Small Business Domains

It drives me crazy to see how small businesses advertise themselves.

Consider that you run John Doe Construction. You might get as a domain. But instead, people are registering terrible domains, like Shorter is better in some things, but this is really not one of them. “John Doe Construction dot com” is easy to remember, and if I know you’re John Doe Construction, I don’t even have to remember it, I just have to type it in and throw “.com” on the end.

But random abbreviations get really confusing. j-d for “John Doe” is already a bit confusing, unless your logo happens to be “JD” or something. Your domain name should be the name you use, not some abbreviation you dreamed up when creating a domain. The dash doesn’t help things, and the inconsistent use of dashes is even worse. (“” would at least be consistent.) Abbreviating “construction” is bad too, especially since there’s no official abbreviation. Is it “cons” or “con” or “const” or what?

And you should really, really get a .com for your business, because everyone assumes a domain, especially a .com, is what you want. Using anything else makes it a bit too likely that people will never find your site.

Oh, and why do you have an address for your business’s email? You should have it at your domain, even if it’s just a forwarder. Plus, why is it on the side of your van? I can’t imagine a single person has ever emailed a business after seeing their email on the side of a van.

I think there’s a very big market in setting up websites for small businesses. Get them a domain, host a site, and follow best practices to get it ranked well for their name, especially locally. And coach them on these things, and how to make effective use of their website as a marketing tool.

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