Back in my college days, there were half a dozen free web hosting sites floating around on the internet. Geocities, Tripod, Angelfire, and the list goes on and on and on. They still exist, though they’re not nearly so prevalent. One of the most common is Weebly, and though it’s a good site for allowing you to express your personal self through a cookie-cutter interface, it lacks one certain professional element that so many people tend to overlook, a dedicated domain name. Yes, you get one in a way. .weebly.com is their default with a $40 ability to drop the weebly.com if it’s available. But is that name really that important?
In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare writes, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” But would it give us the same impression? When we hear the word “rose”, we have a definite picture in our head, an expected sight and smell and even feel if we‘re talking about the thorns attached to it. But if one were to decide to change the name of the flower one day to “Bob”, we wouldn’t know what to expect. What kind of flower is a Bob? Does it smell good? Can you eat it? We simply do not know. And if this person instead were to create a website to sell roses and named it instead www.jimsbobs.com, would we click on the link or completely discount it as some random piece of spam?
Likely the second. Names give us a definition of what to expect. In the example of the free websites, that added geocities.com or weebly.com gives us an indication of something. It reminds us that this website has been created and is maintained through a free site. Now, I’m the last person to scoff at free for me, but when it comes to a company that I want to purchase an item from, I want a real storefront website that I know has been paid for and is trusted to stick around for at least the year it’s paid its rent for. The same as a mortar and brick store being more trusted than the cardboard box on a street corner, free vs. paid has that connotation to a lot of consumers.
Now that we’ve decided that a dedicated name is important, how should you go about naming your website? Most SEO experts agree that your domain name should be as close to your company name as possible. How many people have had the experience that I have? I want to find a certain company, we’ll use Jim’s Roses (he decided to call it that again) as an example. However, when I type www.jimsroses.com, I get a 404 or a completely different company altogether. Jim decided on the domain name instead www.jimsgarden.com instead. True, Jim sells other plants, but his store front in town is Jim’s Roses. Very few people would end up choosing the same domain as he did to represent himself.
Also, length of name is important, www.jimsdiscountrosesandotherplants.com is entirely too wordy for the average customer to remember off the top of his head. It’s always best just to keep thinks short and simple!
Now, for the sake of argument, I did a search to see if www.jimsroses.com was available, and it was. Should he register this domain name? Absolutely! This domain name is simple, concise, easy to remember, easy to maximize SEO and most importantly, available. Domain names are registered usually on a yearly basis, though. After the year is up, the domain name becomes the registrar’s property, which he may sell to the highest bidder. In order to keep his professional internet real estate, Jim should renew his registration at least 2 weeks before that year is up.
So armed with his professionally named internet store front and a masterfully designed site, Jim is ready to turn the small investment of a registered domain name into profit.