Choosing the right domain name is one of those “little things” that can make a big difference in your Internet Marketing. Having the wrong domain name can cost you countless numbers of visitors and PR; something a small business cannot afford to lose. The good news is that this is one of the quickest and easiest things you can do to give your Internet Marketing efforts a big boost.
Here are 7 key factors to consider when selecting the domain name for your small business:
Your domain name is something that should be prominent in all of your marketing efforts. That means it needs to stick in peoples minds if you want them to remember to go to your site.
#2: Easy To Spell
Easy to spell. Let’s face it…we aren’t all great spellers. And to make things even more complicated, there are many words with multiple spellings: “centre” or “center”, “color” or “colour”, “red” or “read”? ”BoatsRUs”…is that “r” or “are”?
If you really need a word in your domain name that has multiple spellings, then plan on buying multiple domain names to cover each spelling. You can point the alternate spelling domain names to your main one.
#3: Passes The “Radio Test”
This factor really came home for me when taping a radio commercial a few years back…because the radio compresses the audio range, you have to speak with exaggerated “ups and downs” in your voice just to sound normal.
When speaking your domain name, it needs to be clearly understood. Some words are more prone to being muffled or garbled than others. For example: The word “the” is very easily “deleted” when people hear it.
#4: The Right Domain Extension (.ca or .com or .org)
Extensions are the “.com” part of a domain and there are many to choose from. Some popularly seen ones are: .com, .biz, .ca, .org. Which should you get? Here are my rules of thumb:
- Get the .com.
- If you operate a Canadian company with a local or regional trade area, then get the .ca and use it as your primary one. Point the .com version to it.
- If you operate a not-for-profit or similar business then get the .org and use it as your primary one. Point the .com and .ca versions to it.
- All other domain name extensions are optional and shouldn’t be used as your primary domain name.
#5: Reinforces Your Branding
Your domain name needs to be consistent with your branding and positioning. Your domain name does not need to be your company name, but will become something like a “second business name”. Domain names often become secondary trading names because they’re so prevalent in our marketing. Instead of telling people to physically go to “Sam’s Hardware” down the street, people will say “go to ‘barriehardware.ca’”
#6: Passes The “Business Card Test”
Business cards are small and you have a limited amount of room to work with for the design layout of your card. Your Email address (which your domain name is part of) will likely be the longest piece of information for the card, so you want to keep it short.
Keywords are the words and phrases that people would type into a search engine to look for your product or service and having keywords in your domain name is a big help for showing up high in search engine results. However, only get keywords for your domain name if it makes sense. Don’t sacrifice your brand positioning for keywords; there are other ways to get your keywords into your site.
What To Do If You Don’t Have A Great Domain Name?
OK…so how does your current domain name stack up? Is it time to get a new domain name?
Unless you have a website that is receiving large amounts of traffic (thousands of visitors a month), it’s probably a good idea to change your domain name if it doesn’t measure up. It is possible to switch from one domain to another in a way that if people go to your old site, they’ll be automatically directed to your new site.