The sad fact of the matter is that people just aren't going to have your company name etched into their memories as deeply as you do. So 'www.jwaltersonandsons.com' risks getting lost in the big churning soup that is most people's daily thoughts.
Make your web address a clear indicator of what you do, though, and the benefits are two-fold. One, something more along the lines of 'www.sussex-plumbers.com' is just plain easier to recall. Two, it'll do wonders for your findability on Google, Yahoo et al. If someone types in 'Sussex plumbers', you typically get a much better ranking than a competitor because your address matches the search terms so precisely.
You might not want to limit yourself geographically, of course, or you might not be in an industry that lends itself to these kind of roll-off-the-tongue addresses. In which case, look at a site like Memorable Domains for inspiration and to buy an address that fits, or Make Words that will actually generate suggestions based on keywords you type in and show you where you can buy the results.
You don't have to limit yourself to .com, .co.uk or .biz. They're expensive and, frankly, a tads on the boring side.
There are two main ways to help you spice things up. Registering your website in another country can give you weird and wonderful two-letter endings that you can creatively incorporate into your web address. twittertim.es, for example, was registered in Spain (.es), while www.DesignM.ag bought a domain held in Antigua and Barbuda (.ag).
Entrepreneur Matt McNeill clicked onto this idea by registering his newsletter website as www.sign-up.to (.to being Tonga, natch). "The nice thing is that when you tell someone that domain name, they tend to remember that because it's that little bit different. It helped us build a good brand around it," he explains. "And it was an opportunity for us to say, 'We're not just another dot com, we're a .to. We're different.' "
Find out more about how to do the country-letters thing here.
This area is really opening up online, and more and more interesting endings are becoming available. Which leads us to the second (slightly simpler) way to exploit the trend. Check out sites like www.new.net that offer endings such as .shop, .auction and .tech.
This is the golden rule that should underpin every possibility you look into. There's no point having a fantastically creative web address if a potential customer has no idea how to spell it. It just won't stick in their head. The simplest, shortest words are always best.
Avoid making your address overly long. Use hyphens to break up a long sentence if you need to ('www.low-price-alloy-wheels-in-Stevenage.com'), but if you do, try registering the same address but without hyphens too in case someone types it in that way ('www.lowpricealloywheelsinstevenage.com'), so you're covering all bases.
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