Choosing a Domain Name - Part 1
One of the first and most aggravating problems of developing a web site is choosing the right domain name. This is a tricky subject because there are many schools of thought with a lot of good points. Even choosing something as simple as whether or not your web site will end in .com, .net, .org, or anything else can be a difficult decision.
Most people might say that if you can get the .com, take it. However, some schools of thought will say that this is not always true. I will review several factors to consider when choosing a domain name and from there, you should have a basic understanding.
Insert Company Name Here
Although not as important as it once was, it is still a good idea to choose a domain name based on your company name rather than your product. For example, if you are called "Mike's Footwear" and you sell shoes, you might be tempted to snatch up "shoes.com".
However, your content will do the job of ranking you for shoes. It will be far more important that you can simply tell people that you meet to visit mikesfootwear.com than to try to associate www.shoes.com with your company name.
.Com, .Net, .Org - The Three Kings
Of course, most people are more familiar with .com than they are with .net or .org. However, there is generally no difference between the three. I once was told by an editor than you should always do research at sites that end in .org because they are the most reputable.
As I began to study more marketing and web site development, I found that this was not only untrue, but actually very stupid. Anyone can get a .org web site. While the average net searcher might make the same mistake and think that a .org must be a reputable organization, it really does not matter.
Hyphens and Plurals and Items, Oh My!
Long story short, avoid them all. The shorter your domain name, the better. You also don't want to lose customers to web sites whose only domain difference from yours is the letter "s". Looking at our above example, what if you wanted www.shoe.com but had to settle with www.shoes.com. There will probably be a great deal of people that full intended to order their footwear from your web site but instead went to the singular version, none the wiser. The same thing goes for articles like "the", "my", and "our".
Some web site visitors will forget to place the article at the beginning of the address and will be taken somewhere completely different. Imagine how confusing it would be if there were three major retailers called "Wal-Mart" "Walmart" and "Walmarts". You wouldn't want such minor differences in your offline store, why make the same mistake when choosing a domain name?