Choosing the Right Domain Names

When people ask me for advice about what name they should give their website address, I usually suggest that they pick two or three. Here I explain why.

Your Business Name Dot Com

You’ll always want your organization or business name as a website address. That way people searching by that name will be more likely to find it.

For example, the landscaping business Bloom & Davis Services would probably want BloomDavisServices.com.

Get Clever

Someone with the website BloomDavisServices.com might also want something short, clever, and easier to remember like WeMowLawns.com. That’s a catchy name to have in advertising or on a car.

Get Found

Neither of the names above would be likely to make it to the top of a Google search for Chicago Lawn Care. So, a third domain name to have would be ChicagoLawnCare.com — since search engines give special significance to key words that are actually in the domain name.

With a business domain, a clever domain, and an easily found domain, you’re more likely to get found and remembered online.

No Name is Unique

If someone already has CoralvilleLawnCare.com you can get LawnCareCoralville.com or FriendlyLawnCareCoralville.com. Sometimes a ‘throwaway word’ in that name will help to find something available. You also see the futility in buying dozens of similar domain names. There’s always one more you’ve not thought of.

No name is so unique that another person can’t create a slight variation on that name. Even if a name is trademarked, a person can always get out a thesaurus and think of similar search terms. So, don’t obsess over your domain name and spend lots of time and money protecting it by registering many variations on that name.

Choose an Anchor Site

With three websites, you can have two simple ones, and then a third that is more elaborate — perhaps the one under your actual business name. This becomes your anchor site. It may also be the one where you upload your photos, files, and other media. Then your secondary sites can reference that material — saving time.

Forwarding Addresses Don’t Help Much

Forwarding a clever URL to your actual website works for advertising and having a simpler address, but it isn’t as helpful as having a separate website which will get indexed and listed in a Google search.

Considerations for Well Established Businesses

A business like Staples, that is already widely recognized will not need three websites. People generally know what Staples sells, and they are already committed to shopping at Staples. A smaller office supply store might want to get a website called CoralvilleOfficeSupply.com or something like that to show up more effectively in search results.

Domain Extensions

 

For years website hosting companies and domain registration services have coaxed people into buying every possible extension imaginable for their website such as .BIZ, .US, .NET, .INFO, etc. They do this by scaring business owners into thinking they’d better buy these domains up so that nobody else does. These tend to be an unnecessary expense. It’s good to have the top recognized extensions. For example, a non-profit who has a website ending in .ORG may want to get the .COM and redirect people to their .ORG to avoid issues later. Otherwise, people may inadvertently type in the .COM since that’s more common. Yet, for most .COM owners, you already have the most desired domain extension so owning the ones nobody has heard of isn’t practical.

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