10 Do’s & Don’ts Every Niche Business Ought to Know About Domain Names

You’ve named your niche business. You’ve registered your trademark – protecting your name. And, now there’s one last name you must consider – your domain name.

It goes without saying that once you announce your business, you’ll inevitably get asked: “What is your website address?” More and more consumers are using the web as their primary source of information about a company, and it’s likely your consumers are no different.

This is something separate and distinct from your business name and your trademark, and as such, requires a slightly different thought process.

Domain names should be short and snappy, and easy to memorize and spell. This means that your domain name can be different from your business name. However, I would highly recommend that you buy the domain name for your business, if it’s still available.

10 Domain Name Do’s and Don’ts:

1. Do keep it short and simple.
Your domain name should be easy to remember. An ideal name is one that you can tell someone in under five words. Catchy and clear should be your goal.

2. Don’t load it down with punctuation.
People don’t remember punctuation. If you need to resort to parentheses, underscoring, or hyphens to get the domain name you want, select another domain name.

3. Do spell things correctly.
The default assumption people make is that you will spell the words in your domain name correctly. It’s counter-intuitive and awkward to force people to make a mistake in order to find your webpage.

4. Don’t forget to buy the incorrect spellings of your domain name.
If you type www.washingtenpost.com into your Internet browser, you are automatically directed to www.washingtonpost.com. The paper’s not alone in this strategy-buying incorrect spellings of your domain name and setting up rerouting programs to bring users to your home page is a smart move. I have my own personal example. Very few people realize that my last name “Friedmann” has a second “n.” To add to this dilemma, “Friedmann” is German so the sound and spelling aren’t necessarily familiar to many Americans. I’m forever being called “Mrs. Fried Man.” So the different options I could consider buying include, “Friedmann, Freidman, Freedman, Freeman,” and so on. Get the picture? This can start to get very pricey, so satisfy yourself with the essential ones, knowing that if someone else bought one of your options, you would survive.

5. Do include a description.
Use your domain name to reinforce your image. View this as an opportunity to let customers know what you do. Rather than www.charleston.com, go for www.charlestonchiropractic.com.

6. Don’t be clever.
Just as your business name should be clear and to the point, your domain name should communicate clearly and effectively who you are and what you do. This is not the place for snappy slogans or cute taglines. The only exception is if your tagline or slogan is so well known that it can serve effectively as a domain name, such as, www.wetryharder.com brings you directly to Avis Rental Cars.

7. Do go for the .com suffix.
When shopping for domain names, you’ll be offered a whole bouquet of suffix options, which include: .com, .biz, .net, .org, .info, and more. For your first choice, you should consider buying the .com domain, as more than 90 percent of all Internet users consider .com to be the preferred domain type, and the one they check first. If your budget allows, buy them all, and have all the secondary suffixes redirected to your main page.

8. Don’t sink to the bottom of the alphabet.
Some search engines return results alphabetically. Most web users never progress beyond the first few results-so if you’re the proud proprietor of Zena’s Zany Zoo, guess where that leaves you?

9. Do register your domain name yourself.
Registering a domain name is quick and easy. Simply go to a domain registry site, such as GoDaddy.com, Network Solutions, or Registry.com and follow the instructions. This keeps control of your domain name in your hands, even if you change web hosts, web designers, or IP service providers.

10. Don’t Let Your Name Lapse.
Domain registries last for a year. If you let your registry expire, someone else can snap it up and you’re left in the cold. Don’t rely on renew-mark it on your calendar and renew ahead of time or opt for an auto renew. You don’t want your customers to look for you and discover someone else! Beware of the cyber-squatters. Let your domain name lapse and it could easily be poached by a member of this group. A cyber-squatter will happily sell your domain name back to you-for a price! Especially desirable domains command impressive prices. The highest price on record? A staggering $14 million for Sex.com in early 2006. Coming in second, at a still respectable $7.5 million was Business.com.

Susan Friedmann, CSP, The NichePreneur Coach, is a niche marketing expert who helps small business owners, entrepreneurs and service professionals, find and capitalize on a niche market. Author: “Riches in Niches: How to Make it BIG in a small Market,” “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Target Marketing,” and many other titles. For more great information on niche marketing strategies that work, and for a complimentary copy of “The NichePreneur Mindset: How to Find Your Niche to Success,” visit http://www.richesinniches.com. Click to download the “Riches in Niches” app. Sign up for the Niche Marketing Success 7-Day Mini Course

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