Picking the right domain name for your company website can be a fun process, but it isn't always as easy as you would think. These days it is almost impossible to find a .COM domain name that isn't already registered (with over 89 million already taken). Due to the limited selection, some Web 2.0 companies have turned to using domain names that are typo's such as flickr and tumblr.com. Although these domain names are highly brandable, unless you have millions of dollars to put into marketing, you're better off purchasing a more descriptive domain name (see section below).

Your website is the face of your company and it is accessible to customers 24 hours a day. Any successful business in todays economy must have a strong online presence and be able to manage their online reputation in order to compete. Below are a few contributing factors that should come into play when picking the proper domain name:

Domain Name Extension

To keep things simple, there are basically two types of domain name extensions that you should know about -
TLD (top level domains) and ccTLD (country code top level domains).

TLD's are globally visible and are used when targeting a global audience. The most popular TLD extensions are .COM, .ORG, .NET, .ME and the more recent game changer .CO* - 5 Reasons To Buy A .CO

Whenever possible, always buy a domain name with a .com extension!

ccTLD's are generally two letter country codes such as .CA, .US, .FR (representing Canada, USA and France) and should be used when your customers are located in a specific country. ccTLD's are given a slightly higher ranking when searching google from the corresponding country. For example, if I am searching google from somewhere in Canada and I search for "remax", then remax.ca will appear in the results before remax.com.

*.CO is actually the country code for Columbia, however google is treating .CO as a TLD

Keyword Descriptive Domain Names

A domain name plays a big role in SEO (search engine optimization). In order to rank high in google, it helps to have descriptive product or business keywords in your domain name. You should always do keyword research in order to find out what terms have the highest EXACT monthly searches in your industry. By knowing what keywords that your customers are searching for, you should be able to purchase a domain name that will assist in driving in traffic. Not to mention, a well thought out domain name can also help if you decide to run any PPC (pay per click) advertising campaigns.

Short & Memorable

The shorter your domain name is, the easier it will be to remember. The user will also have less of a chance of making a spelling mistake if your domain name is shorter and contains less characters.

Things To Avoid

  • Copywrite Infringement
    You never want to be infringing on another companies copywrite. If your domain name is infringing on a copywrite and gets noticed, you will lose the domain name and any money or time that you invested into the site.
  • Hyphens & Numbers
    It is often best to avoid domain names with hyphens and numbers. Although they can be good for bringing in traffic from search engines, they are horrible when trying to verbally tell a customer or friend about the website. Hyphens however are good for separating keywords and helping search engines distinguish what the keywords are. Eg) Expertsexchange.com could be read as "experts exchange" or "expert sex change".