12 Things to Consider When Choosing a Domain Name for Your Business

What should you look for when choosing a business domain name?

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

1. Make Sure You Are Not Stepping on Anyone’s Toes

Doug BendInvest in a preliminary legal check to make sure the domain name is not likely to cause customer confusion which could result in trademark litigation. The last thing you want to do is spend time and money directing traffic to a domain only to have to change it because of legal concerns.

– Doug BendBend Law Group, PC

2. Make Sure It’s Unique

Thomas SmaleMost businesses will receive a lot of searches and inbound visits from people using the business name (or something close to it) in their favorite search engine. If you have a generic name with lots of other companies with a similar name, you are unlikely to stand out and it could cause confusion. People directly trying to search for your brand are often the best customers, so being found is key.

– Thomas SmaleFE International

3. Keep Credibility in Mind

Robert LeeWith an array of different TLDs (top level domains) available, it’s easy to get carried away when selecting a domain name. You want a new website visitor or potential customer to trust your brand, and a quick way to scare them off is by selecting an outlandish TLD. Keep it simple and use a .com whenever possible, and if necessary, use dashes (wine-club.com) or a “the” up front (thewineclub.com).

– Robert LeeCirca Interactive Inc

4. Choose a Domain Name That Markets What You Do

Angela RuthWhile many people first opted to select a domain name that was their company name, this doesn’t always tell others what it is that you do or how you are different. It also doesn’t provide any SEO opportunities like a domain name that uses unique keywords to describe and market how you are different and useful to your target audience.

– Angela RutheCash

5. Beware of Accidental Innuendos

jared-brownThere are a few times when you put words together that they form a completely new word between them. For example, think ofHills Winery turning into Hill Swinery for some people. There’s also the possibility that your business name actually means something in another language, even if you think you made it up. Do your homework and research how people respond before committing to a domain name.

– Jared BrownHubstaff

6. Consider What to Avoid

Corey NorthcuttWhat to look for may be obvious: short, snappy, and catchy. What to avoid is more important. If the name is spoken aloud, will someone spell it right? If you’re using a ccTLD, will this harm your search rankings? Check Google’s special exceptions for gccTLDs. Also, don’t overvalue keywords in domains. These can have a minor impact, but nothing like they once did.

– Corey NorthcuttNorthcutt Inbound Marketing

7. Don’t Get Too Fancy With It

Jeff JahnI know of a company who purchased a “.es” domain name because it completed the last two letters of their name. Unfortunately, customers always put .com and were unable to find them. Even worse, Google assumed that the company was catering to an audience in Spain, as the .ES domain is reserved for that country. Stick to a slightly longer .com instead of one that customers can easily get wrong.

– Jeff JahnDynamiX

8. Make Sure You Can Find Social Media Matches

Ajay GuptaMake sure that the name is not already taken as a business name in your county and/or state and make sure your social media handles can closely match it and aren’t already being used.

– Ajay Gupta, Stirista

9. Choose a Domain That Is Easy to Spell

Diana GoodwinMany times I see people making the mistake of choosing a business domain name that is too open for interpretation and is hard to spell. Try to pick a business domain name that the vast majority of people will know how to spell. This way, people will be able to easily find you online and they won’t get frustrated and give up as they try to find your company online.

– Diana GoodwinAquaMobile Swim School

10. Tie It to Your Brand Image

Cynthia JohnsonUse the domain name as a way to highlight your brand’s image, focusing on those keywords that describe your business or are memorable to your audience. With so much more that can be done with a domain name, it’s possible to even turn it into your company’s slogan.

– Cynthia JohnsonAmerican Addiction Centers

11. Consider a New Extension Option

Murray NewlandsThere are so many new TLDs now available to further customize your domain name, differentiate your company from the competition, and further optimize your domain name for search engines. Many companies have found these extensions as valuable marketing tool that also helps make the domain more memorable for the target audience.

– Murray NewlandsDue.com

12. Create Something Memorable

Adam SteeleAs an SEO expert, it’s always been my knee-jerk reaction to pick what’s called an exact match domain (EMD). In recent months/years, Google has given less stock to these types of domains, and in fact I’ve found them to be a little finicky. If it’s a business I intend to keep around for a while, I now default to something that people will remember — something that rolls off the tongue nicely.

– Adam SteeleThe Magistrate

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About Young Entrepreneur Council

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

  • Fern Fernie

    #11, coudldn’t be more wrong, stick to Dot Com or your Country Code (.es .ca etc etc Google does favor these extensions) Don’t fall for the new crappola/unknown gtlds ..
    and what do I see there? Murray is using a Dot Com (due.com) but of course… when was the last time you saw a TV AD with a new extension…? never all fortune 500 as well as MAdison Avenue know Dot Com is the gold standard.

    • http://www.smarthustle.com Ramon Ray

      Hey Fern, THANK YOU – I Hear ya! :)

  • Hugh Johnson

    Jeff Jahn should learn more before acting like he speaks the facts. While there is a sliver of truth in what he says, many successful companies have used domain hacks. Oh, and Jeff…that’s what they are called.

  • http://thehealthreverend.blogspot.com SANDRATERESA DAVENPORT

    why not use my name? i started out as livingwellministries/but write as thehealthreverend.blogspot.com. Now, i’m making a site, i want to use either i] livewelltoday or just my name, or would it be better to use thehealthreverend.com, then connect it to my blog? i know just enough about these things to be perfectly confused. in fact, that last .com name just entered my head this moment! thanks so much, anyone who responds!

  • http://www.rbcrca.com.sg/ www.rbcrca.com.sg

    I love #4 because it is a very simple and yet effective way to market even before a user sees your content.