There have always been differing views on how important your domain name is to the success of your business online. For a large company whose brand it’s really crucial. Over the years numerous large corporations have spent millions of dollars to secure their preferred domain name. (Fund.com was bought for $9.99 million; see The 10 Most Expensive Domain Nameshttp://tinyurl.com/bpdua9).
In my experience working with local businesses, however, I’ve discovered that a domain name ranks very low on the list of what makes successful web marketing. The bottom line is: if your company provides a service and you are properly visible on the web when a searcher needs your service, your domain name isn’t that important. It certainly isn’t as important as good website design and content. And for SEO, as far as I can tell, a domain name is not very important to the search engines either. Certainly not as important as incoming links, good content, etc. (See http://tinyurl.com/c4germ).
But, it’s very important to protect your domain name. Case in point: clients of mine (a service business) have owned 2-3 versions of their company name + .com for a number of years. One of the few versions they hadn’t bought was recently registered by an e-tailer who began using it to sell products online. Since this seller did not have a phone number on their site, when unhappy customers (and there were a lot of them) tried to contact them, they couldn’t. So, they performed a search, found my clients’ website and called their office instead. Up to 30 calls from angry customers were coming in every day! This caused havoc in my client’s office as well as making it impossible for us to clearly analyze their web analytics, not to mention jeopardizing their company reputation. At the end, my client was forced to buy the domain name from the e-talier for a lot more than it would have cost to register it at the beginning (raking up some thousands of dollars in legal fees, as well).
Registering a domain name is relatively inexpensive. Whether you use Go Daddy, Register.com, Network Solutions, or another company, my suggestion is to go on today and buy as many iterations of your domain name as you can afford. I just discovered that www.BeVisibleAssociates.com is available, but it wasn’t when I started my business. I bought it and some other variations, plus BetsyKent.com, as well, just to be safe (don’t stick to .com, either, as extensions will probably not mean much in the future).
So, is your domain name important? Yes!