What is the strategy on purchasing domain names? I usually use a trusted reseller of domain names such as GoDaddy.
Purchase your business name as a .com if possible. This is the be-all end-all rule of domain name shopping. If your business name is already taken, use the “whois” function (available at the site you’re purchasing domains from), contact the domain name owner, and see if it’s available. You can expect to pay between $500-$10,000.00 for the domain. If you’re a mid-size company or bigger you should purchase your .com name at all costs. Your competitor would just love to own your domain name if you don’t.
Purchase your keywords. If your company name is “Jack” and Jack produces “widgets”, widgets.com is your best next best option. It might not describe your whole business but your domain name is the absolute #1 factor when it comes to search engine optimization. In the end it might be more beneficial to have the domain name “widgets.com” over “jack.com” due to SEO.
If both your company name and your top product or service is unavailable, the next best option is a combination of the two. JacksWidgets.com is both “rememberable” and effective for SEO. If some combination of company name and keywords is not available, the next important factor is “rememberablity” (yes, I think I just made up that word. I should buy rememberablity.com 🙂 ) Think of it this way — if you’re driving on the highway going 60 mph past a banner advertisement, will you remember the domain name two or three minutes later? If your domain is not at least rememberable it will be utterly useless. This is where having a different domain suffix (rather then a .com) might be advantageous. We would suggest going .com, then .us, then any other suffix (called a TLD or top level domain) that might work, such as Jack.org.
One last tidbit on domain name purchases. You might consider purchasing your name and your children’s .com name. If you or your children end up in a professional field you’ll be happy you have access to the .com name. A highly technical friend had to settle for a .net name. The attorney that purchased his name (his son had the same name) offered to sell the domain name for his son’s college tuition — OUCH!
Defensive Domain Name Strategies
So you’ve landed that great domain name — now what? We would suggest you consider protecting your interest by purchasing all the domain suffixes. Going back to the example of Jack.com, it would be a good idea to purchase Jack.us, Jack.net, Jack.org, etc. because search engine logarithms change fairly often (sometimes weekly). And while .com tends to rule the SEO world, you don’t want to miss out should Google one day determine .us holds more weight. You also want to prevent a competitor from infringing on your traffic/customer base.
Another consideration is the hyphen. Very often hyphenated domains score just as good as regularly spelled domains. For example. JacksWidgets.com will probably rank #1 in Google under the search “Jacks Widgets” but there’s a good chance that Jacks-Widgets.com will be #2 on Google. It’s not that great of an idea to use a hyphenated domain as your main domain name because its harder to remember. It is a good idea to grab that domain to protect your entity.
Lastly, you might want to purchase the misspelled domain name that might leak traffic elsewhere. If you have two words in your domain name that end and begin with the same letter (for example ChicagoOvens.com), consider purchasing the misspelled domain name ChicagOvens.com, then have it direct to the correct domain name.