What’s in a name? More than you might think. The following are important considerations when choosing a domain name:
• WHOIS database listing. When you register a domain name, the registrar is required to submit your personal information such as name, address and phone number to the WHOIS database. The public can then check WHOIS listings. You can choose to leave your listing public, make it private or purchase a business listing. Public listings not only include your personal information but also your email address, the domain expiration date, the host name and website hosting IP address. Private listings can be purchased through a third party who then becomes your proxy. Anyone searching will see the third party’s information, not yours. The business listing can be used as an effective advertising tool. Your listing includes the same information as your public listing but is much snazzier. It also includes a description of your business and can include operating hours, a listing of products and services, and even special offers.
• Branding. When you’re considering what domain name to use, make sure your domain name and your brand name match. If they don’t, customers can easily become confused which puts you at risk for losing sales. Keep your domain name as short and sweet as possible. Don’t opt for a weird or unusual spelling because people will never be able to find your site. If the name you really want is missing, consider a shortened version of your brand name. Your best bet is to use a domain name with only one possible spelling.
• Extensions. While it’s tempting to use a .net extension to get a domain name that’s not available with a .com extension, don’t. You’re much better off choosing an alternate name and sticking with .com because people will almost always assume that’s what it is, anyway.
Keeping these things in mind will help ensure you choose a domain name that will for you as both a brand and a marketing tool.