7 Domain Name Mistakes That Make You Look Dumb

A domain name is the face of your online business. It’s what people will remember you by.

If you choose the wrong domain name, it can be difficult to change and re-brand your business. Putting in a lot of thought and research before you make the decision will help to cut away any doubt you may have.

In this article, I cover the seven most common domain name mistakes that will make you look dumb. By committing any of these domain name mistakes you will make your brand and site less memorable. And now, we don’t want that, especially in a world where we’re battling for attention, and every letter counts.

Take some time to dive into the list below and save yourself the pain and embarrassment.

1. Having too many characters in your domain name

There is such a thing as having too long of a domain name. When your domain name has an inordinate amount of characters, it will be that much harder for your current and new customers to remember it. I’m sure you’ve had a time in your life when you sat with your browser window open, struggling to try and remember a domain name.

You don’t want this to be your customers.

The simpler your domain name, the easier it will stay in  your customer’s head. The last thing you’d want to happen is a potential client to give up on finding your services, simply because they couldn’t remember the correct number of letters to get to your site.

When in doubt go the shorter route. For instance, the domain name ‘thebestpersonaldefenselawyerinthelosangelesarea.com’ is too long, you wouldn’t expect anyone to remember that. It would be more effective to have the domain “curtislaw.com” or “lalawyer.com”. Of course, a lot of the shorter domain names will be taken, so use some creativity when trying to find the perfect domain name.

2. Having a business name that differs from your domain name

Having a conflict between your domain and business name can be incredibly confusing for a visitor that lands on your website. You want everything to be as cohesive as possible. That means your branding, your content and your message should all support each other. You wouldn’t want them to click the back button, because of the domain name confusion.

When brainstorming a domain name make sure you do a domain search to check its availability, before moving forward. This will save you a lot of hassle later on.

Lastly, it can be very tempting to keyword stuff your domain name. Although, it won’t hurt to add more than one, make sure not to add so many keywords that it detracts from your brand.

3. Using the wrong type of domain extension for your business’s needs

When choosing a domain extension, for example .net, .com, and .org. it might make sense to move forward with your second or third choice extension if the .com isn’t available. The domain extension you choose can either help or detract from the authority of your business.

The .net extension is continuing to gain more acceptance within the business world, however the .com still conveys the most authority. However, if you’re running a non-profit organization then a .org might be your best option. Whatever extension you end up choosing, just be aware of what it communicates about your business.

4. Using words that are difficult to remember

You don’t want to choose a domain name that has words that are difficult to remember or spell. This goes hand-in-hand with choosing a domain name that is too long. It simply increases the likelihood that someone won’t be able to remember your domain name, and thus you’ll lose out on a potential customer or valuable website traffic.

For instance, if you use words that have silent letters you’ll risk a visitor not knowing whether to include the letter or not. You’ll also want to make sure you don’t use commonly misspelled words in your domain. If people are likely to misspell the word in their daily lives, there’s a good chance they’ll spell the word wrong when entering your domain as well.

Whenever you can, try to keep the words as simple, powerful, and descriptive as possible.

5. Choosing a name that resembles a competitor

You don’t want to launch your website and have traffic and new visitors coming by your website, only because they think that you are your competitor. Or even worse, having people trying to access your site, but instead visiting a competitor’s because the names are so similar.

There are a few ways to avoid this. For starters, do your research and google any related variations of your domain name and see if any competitors come up. If they do, you might want to consider changing your domain name.

When researching your competition for name similarities, make sure you look into any trademark restrictions as well. If you happen to infringe upon a trademark you could run into a whole host of issues, including having to change your domain name, which could be an even larger problem if your business has the same name.

In this case, you can never do too much research. It’s better to be overly certain than a little bit unsure.

6. Committing certain aesthetic fallacies

There are a few aesthetic no-no’s that top the list for what you want to watch out for when picking your domain. These mostly involve subtle changes that will make it difficult to remember or spell your domain name. For instance, having two consonants or vowels back-to-back can result in a lot of misspellings, as people might not remember to include both letters.

Another thing to watch out for is including too many trendy words. For example, you might think it’s cool to add a “z” to your domain name instead of an “s”, or use the lower-case “i” before your business name, reminiscent of Apple.

Changing common words into more trendy versions might seem like a smart move to make now. However, it might not make much sense a few years into the future. The last thing you want is to have to re-brand your site in a few years, because you didn’t have the foresight at the time.

Lastly, make sure not to include any hyphens if possible. A lot of times hyphens get left out when typing a URL in the address bar. When in doubt choose a name that has less stylistic elements. You want a domain that will stand the test of time.

7. Forgetting to look into any alternative or foreign meanings

Sometimes the words you choose will have an alternative meaning that you’re unaware of, or even have a meaning in a foreign language that’s entirely different from what you intended. Take your time to research every possible meaning of the words you’re choosing. You wouldn’t want to isolate or offend a portion of your customer base, simply out of ignorance.

