The online business environment is constantly changing. In order for a website to remain successful it must be able to adapt as needed when these changes take place. A major component in determining a website's flexibility is its domain name.
A website's URL is the first opportunity to establish an online identity. Potential visitors can and will make assumptions based off the words and phrases used in the web address. If that identity is too vague, the site will have a hard time establishing focus and attracting targeted visitors. On the other hand, if the identity is too specific then there will be problems down the road if the owners decide they want to expand into other markets.
Let's use a nut company as an example. This particular company wants to start selling their cashews online. Through research they determine it's important to use targeted keywords in the domain so they settle on CashewsByMail.com. For their current needs, it's a good name because it describes their product and service perfectly.
The site goes online and experiences steady growth for the first year. Things are going as planned but suddenly the sales level off. Although successful, they have tapped out the cashew market and have reached the full potential of that particular online niche.
In order to expand their online business they decide to add other types of nuts to their product line including almonds, pecans and walnuts. They have a major problem though. They are limited by their current domain name because it no longer accurately describes their products and services.
For these other products to reach the same level of success as the cashews they will have to build a new site from the ground up. This time, they learn from their experience and register a more versatile generic domain name, NutsByMail.com. This identity will grant them much more flexibility now and in the future when they must adapt to growing demand or other outside influences.
The moral of the story is to think long-term when choosing the domain name for your business identity. Try to identify possible expansion paths and plan ahead by choosing a name with enough versatility to accommodate those additions while still being descriptive enough to attract targeted visitors to your website. Generic domain names are an effective way to accomplish this.
Author is Bill Eisenmann, creator of Available Domain Names, a site which provides lists of available domains for domain investors and web developers.
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