Marketing for Machine Shops: Part 3 – Internet Domain Names

Posted by CNC Reporter on Feb 1st, 2011.

Domains

So often, shops have no company website. Moreover, their email address is from any number of generic sources; machineshopperson@att.net, anothershop@yahoo.com, i-need-a-website@hotmail.com. There’s really nothing wrong with having such an address, but using an email that includes your company’s name is much more professional.

In today’s information age, the necessity of having a company website cannot be ignored. The first step in getting a website is buying a domain name that tells the world where your website can be found. As the popularity of the internet grows exponentially, it’s important to get your company’s domain name registered as soon as possible, even if the thought of a company website is a distant idea. We’re not the only ones that think so. In fact, all three- and four-letter combinations of letters have already been purchased as website domain names by people known as cyber squatters. A cyber squatter’s sole purpose is to purchase domain names with the hopes of companies becoming desperate enough to buy the name for thousands of times more than what it originally cost. If cyber squatters have bought up every combination of names from aaaa.com to zzz.com then stressing the importance of simply owning a domain name for future use goes without saying.

Getting Practical

For now, let’s start simple and take the first step in acquiring your piece of internet real estate. Let’s cover some basic principles. Every pioneer looks for land first before they ever build. Don’t assume that you need to buy a domain name and have a company website up in the next week. There’s nothing wrong with buying a name and waiting until the right time to put a site on it. Even free or low cost basic websites with your contact info is acceptable while you plan for something more extensive.

Now it’s time to think about what your company’s domain name should be. Many of you will luck out and be able to register the exact name of your company with no problems. Others will have to be a little more creative since the domain name might be taken. Let’s start with a few guidelines on how to choose a name:

  • Try and keep your name as short as possible. There’s a reason Haas Automation uses www.haascnc.com as opposed to their full company name.
  • Try and avoid dashes (-) and underscores (_) in your name. If these characters are not communicated properly, you risk pointing a customer to the wrong company.
  • Always try and get the .com version and never the .org. A website ending in .org identifies you as a non-profit organization. Also, try and stay away from less popular website suffixes (technically known as a TLD) like .tv, .mobi, .us, .info, .biz. A .com suffix provides the strongest branding.
  • Be descriptive. If your company name is simply “Smith”, try for smithmfg.com or smithmachining.com. Your domain name will be more memorable and will help people find you more easily through a web search.
  • If you’re debating between two different names, buy both of them! You can always forward one name to another.

Now, once you’ve brainstormed and have a few domain name possibilities, see if they’re available. The fastest source for this is www.instantdomainsearch.com. As you type in domain names, you’ll instantly see if the .com, .net and .org names are available. From there you can visit any company that registers domain names (try www.1and1.com or www.godaddy.com) to purchase your name for less than $10 annually. Look for the terms “Search Domains” or “Register Domains” and they’ll walk you through the process.

Congratulations, you’ve now staked a claim in cyber space for your company’s future. You’re just a few simple steps away from setting up personalized email addresses and a basic info page. When the time comes to build a more detailed website, you’ll already have your perfect lakefront property to build on.

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