Wednesday, July 30, 2008

How To Make Your Website Work For You, Part 2

In part 1, I talked about search engines and how people want their website to show up on the first page. I may come back to this subject again, but this time, I want to talk about domain names.

There seems to be a good deal of concern over domain names and having it match your business name exactly. It is nice that a domain name may match your business name, but sometimes the business name is long. For example, we have We don't really use it, but we have it pointing to our site. Instead we bought a second name: This is the one we use. It is much shorter. It's not the name of the company, but it is close enough for us. So, length has something to do with how to decide on a domain name. Really, I wanted, but that was taken.

There are a good number of businesses that are using domain names with dashes. This is not easy to type in when someone might be looking for you and typing that domain name, but there are other advantages. First, it probably gets you the coveted .com extension. Second, when it comes to the search engines, the words are separated and can come up more easily. For example, maybe the business name of Del's Italian Restaurant which you might like to have as is taken, so you could do this: As you can see in looking at both of them, the second one stands out dramatically. You can actually see the words while the other one is just a bunch of letters strung together. For this business I might recommend dels-italian or delsitalian.

For customers to use your domain name easily, the shorter the name, the better. So, I recommend that you buy several domain names and you can have them all point to your site. Get the full business name one if you want like we did, but get some shorter ones as well and decide which you will use to promote your business.

One reason people want the full business name is to have email that looks very professional. I cannot imagine anyone actually typing my email with our long name. It would be a real drag for me as well. After all, I type it every day. So our email uses the shorter version. That makes it easy for everyone. We just have to make it a point to say the .org part clearly, otherwise they might assume .com. No big deal. It works for us. We have one client who has a four word business name and he bought the first letters with .com and uses it to promote his business and for his email as well. Works well for them.

Of course there are a lot of other domain name extensions to consider. There's a new one called So, you can choose the name you want, but perhaps you have to accept the different extension. If you're clear in your promoting, that shouldn't be a problem. Having the .org for us doesn't seem to slow us down any. Buy several and use them all.

Think about this. The domain name is going to be the most useful in getting your customers to use your website. Of less importance is the search engine aspect of this. So something that is memorable and easy to type can be very helpful. Decide which one to use for email and which one to use for promotions. You can also buy new ones later that you can use in special promotions and have them link to your site, or buy a new site, use the new domain name and link to it from the old site and back as well. There are so many possibilities and no reason to limit yourself.

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