Personal Small Business Enterprise

How to Choose the Right Domain Name

Choosing the right domain name for your company website isn’t always easy. By choosing its domain name, you forge its identity within the entire online world. Current and potential customers must be able to say it, spell it, remember it, search for it, associate it with your business and distinguish it from competitors. And you need to make sure it’s truly unique, for both legal and marketing reasons.

To help ensure you pick a great domain name, consider the following tips:

Evaluate the length – Keeping your domain name choice short is ideal because it’s easier to say, spell and remember. It’s also easier to fit on business cards and less likely to be mistyped into a browser or search engine. However, there is a delicate balance that you may need to strike between length and clarity, so be sure to keep that in mind.

Consider branding – If you select your company’s name as its domain name, it creates a strong branding correlation with your business. Every time your website address appears somewhere, that’s a direct marketing opportunity. It’s also easier for customers to remember and, thus, search for.

Integrate keywords if you can – Using one or two strong keywords in your domain name can boost its SEO value. Example: if you only operate in your local area, add it to your domain name. Hence will help your rank when people search those terms around the area of Saint John, New Brunswick. Or if you want to brand your business on both price and location, you could choose something like

Review your choice carefully – Before registering a domain name, always type it out in lowercase and look at it carefully. If not, your choice of could be misread as Also, say the domain name out loud to make sure it doesn’t sound like something negative or offensive in another language. (An app that translates your spoken words into other languages might help.)

Evaluate the pros and cons of using .ca vs. .com – Although there are numerous options for domain extensions, .com is used by over half (52 per cent) of all websites in the world. For that reason, experts say people tend to remember .com websites best. Many people also tend to type .com into browsers and search engines by habit when looking for stuff.

A .ca extension is better, however, if you want to give your business a strong Canadian identity. In a study by the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA), 92 per cent of Canadians say they recognize a .ca site as being Canadian. And 49 per cent prefer Canadian business sites to have a .ca extension. (Only 10 per cent prefer Canadian businesses to use .com.) So go with .ca if you only plan to do business in Canada and want strong Canadian branding. But if you do business outside this country (or plan to), .com may work better.

Be unique, and consider the legal implications of your choice – Picking a domain name that’s too similar to another could cause confusion in the marketplace. It could also cost you site traffic since people mistyping your domain name may end up at other similar ones. The same goes for simply choosing a different domain extension or adding a prefix like ‘the’ or ‘my’ to an already existing domain name. So be sure to weigh how much you really want that particular name against the potential for brand confusion and lost Web traffic.

It isn’t just a branding issue, though. It’s also a legal one. Sure, you can avoid duplication by doing a free search on or any reputable registrar’s site. But doing so doesn’t necessarily mean you’re off the hook. Even if a word or phrase isn’t registered as a domain name, it might already be copyrighted or trademarked for someone else’s company or product. So be sure to conduct a search on a site like Compumark, which crosschecks company names, brands, copyrights and trademarks registered in 250 countries.

The bottom line
Choosing the right domain name for your business can sometimes prove to be a challenging task – especially when you consider how important it is for current and potential customers to be able to say it, spell it, remember it, search for it, associate it with your business and distinguish it from competitors. So be sure to use the tips above to help guide you towards making the right choice.

What were the most important factors to you in choosing the domain name for your business? How has your choice affected your business? Share your thoughts in our comments area below.

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