Choosing your business website address
Thursday, June 28 2012
YOUR business website’s domain name – also known as its website address – is one of the most important elements in online marketing.
The domain name represents your business on the internet and smart businesses display it on all their advertising and promotional materials. In this article, we will talk about what exactly is a domain name and tips for choosing a good one.
What exactly is a domain name?
In the physical world, you would visit a place by going to its address. For example, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is the address of the White House in Washington, D C. In the online world, you would visit a website by going to its address. A domain name is the address you type into your browser to visit a website, for example, www.yourbusiness.com or www.facebook.com.
Parts of a domain name
A regular domain name usually consists of three parts, separated by two dots, and we will deal with them here in reverse order. The last part is called a Top Level Domain (TLD) and it is the extension at the end of the address, such as .com, or .org.
Some TLDs represent country codes such as .uk for the United Kingdom or .tt for Trinidad and Tobago. This type of TLD is referred to as a ccTLD and is usually used by people and businesses who focus on a particular geographic area. com’s happen to be the most popular form of TLD in the world due to the fact that it was originally intended to be used by commercial businesses. There are other “generic” top level domain names including .org, .info and .biz. Almost every country in the world has its own ccTLD.
The middle part of a website address is the actual domain name and can contain numbers, letters and dashes, for example, the “youtube’’in www.youtube.com.
The first part is called the sub-domain and is usually the “www” at the beginning of the address. A sub-domain, though, can be whatever the domain owner desires it to be and can have different uses, like mail.yourbusiness.com where you can access your business e-mail.
Together, those three parts combine to form a domain name.
Domain naming tips
When choosing a domain name, some popular advice includes making it as short as possible, easy to spell, easy to pronounce and not to infringe on someone else’s copyright. If you want people to visit your website, you must make your domain name easy to remember.
A short, easy to spell domain name is easy to type, easy to remember and fits well when you have to display it on business cards or ads. Word of mouth relies on the domain name being easy to remember and spell. This also means you should avoid hyphens and digits in your domain.
Business e-mail addresses such as firstname.lastname@example.org are also easier to work with when short domain names are used.
Business domain name options
Initials and acronyms. If your business has a long name such as Professional Inspection Services Limited, then it makes sense to use initials to create a shorter domain name instead of spelling it all out. This is especially so if you already refer to your business by its initials, such as PISL. Wouldn’t you agree that www.pisl.co.tt is a considerably better domain name than www.professionalinspectionserviceslimited.com?
Imagine your business name is Bill’s Plumbing Company and you are located in Tunapuna, Trinidad. People looking for a plumber located in Tunapuna would type those words into a search engine. A domain name option would be to combine those keywords to form www.tunapunaplumber.com. With this strategy, you give yourself a great chance of being found in a search engine for people looking for a plumber in Tunapuna.
Your business name. If your business has a unique, short, brandable name, then go right ahead and get it as your domain name. A great example of this is Cupcake Wench with the domain name of www.cupcakewench.com.
.com or a ccTLD?
By far, the most popular TLD on the internet is .com and most people think about getting a .com domain name first. If you can acquire a good .com domain name using the tips I shared above, you should get it.
Many times though, you would be able to get a great domain name with a ccTLD that’s comprised of the business’ initials or is keyword rich. Examples of these are www.insurance.co.tt or www.ihsl.co.tt.
Registering your domain name
Registering a domain name can be a simple process or a complicated process, depending on the company you use to acquire it. Popular domain name registrars like Godaddy or Namecheap make the process complicated for a newbie with lots of upsells.
If you are registering the name yourself, go with a registrar like Hover.com which has a simple process. You can get a .com domain name from Hover for US$15 per year.
Most importantly, if you hire a web design company or some other person and they are handling the domain registration on your behalf, you should ensure that your name or a representative of your business is listed as the “registrant” or owner. An unscrupulous person can hold your domain name or website to ransom if they list themselves as the owner.
Your business website domain name is an important piece of your internet marketing strategy. A lot of thought and consideration must be put into it before a final choice is made.
Sherwin Ramnarine is an Internet Marketing Consultant. Contact him at email@example.com or 678-4180 to talk about marketing your business online.