Which domain name to choose
Looking for a good domain name? Everyone's heard of domains ending with .com, but did you know there are other choices available? These are the most common domains available:
But which domain is best?
The .com domains are the most common and are therefore the most limited in availability. There are other types available in case your preferred .com domain is already taken – for example, .net was originally reserved for internet-related companies only, but now anyone can buy one. It's probably the most prestigious after the popular .com domains, and it's a nice idea to buy both variations for your business (we own both whiteoakdesign.com and whiteoakdesign.net).
But just because you can buy alternatives doesn't mean you should! Think about this: If you started an online business called Tea Pots, Inc, selling collectible tea pots, you'd naturally want to own the domain teapots.com. But if you found it to be unavailable you might be tempted to opt for teapots.net instead. But supposing you chanced across a group of devoted tea pot collectors at a public function of some kind, and you mentioned that your web address is www.teapots.net. You might go home expecting lots of business over the next few days, but chances are, most of the group will go back home to their computers and type in "www.teapots.com" simply because they've forgotten the .net part and they're pretty sure that web addresses end with .com anyway.
You've just given a bunch of potential customers to your competitor, the one who owns teapots.com!
You'd be better off opting instead for an alternative domain name, such as collectibleteapots.com or teapotsgalore.com, if available. Just keep trying alternatives until you find something suitable.
Another thing to bear in mind: If someone already owns collectibleteapots.com then you don't want to own something too close, like collectibleteapot.com, because your potential customers might not remember whether your company name is a plural or not. Again, you could send business elsewhere by mistake! Better to find something unique, and then perhaps buy all the variations of it, such as:
Using dashes is a neat way to open up availability, and domains with two or more words are generally easier to read at a glance when they contain dashes. But again, bear in mind that if you have to say your web address to a client over the phone, it's much harder to get across. "Yes, you can visit my website at collectible dash tea dash pot dot com... What? Yeah, I said dash. Dash tea dash pots... No, it's not a word, it's a symbol... You know, a hyphen...?"
It's just plain awkward to get across.
Finally, a word on another good domain type: The international .org domain is mainly aimed at non-commercial organisations, such as charities or trade unions, but there are no real restrictions. So if you want it, buy it! But it might be better to leave these for their proper use, otherwise you could have customers assuming you're offering a free service when, in fact, you don't.