"Choosing Domain Names for Professional Sites: Six Guidelines "
by Syd Johnson
A professional or business site is one where the primary purpose of the site is to facilitate business transactions. You can sell items directly online or exclusively offline, but the result is the same. You want customers to buy products and/or service directly from you.
To create a domain name for this type of website here are a few guidelines:
1. Shorter is better
2. Make the name easy to pronounce
3. Think long term
4. Stick to Categories and Topics
5. Do a trademark search
6. Always have a tag line
Shorter is better
If you want to make real money online, try to keep your domain name as short as possible. In the online world, the choices of where to shop and get information is overwhelming. A shorter name will instantly be memorable. It is always easier to remember short words and phrases. A shorter name is good for word of mouth advertising online and offline. Customers can easily remember the the URL and therefore they’re more likely to pass it on and return to the website. The name will also stand out when it is printed on brochures, business cards and other business collateral. Liz, Dick, Kate, Feds are all examples of our incessant need to reduce every term in the English language to three syllables or less.
Easy to Pronounce
If you want a short name, you must be very creative. To be creative and strategic make sure that your domain name is easy to pronounce. It is perfectly acceptable to create a name from scratch, but it must sound like a real word when you try to say out loud. Any three or four syllable term will do a long as it easily rolls off the tongue. If you are at a loss for words, try writing a description of your product or service on paper.
This is a very easy way to come up with those little words that you can use without losing the meaning of what you’re trying to say. You can also use a dictionary and a thesaurus to come up with additional words. You can also choose a longer word but shorten it or use acronyms only. When you decide on a domain name, say it out loud a few times. If it doesn’t sound right, go back to the dictionary and try again.
Think long term
You want a domain name that will last a very long time. If you pick a name that is a slang term or too cutesy, you could find yourself looking for a new name in a year or two. This is not the best way to proceed. Once you build a certain level of online success, the traffic will follow the domain name. You don’t want to mess with your brand and your online reputation with redirects and ‘we have moved’ notices. Online customer will buy, but only if your site makes it convenient for them to do so. If you don’t see yourself using the same domain name three to four years from now, get a new name before you set up your website.
Do a trademark search. If you build up your online business and domain name, you don’t want to find a court order ordering you to give it up because it belongs to another company. Remember, the traffic and therefore your sales will follow the domain name to the new company.
To do a quick trademark search go to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (http://www.uspto.gov) for domestic searches and the International Trademark Association (http://www.inta.org) for international searches. If your name is cleared, then consider getting a trademark to protect your business.
Tag lines are the work horses of the marketing industry. An interesting, professional tag line can bring you more word of mouth advertising than you can ever buy from a search engine company. It will bring your name into random conversations in newsgroups, newsletters and casual conversations. This can help you save money on paid advertising and create the ultimate viral marketing campaign without very little effort.
Keep these six tips handy to brand your domain name and bring in more site traffic.
About the Author
Syd Johnson, Editor, Rapid Lingo