Although you may choose to use capitals strategically when putting your domain name in print (like www.LionSharkDigital.com) URL’s aren’t case sensitive, which means that new visitors may misinterpret what your domain name actually says. In our case, someone may actually believe our domain name to be www.LionsHarkDigital.com, but the odds of that are pretty slim because shark jumps right out when you see www.lionsharkdigital.com written down, and even if they did, “Lions Hark” doesn’t mean anything negative or inappropriate. The same cannot be said of some other domain names! One example is www.brandpartsexchange.com (the actual brand name has been concealed to avoid embarrassing them). This company intended to have their domain name read as www.BrandPartsExchange.com but it looks a lot like www.BrandPartSexChange.com... And you’ve heard about www.penisland.net, right? There’s a whole slew of these floating around online, like www.whorepresents.com, www.speedofart.com, www.effoff.com, www.itscrap.com, www.lesbocages.com, www.choosespain.com, www.teacherstalking.org, etc.
The lesson here is that you should run your domain name by a few people before choosing it to make sure it won’t be misinterpreted!
Do Use Your Company Name
Your company name should be in your primary domain name, but if your company name is confusing or hard to spell, you may want to purchase an extra domain name that describes what you do so that you can redirect it to your main site. For instance, if your company name is Silly-o Wigglesies Kidz Books, you might not want to have www.sillyowigglesieskidzbooks.com be the domain name you use on your business cards and in print ads because it’s so unwieldy. Instead, you might want to purchase www.sillykidsbooks.com and just redirect it.
Do Use .Com
When it comes to top level domains (TLDs), .com is really the only acceptable choice for a serious company. Using things like .net, .biz or something else are typically used for hobby businesses and that teenage kid down the street that mows lawns over summer vacation. There is a whole long list of TLDs to choose from but choosing something clever like .car or .coffee will just confuse less web-savvy people who will likely try to add a .com to the end or think that the domain name is incomplete.
Don’t Use Abbreviations
Abbreviations and acronyms are hard for people to remember, and having to spell them out every time you tell someone your domain name is a pain. This is why you should stay away from using abbreviations unless they’re really well known. For instance, “MI” and “Mich” are common abbreviations for Michigan, so having the domain name www.MIbusinessname.com is fine. However, if your company is Bob Smith’s Professional Contractors Company, you shouldn’t use www.bspcc.com because that probably doesn’t mean anything to anyone else.
Don’t Change It
Changing your existing domain name should always be a last resort! Changing it is expensive because it means you need to redo all of your marketing materials and find a way to keep existing customers from getting lost along the way. If you decide that you really need a new domain name, it’s always best to keep your existing domain name and redirect it to your new domain. This way you won’t lose out on the benefits of all of the link building that you’ve done either!
Don’t Make It Too Long
Long domain names provide more chances for typos when people enter them online, which makes them a bad choice for your business. Shorter domain names are easier to fit in marketing advertisements (both online and off-line) and are easier for people to remember. For this reason, you should try to keep your domain name as short as possible.
Don’t Spend a Fortune
Many companies would prefer to have shorter domain names, but they can’t find any that fit their businesses and are available. Instead, they think their only choice to is to pay a ton of money to buy their domain name from another business or a domain squatter. While this may be the right choice for a larger, more well established business because the cost is actually an investment in their future, small businesses and startups shouldn’t spend more than they have to get a decent domain name. If you’re having trouble finding the right domain name for your business, reach out to us and we’d be happy to help you find something great!
Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, Web Consulting for small businesses, Copywriting and Local Online Marketing. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and enjoys cooking, watching sports and spending time outdoors. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about marketing theory and SEM trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!