What is a domain?
I like to describe domains as your label or your address. This is where you reside in the internet “real-estate-land”. And hosting is your “space” for your property aka your website. We’re not going to talk about hosting though, but what to give that complete analogy for to bring perspective to this whole web design “thing”.
Choosing a name and extension
Choosing your domain name should not be take lightly. Take careful consideration into the name that you choose and also the extension that you decide upon. Extension means are you going to go with the usual .com, .org, .net, .co and etc?
I will give you a guide as to which each one represents so that you know where you fit into the mix.
So let’s talk about names…
1) Be on Brand
You domain name does not need to reflect your entire legally registered business name. Too often I see this and what it produces is a long ass name which is not a great idea for a domain name. Your domain name should reflect the brand. Plenty of times company’s common name or brand name they have intentionally or not intentionally become to be called are not the names that are used.
2) Keep it Short
Your domain name should be short, rolls off the tongue with ease and witty. This will be more long lasting in the minds of your audience to remember. You want your name to be easily told to others so people can find you with ease. So like everything else in Branding, your domain name should also be memorable.
3) Easy to understand
When choosing a name ensure that is somewhat easy for persons to decipher what the website is about, not all the time this can be achieved if the name of the brand is a name that is not an actual word but something that was invented but where you can choose a brand name that persons can tell what the business is about, honestly this is not super important because again if you have a unique brand name it would be hard to avoid.
4) Get Creative
Now there will be times where you have to get creative, because your name even though your business name might not be available. You have the option to buy it from the owner if its not in use which comes at a fine price most times, or you can get creative and come up with a variation of the name, you can use your local area to add letters to the end of the name, if you operate mainly in your local area, example a company that sells fried chicken in Georgia could be www.friedchickenGA.com or if your company name is dresses your domain name could be dressdress.com you get my drift. Eventually whatever you choose make sure it can tie into your Branding cleverly. This may be an opportunity to add something witty to your Brand collateral.
Which Domain Extension should you pick?
Well, each domain extension traditionally signifies something as well as has a certain brand perception in the marketing place even though that was not the original intent for example, .biz was initially supposed to be for businesses rather than .coms but over the years .coms have become the staple and .biz has come to be associated with untrustworthy sites and sites that are spammy or fraudulent. I would not advise anyone to choose a .biz because of the general public perception of them.
So below I outline my recommendations for extensions:
.coms - a great general use extension
.co - great if you are business owner wanting a corporate image finish
.biz - has a stigma attached to it so I would not advise it but proceed with caution if you must
.org - usually used for charities, non-profits organizations, causes, etc
.me - personal brands and website, great for being used as a portfolio website and resume websites, for those who want to be dynamic and build a website resume, for those of you like this I say rock on!
.edu - not available for public registration and is used by educational institutions
Now these are just some of what is available of course as you might have noticed way more than these when browsing possible domain names, but these are the most common ones that you should have top of mind.
I hope this article helps and clarifies and helps you on your way to choosing your domain name. A great place for purchasing domain is at 1and1 IONOS, we use them for all our clients domains.
If you are stuck with this feel free to drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can point you in the right direction and get you started with at least securing your domain (with 1and1 IONOS or Squarespace) until your are ready to start working on your website.
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