To sell your crafts online, you'll need to put some thought into choosing the right domain name. These tips will help you to make smart choices for your website.
Registering your domain name is a simple and inexpensive step in establishing your online presence. You should find that you're able to register your domain for no more than about $10.00 per year.
1. Consider Using Hyphens
It's very likely that, due to the limited availability of single word urls, you will have two or more words in your domain name. For that reason, you may consider using hyphens to separate the words in your domain name. Hyphens have the advantage of making each separate word more clear. The down side of using hyphens is that they often make your url more difficult remember, say and type.
When you register your domain name, you'll need to consider whether you think most of your customers will access your site through search engines or through offline promotional materials. Hyphenated urls are typically fine if most of your customers will come from search engines and other online links, but you may want to consider avoiding hyphens if you plan to heavily promote your site offline, and people will be typing your url into the address bar of their browser to reach your site.
2. Register Variations of Your URL
Consider registering variations of your domain name. For example, if your url is yourcompanyname.com, you may also want to register the urls yourcompanyname.net and yourcompanyname.org. You can point these additional urls to your home page, and prevent competitors from registering a domain that is very similar to your own.
3. Look Closely
Look closely before you register your domain name, particularly if you are using two or more words together. If you don't use hyphens, your words will run together in the url, and sometimes that can cause unfortunate changes to the perceived meaning of the words. Ensure the words work together and don't form any unfortunate new meanings.
4. Consider Extensions
Clearly .com is the extension of choice; however, it can be a big challenge to get a good .com domain name that is not long and convoluted. You may want to consider using .net or .org or, if your business has a local focus you may consider the extension that corresponds with your country, such as .ca for Canada.
One caveat, when you sell your crafts online, your company can reach customers all over the world. If your company does not have a local focus, you may want to avoid country specific urls. Those extensions can indicate to many people that the products and information on a site are focused on that specific country, so you could severely limit your site's appeal to people in other countries if you choose a country specific url.
5. Register Early
Even if you don't intend to sell your crafts online any time in the near future, you would still be smart to register your domain name as soon as possible.
As of January 2007 there were over 106 million websites reported, and by July 2007, there were over 125 million registered websites (Update: In November 2009 there were over 233 million registered sites, and in August 2011 there were 464 million) (Netcraft Web Server Survey). So, it's pretty clear that domain names are going fast. If you've found a great domain name that suits your company and is available, if you don't register it right away, you risk losing it to someone else.
6. Choosing the Right Domain Name Registrar
There are plenty of companies out there that will register domain names for you. I have used www.GoDaddy.com and have been happy with the company. As of this writing, they are the largest domain name registrar, and they have provided me with reliable and understandable customer service, even when the business of selling crafts online was completely new to me.