Business Times of Edmond, Oklahoma March 2020 - Page 30
How to Pick Your Domain Name
domain name is an important part
of your online identity. While some
people will find you through Google,
many others will go directly to your website
by typing in the domain name. And more
likely than not, you’ll use it on any print
advertising, on your business cards, and it
will also be a part of your professional email
address. So how do you know which domain
name to pick?
What are you really buying?
Let’s start off with what a domain name
actually is. While I could go into all the
nerdy details of DNS records, IP addresses,
the relationship between ICANN, the
registry, and the registrar, I won’t. Instead,
let’s just look at what you’re buying when
you buy a domain name.
You may have wondered if it’s better to
get a .com, .net, .us, or one of the many
other options that have become available in
recent years. That part of your domain name
is known as the TLD — top level domain. If
you can get a .com, that’s great. But often
the .com domain name you really want is
So let’s say you finally find something
you’re happy with, or at least okay with.
When you purchase your domain, you
don’t actually own it forever. Instead, you’re
essentially leasing it for a set number of
years. Most domain name registrars give you
the options of anywhere from one to 10
years. Often they also give an option to have
it automatically renew, assuming your credit
card information is up to date when that
renewal date comes around. So what do you
do if the domain name you want is already
taken? And what should you even look for in
a domain name?
March 2020 | The Business Times
Guidelines for your domain name.
The good news is, if the domain name
you want is already taken, many registrars
will recommend alternative choices. When
evaluating those choices or coming up with
new ideas, there are a few things to keep
First, you don’t want a domain name
that’s too long. My rule of thumb is to try to
keep it 10 characters long — excluding the
TLD — or shorter. So example.com would
be seven characters long. The longer your
domain is, the more work people have to
do to pull up your website. And the more
likely they are to make a mistake.You may
still want to purchase your exact business
name to be sure nobody else gets it. But your
main domain name should be something 10
characters long or shorter.
Next, your domain name can’t contain
any special characters. If your business name
has an ampersand in it like ours does here
at T&S Online Marketing, you’re out of
luck. Domain names can actually only have
letters or a hyphen in them. While a page
on your website can have a longer address
that includes special characters, your domain
name is more limited. In fact, I typically
recommend people not even use hyphens
and just stick to letters. While some people
think hyphens are fine, some people view
them as unprofessional.
Third, be sure your domain name doesn’t
accidentally spell something you don’t intend
for it to. Domain names don’t have spaces
in them and are not caps sensitive. That
means regardless of how you type it in,
it’s really all lowercase.
One infamous example of this is the
domain name speedofart.com. While it was
intended to be Speed of Art, many took it to
be Speed o’ Fart. And there are much worse
examples than that.
Fourth, be sure to pick an appropriate
TLD. The .com domain is intended for for-
profit businesses, while .org is intended for
nonprofit organizations. And now there are
tons of TLDs to pick from. If you’re in the
film industry, you might consider .film. If
you’re a photographer, .pics could be a good
choice. An attorney can even get .attorney.
And not every registrar sells every TLD.
You may need to look up a list of TLDs
online to find one you like, then look up
which registrar actually sells it.
Finally, in an ideal world, your domain
name — excluding the TLD — would be the
same as your social media usernames. So if
you purchased example.com, yourFacebook
page would be at facebook.com/example,
your LinkedIn page would be at linkedin.
com/in/example, and your Instagram
account would be at instagram.com/
Of course, an experienced digital
marketer will help you navigate all these
factors and more. While your domain name
can be changed later, that comes with a
cost. It costs money to have print material
updated, and even your Google ranking will
most likely suffer. It’s best to pick well at the
TIM PRIEBE is an online marketer, a public
speaker, the author of several books and many
articles, a Christian, a painter, a Superman fan,
a Star Trek geek, a father to three boys, and a
husband to one wife. He has run T&S Online
Marketing since 2003, helping business and
nonprofits with their digital marketing. He can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 405-285-0348.
For more information visit tandsgo.com.