How to Build a Website: Part 1 – Picking a Domain

There are a ton of things that go in to building a website, and one of the most fun (or challenging) is picking a domain name. Before you go ahead and pull the trigger on the first thing that comes to mind, here are a few rules (or suggestions) to picking the perfect domain name for you and your business.

Your Business’s Name

If you can, first shoot for your business’s name (obviously… see “pairedinc.com”…). Most of the time, this is the right way to go.┬áNaturally people will assume your website is the name of your company, so make remembering how to find you online easy for them.

One of the exceptions to this first rule is if your the name of your business is something long…

Keep it Short (or as short as possible)

A few years back, we had a client want to use something to the effect of “CaribbeanVacationEscapesAndRentals.com.” Hopefully you see the issue with this — it starts with the fact that I had to add in the capital letters to make it readable. Secondly, there are just too many opportunities for the visitor to make a mistake when typing it in. In their defense, they did purchase “CVescapesAndRentals.com” for their email addresses, but it is only marginally better. We ended up settling on a considerably shorter domain name that was easier to remember for everyone.

Don’t Be Afraid of New Domain Extensions (i.e. “.co”, “.rent”)

As the internet gets older, (it’s 25 now!) we’re starting to run low on the number of “.com” domain names still available. (Here’s a full list of the available domain extensions: Click Here) So, the powers that be decided to release new domain extensions. This leaves an interesting opportunity for many business owners to have a unique domain name that differentiates itself from its competition. For instance, The District Church opted for “thedistrict.church” and a solar energy company, named Capture Energy, (with a soon-to-be-launched site) opted for “capture.energy”. Choosing a domain like this shows that you’re up-to-date on the latest internet trends and options and also allows you to meet our first two rules in a unique way – especially if the optimal “.com” is already taken.

Think About a “Vanity” URL

You probably have run into these but didn’t know they had a name – website addresses where the URL extension is part of the name. For instance, a recent startup, called The Fanchise (a fan-run arena football team), went with “www.fanchi.se” or Forbes uses it here:

And for that one guy who’s gonna call me out on it – yes, I know that’s their link-shortening URL/protocol. It’s just an example.

With the additional of the aforementioned new domain extensions, the line between a vanity URL and just a new extension is a bit blurred (i.e. TheDistrict.Church), but you can take it a bit farther if you look into options like The Fanchise (breaking it up mid-word — no longer taboo).

Whatever route you choose, make sure to weigh your options as your domain name is one that you’ll be stuck with for the long haul.

-JK

P.S. Be sure to check back next week on the next part of the series! Thanks!

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