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A Domain by Any Other Name

roseToday we look at some strategies for choosing that most essential of Web properties, your domain name.

A domain name says a lot about your business. It’s the very first interaction anyone has with your site, before they ever even load a page. It has to convey who you are, what you do, why you’re interesting, and perhaps where you’re located. There’s a lot of pressure on that poor little string of letters!

The first thing you have to decide is whether you’re looking for your brand to become immensely famous, or if it’s more important to be descriptive. What’s the difference?

Consider names like (shoes), (social gaming), and even (short messages). These were all branded to be unique and recognizable, and their names have nothing to do with what they are about.

On the other hand, there’s,, and Perhaps not as unique or arresting as the brands above, but you definitely get the sense of what to expect at these sites, and even where you would find the company geographically, in the case of that last domain.

Regardless of which strategy you choose, there are three basic things to keep in mind when choosing your domain name.

1. Keep It Short

No one wants to type in a long, complicated address to get to your site. Which of these sites are you more likely to type into your browser?


You also want to avoid having hyphens in your domain name. Think how tedious it would be to tell someone, “My Web site is at ‘this dash is dash my dash website dot com.'”

2. Make It Memorable

You want people to be able to remember your address just by telling it to them. (This ties in with point 1 above; the shorter your address, the easier it is to remember.) After all, it’s why we have domain names in the first place, instead of referring to our sites by the IP address of the server.

“My web site is at! …Or is it Wait… I have it written down somewhere…”

3. Be Descriptive

Again, this only applies if you aren’t looking to fulfill point 2 by being totally unexpected. If you’re not a great big brand that everyone’s heard of, and you don’t necessarily have aspirations to become one, it’s a good idea to give your visitors a clue as to what your site is about.

Many companies set their domain name to the name of their company (XYZ Loans —, but you might also choose to make the domain name about your service (

Next time: More fun with domain names!

Photo Credit: archer10 (Dennis) via Compfight cc


  1. Joe Syrowik on February 24, 2014 at 7:19 am

    Thanks for the information you provided on this topic. . . many people don’t realize how important it is to pick the right domain name. . . until they pick the wrong one.

    There has been an ongoing debate on whether or not one should pick a keyword name, or a brandable name. On one hand, I think it helps to have a keyword(s) in the name to help with SEO. However, I don’t think we should automatically reject names that are brandable. Of course, the brandable name shouldn’t be clever just for the sake of being clever.

    The best solution, I believe, is to create a domain name that has both qualities to it. This means it not only includes a primary keyword, but also reflects solid branding strategy.

    Thanks again for your post!


  2. Matt Weeden on February 24, 2014 at 9:32 am

    Joe, excellent point. Combining both strategy and keywords would be an ideal marriage!