Millions of Web sites mean fewer choices of domain names. Too often in their haste to get a site off the ground or simply out of relief that a domain name is available, business owners make the mistake of choosing a domain name that does not benefit their business. Here are 10 common mistakes.
- Being too close for comfort. Choosing a domain name that is close to that of another company may seem like a benefit, with spillover hits from people who are looking for the other site. In reality, this makes your business appear to be a “knock off” of the original. It can also lead to legal hassles.
- Settling for obscurity. If you want to use a specific name, but it is taken in both .com and .net addresses, then chose another name. Commercial businesses that choose, or settle for, other suffices are easily forgotten. For information on choosing the most appropriate domain name for your company, check out What Are the Best Domain Names to Own.
- Not making it easy to say. Some company names are actually their domain names, like Buy.com. While this does not have to be the case in your situation, you need a name that is easy for people to remember and relay to friends and co-workers.
- Making it too long. Keep it short (one or two words) otherwise people misspell or forget the domain name.
- Paying too much money to be generic. The philosophy that someone looking for a book or an auction site will first try book.com or auction.com is now obsolete, thanks to places like Amazon.com and ebay and because generic Web sites were snapped up years ago. While it is not necessarily “a mistake,” it is not always advantageous to spend a fortune to get a generic domain name when you can use that money for marketing and branding to identify yourself as a distinct business with a catchy name.
- Odd spelling. Odd spellings can spell disaster. Companies such as MovieFone thrive while using their unique spelling. However, along with moviefone.com, they also own the domain name moviephone.com. If you can’t also register all similar spellings then do not use an odd spelling.
- Trying to fit a domain name to a business. When starting a business, too many people say, “I’ll worry about the domain name later,” and then get stuck with a bad domain name because nothing close to their business name is available. While older companies simply had no choice, if you are starting a business, when choosing the business name, consider and research your domain name at the same time. That way you can include your domain name on all your collateral material right from the beginning. Check out Picking the Right Domain Name for Your Online Business for help choosing an appropriate domain name.
- Not doing thorough research. Besides the obvious, having to find a name that is available, many people do not research similar domain names to see what happens if people miss type a letter or use .com instead of .net. Many business owners have lost customers to competition while others have had complaints that a very similar domain name leads to an inappropriate site.
- Dashes. Domain names with dashes frustrate people. Many companies have learned this the hard way and as a result you do not see too many dashes anymore.
- Picking a name out of frustration. It is hard to find a good, unregistered domain name. If you settle for something that is easily forgettable, however, you are hurting yourself. Do not do it — keep thinking or buy the domain name from the holder.
For further information, check out the Domain Names articles in the AllBusiness.com Internet & E-Commerce Center. For domain name purchase agreements, check out the AllBusiness.com’s Forms & Agreements page.