Click to Print

The Domain Game

Your domain name is what? Here's how to get a name they'll remember.
January 1, 2001
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/35772

It's a sad, sad thing when homebased business owners have domains like www.aol.com/members/~myhomebiz0912.html and e-mail addresses like myhomebiz6417@juno.com.

Such tortured addresses are hard to say and hard to remember, and show that you rank your online presence somewhere between emptying the trash and watching reruns of Seinfeld. Take it from Debbie Williams, owner of OrganizedU.com, a online resource center for professional organizers and people who want to get organized, in Houston. When she was interviewed for a local radio show, she fielded questions like a pro. But when it came time to read her former URL on the air, "I rattled off a loooong URL, and the deejay promptly told me off the air that we couldn't do that again!" Williams recalls. "What began as a wonderful marketing opportunity turned into a fiasco because I couldn't tell listeners how to find me and buy my products and services."

Now that you've been duly warned, here are some tips for finding and registering a domain name that works:

If even those are taken, you can register your name in one of the more than 100 non-U.S. top level domains (TLDs) like .cc and .nu. The drawback is that these don't have the recognition of .com-and your prospects will automatically slap on a .com if your domain name hasn't imprinted itself on their noggins. The results can be hilarious: Let me just say whitehouse.com does not lead to the Web site of our president's new digs. If you're older than 18, check it out and imagine a customer stumbling upon that site instead of yours.

So you finally found a name that's descriptive, memorable and, most important, available. Now get over there and register it before someone else does! C'mon, move it! Go, go, go!


Linda Formichelli has written for more than 70 magazines, including Entrepreneur's StartUps, Redbook, Woman's Day and Psychology Today. You can visit her online at www.twowriters.net. She also runs a site that's against intrusive advertising at www.badads.org.