On our social network development travels, we are occasionally tasked with helping our clients research and choose a domain name. This is a serious effort, as it will represent not only the website but the over-arching business brand as well. Below are some quick guidelines on how to start this process and our general rules of thumb.
Business & Domain Name Compatibility
When choosing a business name, with very few exceptions, it’s very important to make sure that you are picking a name that can be represented well as a domain as well, ideally a .com. It’s not like putting your name on a business card anymore. Most businesses now require a web presence, and easily locating that URL should be considered. An example would be our own business name, Pearse Street Consulting, Inc. Thankfully Dublin’s Pearse Street was still pretty underdeveloped when I took my first entrepreneurship plunge, so the domain www.pearsestreet.com was available. If it hadn’t been, I would have likely looked elsewhere for name inspiration.
Short and Sweet
The next challenge of course is finding a viable domain that is easy to remember, i.e., short and sweet. For example, www.pearsestreetconsultinginc.com is not what I would consider short and sweet, so you won’t find our website there. Finding catchy domains is easier said than done with dwindling free domains, and you may find better luck purchasing domains from sites like Afternic and BuyDomains, but expect to pay more than a few dollars for them. When recommending names, I try to go with two words or less, words that are not commonly misspelled and combinations that roll of the tongue easily.
Get Even Shorter with Extensions
It’s always a good idea to buy up the common extensions to your domain, including the .net, .org and if you are feeling ambitious, the .us and .biz. It ensures that someone else won’t snatch it up and try to sell it to you when you start making your millions. Another cool trend is to explore tiny URLs as secondary domains, utilizing international extensions. For example, we have pearse.st, which we haven’t done anything ingenious with yet (wait for it!). The .st is the Internet country code top-level domain for São Tomé and Príncipe. Go figure! A few things to consider here is that these domains are typically a little more expensive than regular .coms and .nets per year, they take longer to purchase and activate, and there is always a level of uncertainty with how reliable or stable the country of origin is, which is why it’s good policy to have his as a secondary versus primary domain.
Here are some helpful sites for your domain name search, and I’ll add to these as I come across more:
-Yahoo Small Business: Great site for researching available domain and related suggestions and purchasing domains in bulk at good prices
-Panabee.com: This is a fun site to find unusual names using word combinations
-Afternic.com: My go-to spot to find premium domains
-101domain.com: One of many sites that sell international extensions