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Brian Cuda: Choosing a great domain name for your business

Posted: June 11, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: June 11, 2011 1:55 a.m.
 

Remember the moment you and your business partners finally decided on a name for your venture? The team spent hours at the local coffee shop engaged in animated discussions.

There was that magical moment when everyone finally agreed. Perhaps you all jumped out of your seats with excitement fueled by the five shots of espresso.

Then a sobering moment interrupted the jubilation. The group’s techie spoke up: What about choosing a domain name?

Maybe it will be easy if the new venture’s name is available with a dot com extension. If so, you’ll be back to sipping your double-venti mochas in no time! If the name is not available, should you change the business name based on available domains?

Answering that question is up to you and your team, but I can share some experience to guide your decision. Following are some rules I gleaned from other experts, common sense, and nearly 15 years of experience choosing domain names.

What to Avoid
n Stay away from trademarked names and copyright infringement.
n Don’t include numbers in your domain name.
n Don’t include dashes in your domain name.
n Don’t include repeating constants (vowels or consonants) in your name (i.e., joesscv.com).
n Don’t make the name too long (20 characters or less if possible).
n Avoid using words with multiple spellings (i.e., to, two, too).
n Try to avoid prepositions such as over, under, beside, between, etc.
n Avoid wasted words (i.e., online, now, my, site) unless they are part of your venture’s name.

What to Keep in Mind
n Consider only top-level domains of .com, .org, and .net. Dot com is preferable.
n Check auctions for domains with existing history and traffic that may be for sale.
n Use a name rich in keywords.
n If choosing a name based on keywords, be sure to register your brand as well.
n Make the name easy to remember.
n Keep the name as short as possible.

Keep in mind as well that buying multiple domain names offers some advantages. If you go this route, however, get assistance from a web professional during setup to avoid harming potential search engine rankings.

To speed up the process of choosing a domain name, you can use software to help spark ideas and identify variables. One such tool is available at www.panabee.com.

Once you find the perfect name, be sure to register it for at least five years. This will reduce the possibility that you’ll lose the name. Further, some search engine optimization professionals believe using longer registration periods provides a slight edge in search engine rankings.

The theory is that the search engines such as Google view the site as more trustworthy when more than just a few months remain of the registration. Whether this is geek folklore or fact, my belief is to do anything that may increase the chance of optimal search engine results. Further, the investment is minimal; the cost of registration for 5 years (usually less than $50) is small.

This information will help you and your team members make an educated decision when choosing a domain name and increase the chance your presence on the Web will be successful.

Brian Cuda is co-founder of Conceptinet, a website design, development, hosting, social media and marketing firm located in Santa Clarita and can be reached at 661-338-0830  www.conceptinet.com. Mr. Cuda’s column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal. Readers can submit questions to: brian@geek2us.com.

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