My good friend and colleague, Patrice Rhoades-Baum has graciously provided another great article, this time on how to select a great domain name. Along with my artist associates, she’s done a fantastic job helping several of my clients transform their websites into powerful marketing tools—check this one out: (www.ClearPictureLeadership.com) , and I learned first hand she knows her stuff.
By Patrice Rhoades-Baum Copyright © 2008
Having a hardworking domain name for your website helps you clearly communicate with your prospects and clients. A great domain name makes it easy for prospects and clients to find your website, communicates something specific about your business, and helps protect your brand.
Here are 10 rules of thumb to select a great domain name:
1. It’s easy to say.
This also means your domain name must be easy for teleclass, workshop, and radio show listeners to accurately hear.
2. It’s easy to spell.
3. It’s easy to read, even when all letters are lowercase.
Note: Make it easy for readers by capitalizing each word in your printed materials.
4. It’s catchy and easy to remember.
Example (this is one of Taco Bell’s actual domain names): FourthMeal.com
This example comes with a caveat; I don’t advocate eating a fourth meal of fast food late at night!
5. It’s clear, not cryptic.
Do you have a favorite phrase or industry jargon that’s meaningful to you? Put yourself in your prospects’ shoes: Would they have a clue what your clever domain name means?
6. It’s only 1 or 2 words long (3 words is acceptable; 4 is generally too long unless the words are short).
Acceptable, but confusing when stated verbally: WritingTips4Kids.com
7. It has the fewest syllables possible.
8. It communicates your business or brand.
9. It ends with .com.
Let’s say you want to purchase LeadershipStrategies.com, but it’s already taken. Don’t buy LeadershipStrategies.net. This will just confuse your clients. Keep researching – you’ll come up with a domain name that fits these criteria. Also, if you live in Canada; your best choices would be .com and .ca.
10. It may use hyphens but not underscores.
Note: In this example, Janice Jones is wise to own at least two domain names: JonesCPA.com (her main website) and Jones-CPA.com. The latter helps protect her brand and is easier to read in printed materials. However, she must be sure to redirect visitors from Jones-CPA.com to her main site, JonesCPA.com.
More tips to select and purchase domain names:
• Buy various versions to protect your brand – If our fictional accountant, Janice Jones uses JonesCPA.com as her main website, she should consider purchasing JonesCPA.net, JonesCPA.biz, JonesCPA.info, JaniceJones.com, JaniceJonesCPA.com, JJonesCPA.com, JonesAccounting.com, etc. This might seem expensive, but it will protect her brand if another Janice Jones happens to be a CPA.
• Purchase your business’s tagline and book titles – If possible, purchase the tagline of your business, since this is foundational to your brand. And purchase the domain name that reflects any books, audio programs, or information products that you’ve created or plan to create. You can use these domains as sales pages to sell your product as well as protect your brand.
• Use redirects – If Janice Jones’s main website is JonesCPA.com, all her other domain names can be set up to automatically transfer visitors to that main site. You can also redirect your product’s domain name to the correlating page on your website.
• Buy common misspellings of your domain name – What if our fictional accountant’s name is Janice Kavanaugh? She would be wise to purchase the domain names KavanaughCPA.com and CavanaughCPA.com. The misspelled website address should redirect to her main site. Remember, using redirects enables visitors to arrive at your website, even if they accidentally type a slight alteration.
• Buy domain names with hyphens – In print, domain names with hyphens are easier to read. Also, buying versions of your domain names with hyphens can help protect your brand.
• Use www.NameBoy.com to brainstorm and find available names – This website offers an easy tool to quickly brainstorm oodles of potential domain names for your business. You can purchase domain names at NameBoy.com, GoDaddy.com, and multiple other websites. I’ve been purchasing my domain names at GoDaddy.com, because I like their customer service.
• Don’t wait! Make the investment now – If you have an idea for a book or information product that you may someday create, be sure to snap up the available domain name now. Great domain names are rare and precious commodities!
When selecting a great domain name, explore the possibilities, think about what different names communicate to prospects and clients, be creative, and have fun!
About Patrice Rhoades-Baum
If you own a business, your website is your most powerful marketing and sales tool. Marketing consultant and copywriter Patrice Rhoades-Baum teams with entrepreneurs and small-business owners to make their websites DELIVER: clients, income, credibility, results, and success. A Colorado resident and avid outdoorswoman, Patrice is renowned for her down-to-earth website strategies. Visit www.BrandingAndWebsites.com for a free worksheet: “Nail Your Elevator Pitch.”