Today, when you start a new business, launch a blog, build a new website or extend your business into new markets, you almost always need to buy a new domain name to support your efforts. In fact, the right domain name has gone from being a nice-to-have, to an essential ingredient that can impact the success or failure of your marketing efforts.
Over the years I have witnessed many easy-to-avoid mistakes when it comes to selecting domain names. Some of these may be obvious, and others not so much. In either case, you can learn from these mistakes so that the name you choose for your domain is a successful one.
Picking a domain name that is already taken – or not buying it fast enough
This might seem like a no brainer, but I have seen many businesses come up with a catchy domain name, print it on their business cards, and write it on their grand opening t-shirts only to fail to check if they can even buy the name.
Checking domain availability should be the next step in your process after you start brainstorming names. Many companies offer domain names for only $11.50 for the first year. Buy any potential domain names as soon as you come up with them. Don’t risk losing out on the perfect name because you procrastinated.
Picking a domain name that is not a .com
Today you can get domain names with all sorts of extensions .biz .org .cc .pro .me .tv. While these may have creative appeal, potential visitors and customers for most businesses have been “programmed” – after years of typing .com – to automatically assume that every domain name has .com at the end.
Don’t make life hard for potential customers or lose out on traffic because your site is not a .com. Also, if another company owns the .com version of your domain name, you can expect many of your new and existing customers to end up visiting their website first.
Sounds like another business
Nothing is worse than launching your new website, immediately having the phone start to ring, email inquiries start to pour in, and website traffic start to pick up, only to find out all this activity is because people think you are another business with a similar name.
We know this one firsthand. At BoostSuite, at least once a month we get a call from someone who is actually looking for Boost Mobile or HootSuite. Fortunately, this is pretty infrequent. But, whenever possible, find a name that is unique and doesn’t use generic terms while still being short and catchy.
Using hyphens or numbers
Your domain needs to be one word or one set of words. No hyphens and no numbers. It’s hard to verbally communicate a domain name that has a space or a number. When someone hears one of these domains it’s hard to know if a hyphen is required and if the numbers are written out as words or are numeric. Stick to A-Z and leave other characters alone, no matter how tempting.
Being super trendy
If every new website is using certain words, phrases, characters or misspellings – chances are it’s a bad idea. Your trendy domain name might sound cool today…. but chances are it won’t sound so great in a few years. And, in the meantime, it will confuse everyone who hasn’t yet heard about today’s tricky domain naming trend.
Avoid these eight domain name pitfalls and you’ll set your new business up for online marketing success!