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How to Choose the Right Domain Name for Your Company

As the editor of DomainNameWire.com, I'm frequently e-mailed by people asking for domain name advice. Specifically, what should they look for when registering a domain name for their company? This may be basic for some of you, but I hope some of my readers gain value from this.

Let me start with the things to avoid when registering a domain name that will be used for your main company web site.

1. Never use a hyphen. If your domain is some-name.com, many people will forget the hyphen when typing your name into the browser or sending e-mail to you. This can result in lost business.

2. Avoid digits if possible. Using digits requires you to spell the domain name out to people. For example2.com, you need to tell people it's the digit "2" rather than the word "two" or even "to".

Here are the positive things to look for in a domain name.

1. .Com extension. It's imperative that your domain name be available with a .com extension. I've seen businesses and major web sites try to get away with .net or .org, and perhaps half of their intended visitors land on someone else's web site. Or worse, confidential e-mails are sent to the wrong domain.

2. Easy to spell. Keep in mind that your spelling might be better than most people!

3. Short. Try to keep it to 2 words, 3 maximum and 20 characters or fewer.

These are general guidelines applicable to your main company domain name. There are instances where hyphens, numbers, and non-.com domain extensions are fine for secondary sites and search engine-optimized sites. But your company's main domain should follow these general guidelines. Good luck!

Andrew Allemann is editor of Domain Name Wire, a news and opinions site for the domain name industry.

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