• Jennifer

My two cents on . . . domain names

Updated: Apr 8, 2019

Your choice of domain name is tricky. We all think every website should just be the business name followed by dot com. But there are a few challenges in selecting the right domain name:

- Most of the reasonable dot com sites are taken. We’re well into the third decade of the internet. There are a slew of alternative suffixes available, although of course they’re not woven into the fabric of our lives in the same way that dot com, dot edu, or dot org are. Perhaps you’ve noticed that this site ends in dot design? That’s another new-fangled website address suffix. You’ll want to be open-minded on this point.

- Spelling. The best site names are obviously connected to the business, are easy for people to hear and understand in conversation, and easy to spell. You don’t want strange spellings or pronunciations because that makes it harder for people to find you. There’s a fine line between being clever and being confusing. If you’re a seamstress named Suzie, don’t choose a domain name “So with Suzie” – you’ll have to explain the difference between “So” and “Sew” every time you tell someone your website address.

In a similar vein, don’t choose foreign words, or words commonly misspelled. Maybe you’re going to make a fortune selling pierogis or broccoli, but lots of people are going to struggle to type those correctly.

- Ideally, your website address is something you could mention to someone in an elevator and they have a decent chance of remembering it. Does it give a hint about what you do? Can they spell it? Can they remember it? A longer site name may increase the odds that it’s available, but you don’t want a three sentence paragraph as your website name.

You're trying to land in the center of a Venn diagram: spell-able, repeat-able, remember-

able, tells what you do, available for purchase, and, if you can swing it, clever without being too clever or cutesy. If it also lends itself to a good logo, all the better.

Domain names venn diagram and website design
Not the most useful graphic ever seen but I was determined to actually make a Venn diagram.

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