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How to find the best Internet address for your business

5-minute read

What’s in a name? Plenty, if you’re trying to attract customers on the Internet. A key piece of the digital marketing strategy puzzle is the choice of an effective domain name: The address or name assigned to a website (e.g. example.com).

A well-chosen domain address can boost an organization's website traffic and bottom line. But it can be challenging to choose and purchase the best name for your business needs.

  • Unless you have a widely recognized brand, such as Honda or McDonald’s, experts agree the most effective domain names are short, memorable and tell potential customers what your business does.
  • Avoid low-cost services that make your domain name an extension of their name. You need your own.
  • A good domain name contains keywords that will help your site rank higher in Internet search results.
  • If your company name doesn’t describe your business—John Citizen and Associates—it’s better to choose a domain name that does the job. An accounting firm, for example, might choose a name that includes words such as accountants, tax returns, tax filing etc.
  • Avoid symbols, odd spellings and numbers. These may confuse potential website visitors when they type your name into their browser or misdirect searches.

Domain names are stored in a central registry and the best names are often already owned. So your preferred choices may be taken and buying a desirable name from an existing owner may prove expensive.

Numerous brokerages and auction sites deal in domain name resale and the price is a matter for negotiation. Dot‑com names are the most popular with some being resold for millions of dollars.

As in any prospective negotiation, entrepreneurs should conduct research and plan their strategy before contacting the owner of a domain name. If the owner senses you are anxious to acquire a particular name the price will go up.

For smaller businesses, the best solution is often to search different name possibilities until you find one that is both acceptable and affordable. There are numerous search engines on the Internet that allow you to search the availability of names.

Which domain extension should you choose?

A domain name extension is the letter combination after the period. For example, dot‑com, dot‑ca, dot‑net and dot‑org (largely used by not‑for‑profit organizations).

  • Do .com is the most sought-after extension, but in making a choice, you should consider your audience, the nature of your business, the image you want to project, the availability of domains and your budget.
  • Many Canadian businesses opt for a dot‑ca extension because their business is conducted solely or mostly in Canada or they consider it acceptable or desirable to signify they’re a Canadian entity.
  • Companies often buy other prominent extensions to protect their chosen domain name from others potential users and maximize their exposure.

Registering your chosen name

To register a domain name requires an accredited registrar. The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) manages the .ca domain and maintains a list of accredited registrars.

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