Choosing An Ecommerce Domain Name: Three Crucial Things To Keep In Mind

Choosing the right domain name is crucial for the success of any online business, and something that I have blogged about here in the past as well.  What many people might not realize though is that the way a domain name sounds isn’t always how it looks when it is written down on paper or typed into a search bar, or that the importance and prevalence of social media have made choosing the right domain name a more lengthy process.

With that in mind, here are some additional rules to follow for choosing the right domain name for your ecommerce business, and some examples of what can happen if you ignore them.

Many ecommerce store owners miss the mark when it comes to choosing the right domain name.

Check The Social Media Availability Of Your Domain Name

We all know that it is important to make sure that the domain name and the extension that you want is available. But even if both of these are available, that doesn’t meant that you should immediately click the “buy” button. These days, social media presence availability counts too.

Many people know that Netflix announced this week that it is splitting its services into two separate offerings. Netflix’s new service, Qwikster, will offer DVD, BluRay and video game rentals by mail.  Netflix will offer online streaming only. Customers who choose both services will see two separate charges on their billing statement.  One thing that Netflix apparently didn’t think to do, though, is to check and see if their new domain name’s corresponding Twitter user name was available.

As various news outlets have reported, the Qwikster handle is currently owned by Jason Castillo, who tweets mainly about smoking marijuana, girls, and complains about his dad not giving him money for food.  In the past few days, Jason has seen a huge increase in his Twitter followers and has also had offers from various sources to purchase his Twitter handle from him, even though the selling of Twitter handles violates Twitter’s terms of service.

Tweet from Qwikster (Jason Castilo) Screenshot courtesy of TechCrunch.

While some have speculated that the Jason Castillo personality is part of a publicity stunt orchestrated by Netflix in order to generate publicity for their new service, others aren’t so sure. I’m not either, because even if this is a publicity stunt, it still seems to be generating more negative publicity than positive.

Either way, Netflix probably has the resources and capital necessary to weather the crisis and may even, as some have suggested, decide to keep Castillo around as their official Qwikster mascot.

Since the average ecommerce business owner doesn’t have the same resources or capital, it makes sense to make sure that your Twitter handle and Facebook fan page name of choice aren’t already in use by someone else before you commit to a domain name.

Keep It Simple

Since my cubicle here at work is close to the Sales department, I have the unique opportunity to listen to sales calls throughout the day, and many of these calls involve new store owners trying to choose a domain name.  Listening to these calls has taught me that when it comes to domain names, the simplest name is usually the best.

For a domain name to be successful, it has to be easy to spell and easy to remember. That’s why a domain like may be available (it is, as of the date of this blog post) but isn’t a good choice, even if it happens to be the name of your business or product.  Would you want to have to type that long domain name out whenever you wanted to visit a website? Or worry about whether or not you were supposed to drop one of the t’s at the end of the word “secret” or the beginning of the word “to.” Me either.

The right domain name fits in perfectly with the mission and brand of your ecommerce store.

Keeping it simple also means opting for name or brand recognition over the exact name of your business when it makes sense to do so.  Let’s say that I want to sell books and DVD’s titled “The Number One Secret To Making Money Online” via my ecommerce site. I’d probably choose something short and easy to remember (and spell) like (not actually my domain name of course)  and since that is already taken, I might decide to get really creative and come up with something different, or ask for some professional advice.

Lastly, If I decided that my business name should also be my domain name, I wouldn’t want to use my name unless I had an established online presence. Unless you’re known for your best-selling novels, ( home decorating and lifestyle tips, ( or art work ( using your own name as your business name isn’t recommended.

Watch Out For Unintentional Spellings

There are many, many lists on the Internet of domain name spellings gone wrong. is one, and they have since changed their name to (type in and you’ll be redirected) as a result of all of the negative publicity that their original name generated.  While domain names with unintentional spelling may be funny, they are also potential public relations disasters for the businesses associated with them.

Watch out for unintentional spellings in your url.

Even if your chosen domain name doesn’t result in an embarrassing misspelling, it could turn into a misspelling that is memorable enough to overshadow your actual name.  Case in point: a friend of mine (I’ll keep them anonymous for the purposes of this blog post) once owned a site called which my writer brain immediately translated as “bath tub snow.” Soon, my friend was calling it “bath tub snow” too.

While an unintentional misspelling like this one may make your domain name easy to remember, there is also the possibility that people will start using the misspelled name instead of the real name to refer to your business, negating some of the hard work that you have put into branding and marketing your site.

Have any more great domain name selection tips? If so, please leave a comment and share them.