Last week we began our two part series on domain names, their importance in your corporate branding and compared it to choosing your firstborn child’s name. After all, naming a child should not be taken lightly because it carries a level of responsibility that can affect them for a lifetime. Let’s face it, kids can be mean. They know exactly where each others’ weak spots are.

Your domain name can be a weak spot of your corporate brand strategy and actually provoke an unfavorable response from your target audience. Consider what your domain name sounds like, how it can be misread or misinterpreted to cause an unfavorable reaction.

Your domain name should not be a sub domain which is what many of the free or inexpensive host providers offer. This type of domain will be longer, harder to spell or recognize and if you ever decide to terminate your hosting with that company, you would have to change your URL. As an example, a sub domain would look something like this: www.freehosting.com/yourname.html while a unique domain name would be www.yourname.com.

Once you have decided on a few names, you’ll need to research what is available. You can do this through any host provider. For example, using a site such as hostmonster.com will allow you to type in the domain name of your choice and they will immediately tell you if that domain name is available. Many host providers will register the domain name for you whan you set up your hosting account.

As we have discussed in previous articles, avoid registering your domain name with your web designer and be especially cautious of some host providers. Many times they will register your domain name in their name which means they are the legal owner of the domain. This could complicate a domain transfer or renewal, should they ever go out of business or you ever decide to change your web designer or host provider later down the road.

Keep in mind that domain names are not case sensitive so you can cap certain letters in your name if it may help someone to remember and more easily type without errors. Avoid using hyphens and numbers which make it harder to verbally communicate and even harder to remember and type. Most times people will forget where a hyphen goes or will forget to include it all together. The numeral “0” is often mistaken for the letter “O” so be very careful on what number and letter combination you choose or someone may misspell or mispronounce your domain name causing loss of sales and maybe even a little teasing.