What's in a name... 5 rules to choosing a website URL
Ever wonder what makes you prefer one business over another when they seem more or less equal? Maybe one has a nicer looking store, friendlier staff or better service. Now a days your customers will often visit your website first before deciding if they'll ever take the next step to speak with you, purchase your products or visit your store (if you even have one). This is where having a strong online brand will make the difference between attracting a new customer or having them just click away.
While I could write all day about the differnt aspects of branding, on this post I want to talk about one very important aspect of branding, choosing a good website URL, (AKA. www.YourWebsite.com). The business name is the cornerstone of your brand, and especially in the case of online businesses, a good website name can actually make the difference between success or failure. At Scottsdale Website Design we try to help all of our clients have the best chance of success possible. So here are 5 really helpful rules to get you off to on the right track.
1) It must be a dot com
If you're setting up a blog for your Jack Russell Terrier, then go ahead and get the .info or .us domain name. But if you're setting up a business website and actually want to make money, then it has to be a .com. People instinctively seem to assume everything is a .com, so even if you tell them it's something else, they're likely to type in .com anyways. And what if you're competitor has the .com??
2) Spell it correctly
This one seems obvious, but it's not. In todays age of flickr.com, Digg.com, Pownce.com and other purposely misspelled website names, it may be tempting to try it your self. But misspelling domain name just confuses people. Nine times out of ten they'll think it's supposed to be spelled correctly and end up at someone else's website. Yieks!
3) No Numbers or Dashes
You want your domain name to be as short, simple and easy to spell as possible. So even if the domain name you really really want is taken, don't give in to the urge to just buy a variation of it with a dash or a number. Instead, when choosing a domain name, use what I like to call the radio test. Imagine if you where being interviewed on the radio and had to say the name of your website. Which is easier to remember, "my soccer store dot com" or "my dash soccer dash store dot com"?
5) Try to corner the market
This is a really big one, but nobody seems to be talking about it. Let's say you decided that your website name should be www.AwesomeSoccerShoes.com, and it was actually available, (I have no idea if it actually is). How terrible would it be if your competition set up a website called www.myAwesomeSoccerShoes.com or www.myAwesomeSoccerShoes.org. This is just one of the many reasons you want to try and "corner the market" on whatever domain name you choose. So once you've got the .com (and we're all going to use .com, right) then you also want to snatch up the .org, .net for that same domain. Then buy up any common or obvious variations or likely misspellings of that domain name. For example if your site was GilliansShoeStore.com. Also buy GiliansShoeStore.com, GilliansShoes.com, GilliansStore.com, GilliansSheoStore.com and anything else that seems reasonable. You don't have go crazy buying up domain names, but you may end up with 5 or 10.