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Having the right domain name can make a big difference when it comes to attracting new customers. Anne A. Ward, O’Reilly author of The SEO Battlefield and CEO of CircleClick Media, said punctuation, top level domains, and even spellings can impact the ease of getting found online. Before you run out and purchase your URL, Ward suggests to first strategize about your brand messaging and online presence.

Do Your Research

Your new business name or product may be available as a domain name, but Ward said owners still need to do a bit of research before clicking the purchase button.

Spelling Matters

How many times have you misspelled a business or product name and ended up rerouting to some random site? Owners need to assume this is going to happen and figure out whether or not their domain name could have potential misspellings, abbreviations, or mispronunciations and purchase additional domains accordingly.

Ward also said to avoid dashes, other punctuation, or special characters in your domain to reduce spelling errors.

Regardless of the spelling, more often than not, your favorite domain choices won’t be available as a “.com.” That’s why people are turning to alternative top level domain (TLD) extensions.

.COM Isn’t for Everyone

With top level domains (TLDs) the ability to personalize brands and distinguish themselves from the black hole of the .com world can make it easier for a customer to find your business. Individuals to startups are looking to .ME, .IO and other TLDs to break out from the standard.

What Is That Again?

Ward said a sign of a poor domain is one that is difficult to communicate verbally. If your domain name gets too complicated to pronounce it’ll be harder for customers to find you online.

For example, About.Me or Join.Me are used both as names of the services and domains and are easy to understand when spoken. Ward also cautions about keyword stuffing, as too many words could bring more complexity to the domain name.

Also Remember…

Ward offers some additional tips when purchasing a domain name.

  • Domain names should be easy to type – even on a phone.
  • Domain names, like your brand, should be easy to remember.
  • Don’t host your site with spammy or insecure hosts.

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