One of the single most important decisions you will make about getting your business online is the domain you choose.
What is a domain name?
A domain name is the web address that identifies your business or blog on the internet. This domain name, for example, is moongear.com. Domain names typically contain letters, numbers and hyphens in addition to the domain extension (.com, .net, .org and so on). They can be up to 63 characters long, cannot begin or end with a hyphen and cannot have more than a single hyphen in a row. Domain names are unique and therefore cannot be duplicated except in the case of different extensions (e.g. moongear.com vs moongear.net).
When a domain name is typed into the address bar of a web browser, records call DNS records tell the browser where to find the hosting account then subsequently will retrieve and load the website.
What is a good domain name?
A good domain name is one that closely matches your business name. If I were to open a coffee shop and call it Mike’s Gourmet Coffee, I would want my domain name to be mikesgourmetcoffeeshop.com. It does, however, depend on your goals. You might want to shorten it a bit. So for my new coffee shop I might go with mikesgourmetcoffee.com.
In a different direction, you might decide to be less specific about your business name and focus on the products or services you provide. For example, columbusbeans.com or something similar might be a good web brand to build my coffee shop.
What if my business name is already taken?
If the domain name that matches your business name is already taken, don’t panic. Similar to what I explained above, you could use derivatives or something that is more generic. Be careful, though, of domain names that are based on misspellings or very closely match one that is already taken. Also, beware of choosing a .net or other extension instead of a .com.
The reason for this is that there will be people that instinctively use the correct spelling or type a .com after at the end. It doesn’t help you out if you are helping to send traffic to another website. I always recommend getting a domain name with a .com at the end and if possible also register the .net and other common domain extensions.
A good place to start is GoDaddy.com. GoDaddy’s domain search tools is somewhat intuitive and will make suggestions based on “key words” that you type into the search field. “Coffee Shop Columbus” returns a bunch of good domain name options that have the .com extension including coffeeshopcolumbus.com which as of this writing could be registered for $1. So if you happen to have a coffee shop in Columbus, go get that.
Remember, your domain does not have to perfectly match your business name. Keywords that are associated with your products or services are okay. And keep in mind, if you get stuck or need our advice, you are welcome to contact us.