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Which Domain Name for me?

You’ve made the decision, you’ll start your own business. You know what your business will do, have great ideas for promoting your business and have a designer working on your web site now. You’re pretty sure about the business name, too.

Or maybe you have the business already, but have now decided to get a web presence by developing a web site.

But what do you call your domain name?

Having your own domain name gives you a more professional appearance and is usually easier for people (read that as ‘potential clients’) to remember and type into their browser.

Excluding the domain names already in use, there are many, many different names that you could use for your business. How do you find them and how to do choose between them?

Keep the following guidelines in mind as you choose, and your domain name will be more effective as a business tool.

Keep it short, Will your clients remember www.short.com or www.thisismybusinessnameandilikeit.com ? If it’s easy to remember, you will get more people coming back to you. And very long names are harder to fit onto the page anyway!

Make it relevant. Sure, www.website.com is catchy, but it doesn’t help you sell garden hoses or bridal veils. As much as possible, have your domain name match your business. Some good examples are ‘giftsofluxory’, ‘babessafety,’ ‘webgraphicsbyemail,’ ‘kidsnmore’ and ‘businessmums.’

Consider the extension of the domain name as well. If you want the site to carry an Australian tag but don’t want a long domain name, consider having .au in the name. A site that is designed purely to inform others, may find .info a useful extension to communicate the site’s purpose.

Be careful with abbreviations. Some businesses have many parts to their name and are tempted to use the initial letters as a domain name, such as ‘Fred Nerk, John Smith and Associates’ becoming ‘fnjsaa.’ This does represent the business but is very hard to remember and typos will be made frequently. Some abbreviations work well, especially if they are already recognised. For instance, a domain name of ‘ATO’ for the Australian Tax Office is highly effective.

Include the business name if possible as this increases familiarity with the business name and that is a crucial step for any business. Obviously, the entire name can’t always be used so it may need to be part of the name or an abbreviation. Again, just make it as easy as possible to remember the URL.

Be careful to use the full name in all uses of the domain name, especially if the name includes precursors like ‘the’ or ‘my.’

Even within the confines of the above tips, there is a lot of scope for choosing a domain name. There is also room for creativity.

In the initial phases, forget rules and let your mind wonder. By brainstorming and word associations, you should be able to gather many potential domain names for your site. The guidelines can then help you eliminate some ideas before checking which domain names are still available.

Having chosen a name you like, you may find that it has already been taken. At this stage, you can find another name or consider using the name with a different extension or a small modification.

For instance, you chose www.greatidea.com.au but it has already been taken. Some alternatives to consider are:

and so forth. Of course, take care that your business isn’t very similar to www.greatidea.com.au before using a small modification in your name.

Like a business name, the domain name is an important decision and thus it’s worth putting some time and effort into the choice.

About the Author
Tash Hughes,
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Word Constructions
Tash Hughes is the owner and writer of Word Constructions. All writing and editing projects are undertaken, from business letters to reports to web site content; whatever your writing problems, visit www.wordconstructions.com to see how we can solve them.

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