The importance of a really great business or product name has been a concern for serious business people for centuries and with good reason. However, when you do business on the internet, your website’s name can literally make or break how well you do.
In fact, your domain name is the internet equivalent of a location for a brick and mortar establishment. Make a great choice and your business could easily become a resounding success… but make a poor choice and you could wind up bankrupt even if you have a terrific line-up of products and services to offer.
However, it’s one thing to know that you need a domain name that’s everything it should be and quite another to actually know what goes into a truly stellar choice. Here are some criteria to keep in mind while you consider yours.
Short and Easy to Remember
A website’s long-term success depends greatly on its ability to attract repeat business over time. That means making sure your domain is short, sweet, simple, and easy to remember even if the person isn’t actively trying to do so. Really, there’s a reason that all of the two, three, and four-letter domain options out there are already taken! (Expect the five-letter ones to go the way of the dodo as well pretty soon.)
That said, it’s a good idea to prioritize domain choices that involve as few words as possible. The fewer words in yours, the more it will ultimately be worth. And not just to you as a business and website owner, but to any potential buyers you may want to consider selling to at some point in the future. Make sure your domain is easy to spell as well and avoid hyphens and other characters that visitors are likely to forget all about.
A .com Extension
Make no mistake about it. The extension attached to your domain name is going to have a huge impact on its efficiency. This means that unless your website is going to be marketed toward a specific location attached to its own specific suffix, a .com extension is always going to be the best possible choice.
The .com extension is the one that is already stuck in people’s heads as far as a potential website goes. Also, most of the people visiting your website aren’t going to be paying a whole lot of attention to the extension in the first place. If they like what they see and want to come back in the future, you can bet most of them will assume it was .com. If it’s not, your website could easily become the victim of a phenomenon known as “visitor leakage”.
Potential for Brandability
At this point, we’re all familiar with websites like Hulu, Tumblr, or Pinterest… but there was a point at which these terms were little more than nonsense words with little meaning. Now they’re unique and highly recognizable brand names in and of themselves.
Domains with a high potential to become brandable at some point in the future represent terrific choices for that reason. Even if the domain is not particularly descriptive or relevant to the purpose of the website, it can still easily be turned into a brand that is easily and immediately recognized wherever it happens to be seen on the internet at large.
Other Things to Keep in Mind
Of course, there is a lot more to consider when choosing a domain name than the name itself. You’ll also want to consider other factors, especially if you’re purchasing a domain that already exists, as opposed to starting something brand new from scratch.
One thing to consider is whether or not the website has content already attached to it. A website could have a great domain name, but have a poor to nonexistent Google ranking because of a lack of content. Alternatively, plenty of great content and a high quality backlinking campaign can mean a site with a terrible domain name has a great Google ranking.
In other words, a terrific choice in domain names isn’t going to be a magic ticket to online success. It’s important to consider the entire picture of which the domain name itself is a part.