A few Google searches will clear up any confusion that you may have surrounding the words you’ve chosen, for the future of your website.

Over to you

I hope this article has been helpful to you as you try to find your new domain name. Just make sure to avoid the domain name mistakes above, and you’ll be well on your way towards choosing a great domain name for your business. A powerful domain name can be a great marketing tool, and it’s well worth dedicating the time to ensure that your domain is as memorable as your business.

What other domain mistakes have you seen? Please let us know in the comments below.

P.S. Looking for some useful domain tools? Check out this article “8 Domain Tools You Can’t Live Without”.

Flickr photo: Leo Reynolds

5 PayPal Alternatives That You Need to Know About

Aren’t we all looking for smarter, cheaper and more flexible ways to get paid online? This is especially important if you are buying or have just bought an ecommerce website on Flippa.

And no, we’re not just talking about PayPal.

There are other payment processors out there, and you’ll want to keep an eye on them because they might offer more flexibility for you and your customers.

After all, it’s important to take stock of all the different ways a customer might want to pay you. Who knows, there might be another option that might give you a new insight on how to interact with your customers.

Let’s take a look at some of the widely used PayPal alternatives.

Amazon Payments

Amazon Payments, also called Amazon WebPay, is a common alternative to PayPal. Developed by e-commerce giant Amazon, the service enables its users to send and receive money without any set-up or monthly fees. Their  standard transactional rate is 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction.

Funding your account is simple and can be linked to your credit card or bank account. In having a system that exists free of charge, Amazon is hoping that you spend your money on other services they offer.

One of the downsides with Amazon Payments is that you can’t withdraw an amount smaller than $10. This probably won’t be a huge problem, but it’s something to be aware of.

Dwolla

Dwolla works across many business environments, ranging from online transactions to brick and mortar storefronts. The flexibility of payment options benefits users who need to accept credit cards and take payments across multiple environments.

Unfortunately, it does cost $0.25 to receive money. Although the fee is small and can benefit you if you usually process larger sums, it may be a turn-off for some users.

Google Wallet

Google Wallet is a versatile option offered through your Google Account. Think of it as a virtual wallet that allows you to spend money both online and even in some stores. Google has a wide array of great services and this one is no different.

This service has become fairly popular, because it’s fully supported by Google and is even integrated into Gmail. Most people also love the ability to store their money in one place and have the ability to spend it across multiple platforms, online and in person.

There are two downsides to this service. First, a small percentage fee is charged on each credit and debit card transaction. Second, there is also a few limitations on the places where Google Wallet is actually accepted. So far, it’s only available in the US. If Google continues to pour more energy into the resources, you can bet it will expand.

Stripe

Stripe is another popular PayPal alternative. It’s a useful service because it doesn’t require you to have a gateway or a merchant account. Indeed, they handle everything from storing cards and subscriptions to paying straight to your bank account.

There are no setup or monthly fees, and they only charge you when you earn money. Currently, that would be 2.9% + 30 cents per successful charge, but make sure to check the website for their latest fees.

Braintree

Braintree is a payment platform that makes it easy to accept payments in your mobile app or on your website.

The standard price is  2.4% and $.30 per transaction, but that includes unlimited access to their support. What’s good about Braintree is that there is no minimum transaction fee and just like Stripe, there is no monthly fee, either. You could also use it for recurring billing, which is useful if you’re running a membership site.

Unfortunately, it’s only available in the United States, Europe, Canada, and Australia, but they have plans on expanding to other countries soon.

The following services focus primarily on businesses with a storefront. They use mobile technologies to help businesses process payments.

Square

Square is one of the first companies to focus solely on mobile technology for payment processing.

Square gives you a free card-reader that plugs into your smartphone and allows you to accept payments. The setup is easy: you link your Square account to your bank account, and accept payments through the card reader. Receipts are generally emailed, thus saving you paper.

The only drawback to this service is the 2.75% fee charged per swipe.

Moblized

Moblized maintains a structure very similar to Square above, except they offer a different payment plan to their users. Basically, the company sends you a free card reader, and then you can begin to accept payments. There’s also no contracts involved, which can be extremely attractive to some users.

Their payment plans involve a 2.69% fee, plus $0.19 per swipe. Depending on the amount of transactions you’re processing this can be slightly higher than other services.

Over to You

You’ve now been introduced to a few PayPal alternatives. The market will continue to grow and new alternatives will appear. By staying up to date, you’ll be able to make sure you’re getting the best deal when processing payments, whether in person, or on the web.

For security reasons, Flippa only uses Escrow via Escrow.com and Paypal. We’ve worked hard to balance the needs of a global user base and tip top security.

Have you used any of the above services? Or do you know of any other useful PayPal alternatives? Please add your suggestions in the comments!

Photo courtesy of David Muir