenated domain name will be the recipient.  On the flip side, the hyphens do separate the words/names in the domain name, making it more aesthetically pleasing to the eye.  Also, hyphenated domain names may rank better in search engines because the words/names are separated by hyphens.

Contact me if you’d like us to assist you in choosing the right domain name.  Stay tuned for next week for more tips on choosing a domain name.  Stay tuned for Part 2 of Choosing a Domain Name next week.

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