The domain name plays a very important role in theestablishment of your business’s online brand identity.It’s important to consider how your domain name willbe interpreted not in print, but in speech. In print,there’s very little possibility for error because thedomain is spelled out. But when you’re trying to givesomeone your Web site address verbally — such aswhen you’re speaking with someone on the telephoneand don’t have the luxury of handing them your businesscard — there’s far too much room for interpretation.So before you register your domain name, keep the followingtips in mind.1.For businesses, a .com top-level domain (TLD) is amust. Even if you have a .biz, .net, or .org TLD, peoplewill always associate an e-mail or Web site address witha .com.2. If someone else has already registered your desired.com domain name, try to avoid settling for an equivalentdomain with a different TLD — for example, settlingfor acmeinc.net because someone else already registered acmeinc.com. When you verbally expressyour Web site or e-mail address to someone whodoesn’t happen to be sitting in front of a computer,they will most likely type acmeinc.com when they getback to their computer and get someone else. Whilethis might not be a big deal with Web sites, it maypose a problem with e-mail addresses—especially ifthe .com owner has an e-mail catchall address. Your emailwon’t reach your intended recipient and youwon’t even know it.3.An effective domain name requires little to no explanationwhen expressed verbally. Unless your branddepends on it, try to avoid:a. Using numbers because you’ll always have to followup by saying either “That’s the number ‘3’” or“That’s the word ‘three’ spelled out.”b. Substituting phonetic letters such as “magik”instead of “magic” because you’ll always have to followup by saying, “That’s ‘magik’ spelled with a ‘k’.”c. Out-of-context homophones. For example,“WriteOfWay.com” (right of way) because you’ll always have to follow up by saying, “That’s ‘write’ asin writing a letter.”d. Using acronyms to substitute a long businessname. For example, when spoken, “V’s” will soundlike “B’s”, “X’s” will sound like “S”, and so son. Plus,no one will remember a name like “aiwsdd.com”!4.Keep it short. For clarity, avoid using more than threeor four separate words. AcmeDesigns.com is OK, butAcmeIncWebSiteDesignAndDevelopment.com is toomuch.5.Try to avoid using hyphens because they can be awkwardto say aloud. If you must use a hyphen (see thenext point), use only one. Saying “MyCompanyhyphenNamedotcom” is fine, but saying“MyhyphenCompanyhyphenNamedotcom” is far toocumbersome.6.Be conscious of word arrangement. Sometimes, dueto an unfortunate arrangement of words, a hyphen isnecessary to protect the integrity of your brand identity.For example, the IT support community Web siteExperts Exchange wisely used a hyphen in theirdomain name, www.experts-exchange.com. Withoutthe hyphen, the domain name can be interpreted aswww.ExpertSexChange.com. Even minor things likeword arrangement can affect the image of yourbrand.