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Why Your Website URL Matters

By Amy Beth Miller for America's Backbone Weekly

Choosing the right website address for your small business is almost as important as choosing the right name. If customers can't easily find you online — for example, if your site name is hard to remember or spell — they may quit looking and take their business elsewhere. Whether you are building or revamping a website for your small business, this advice will help you register a winning site name:

Do:

  • Be creative. Think beyond the exact name of your business. Your address could describe what your business does or carve out new territory in the lingo. Simple and memorable can be a winning formula. Think Google, Pinterest or Yahoo!
  • Be brief. Web design and online marketing firm Fuze recommends limiting your name to two or three words (tops!) and no more than 15 characters.
  • Ask for recommendations. Companies that register domain names may be able to suggest available alternatives, if the name you want is already taken. Collaboration will give you more ideas to consider.
  • Tap technology for ideas. Sites such as Bust a Name and Panabee will suggest URLs based on words you input, improving the efficiency and productivity of your efforts to generate ideas. Search for "domain name generator tool" for more.
  • Use what works. Although other options exist for top-level domains, such as .biz, most U.S. customers still default to using .com at the end of their URL. However, if you can't find a name you want with .com, other options have recently become available. For example, if your expertise is the core of the business, you might want to buy a name that evokes that expertise with a .guru extension.
  • Buy more than one. Online, keywords are like locations in real estate, and you want to own all the best, says small business marketing advisor Ivana Taylor. Register domains based on the keywords for which your target customers will search. If you sell widgets, for example, you might want www.qualitywidgets.com, www.affordablewidgets.com and more to ensure anyone searching for those words finds your business. Adding a location--such as a city, state or region-- is another great way to customize a domain name.



Don't:

  • Allow any room for confusion. For example, if you include a number in the URL, when people hear it spoken they will wonder whether to use the digit or type out the word. Someone could interpret "2" as two, to or too. Leave no doubt about any element of your name.
  • Include hyphens. Fuze warns they can damage your standing in search engine results, cause confusion with similar site names, and be perceived as indicators of low-quality sites.
  • Give up if the URL you want is already taken. You may be able to buy it from the current owner or take it over if that business allows its registration to expire.

Finally, plan to put your ideas to the human test. Ask people what they think of when you say a sample Web address and have them try to type it. You'll discover whether the name creates the right impression for your small business, is easy to remember, and is foolproof to use.

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Amy Beth Miller is a writer and editor helping people succeed in business for more thana decade. She has written news articles, features, blogs, newsletters,e-letters white papers and training manuals.
Related Keywords:Sales & Marketing,Internet,Web Design,Search,Search Engines,Web design,USA,Internet Technology,Business,Other,

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