What’s In A (Domain) Name?
Posted Tuesday, July 27, 2004
Choosing a domain name is a very important first step for anyone starting a business on the Internet. This name is the first impression that strangers are going to have about you and your business. You are going to need to give this decision some real thought.
It is very likely that you have a name in mind already. Something catchy, perhaps? Something that has meaning to you. Maybe you always wanted to name your business after you grandchild, or your favorite pet. I strongly urge you to reconsider.
In the very informative book, The Invisible Touch, Harry Beckwith has some unique ideas about naming a business. He touches on saying your proposed name out loud, slowly. How does it really sound? He cites the name Facial Aesthetics. Sounded out slowly, it becomes ‘fa shil ass thet icks’. Doesn’t sound so good now, does it? Get opinions from others, and then really listen to what they have to say, objectively.
The next thing to consider is whether or not your name says anything about your business. Some years ago, I was friends with a lady who had a business named “Heather’s Feathers”. So, what do you think that this business sold? Feathers? Birds? Bird products? Nope, it sold emu oil. And Heather was her 4 year-old daughter’s name. Consider what you would think of when you see a business name.
You may love your family name. If you are thinking of naming your business after yourself, however, you really need to give it some thought. I have never forgotten these two businesses, whose names I saw on billboards years ago: Crouch Equipment and Tick Insurance. Now you may say to yourself that I remember these names after years. True, but not for their products or their service!
You also run a risk if you choose a name that is too, let me say… mystical. You may know what you mean when you name your business Mystic Blue Nights, but how many other people will?
Don’t choose a domain name that reads like a book. It is difficult for the average person to remember long domain names. It may be descriptive to get lowcostdiabeticrecipesforalloccasions.com, but it is not going to be memorable, and you run the risk of people misspelling it and not being able to find you. Watch out for the use of dashes, too. People don’t expect them, so instead of visiting your site, Pickles-R-Us, they could wander to your competitor ‘pickelsrus’ instead. Trying to be clever and tweak a competitor’s name could backfire on you.
If the name that you really want is not available as a .com, go and look at the .com site before you choose .net, or one of the other extensions that are becoming available, such as .info and .tv. People think .com first, and if they are looking for you and put .com in by mistake, you sure don’t want them to end up at some porn or hate site.
You are going to have to live with your choice of domain names for a long time. Take your time and choose wisely.
About The Author
Sibyl McLendon is the owner of Spirit Web Design (http://www.spirit-webdesign.net). She has been designing sites for 3 years. Visit Spirit Web Design for useful information on website marketing.