If you are going to take your business identity online, whether in the form of setting up email accounts or developing a Web site, you will need to choose a domain name. If you make good use of your on-line presence, your domain name will become as important of an identifier of your business as the name of your business.

Most business owners usually think nameofmybusiness.com as the first option when choosing a domain name. In many instances this is probably the best decision, especially if you are able to register the domain spelled exactly as your business name. In some instances the domain may not be available. In other instances your business name might not translate to an easy-to-remember and easy-to-read domain name.

Once you choose a domain name, more than likely it will be with your business for a long time to come. It will be printed on business cards and other marketing materials, and may be listed in directories and phone books. It will become difficult to change your domain name if you are actively pushing an on-line presence. You will want to make sure you make the right choice.

Even if your domain name choice seems like a no-brainer, you should consider the following:

  • Your domain name does not necessarily have to be your business name. It could contain words that are related to the services you offer. Just as an example, let’s say your business name is Super Duper Propeller Hat Company of Fargo-Moorhead. One of the first options to come to your head for a domain name might be superduperpropellerhatcompany.com. That would make for some long e-mail addresses and people would probably spell it wrong often. A better domain name option, if available, might be prophats.com or prop-hats.com.
  • Will your domain name be easy to spell? Will potential clients and customers be able to spell it out just by hearing the domain name? Will you be able to convey your domain name over-the-phone or by talking to somebody without having to spell out each letter several times?
  • Is your domain name concise and to the point? Can you enunciate and pronounce your domain clearly? Will the process of typing your domain or trying to remember how to spell your domain frustrate and confuse potential customers and clients?

Once you have decided on a domain name, test it out by asking colleagues and friends for input on your choice. Your test audience might have a certain reaction to the name that will give you an idea of how clients will react to your domain. If you don’t consistently get confused responses to a domain name, you’ve probably got a winner!