Success in ecommerce depends mainly on offering the right products or services, at the right price, on a good-looking, user-friendly site. But with countless other webshops trying to grab the customer's attention, you don't want to overlook anything that might give you an edge.
One of the details to consider is your domain name. A good domain name can help people find you on the web. It's also part of your identity and brand image, so it's important to get it right. But what is a 'good' domain name?
A good domain name describes what you do. A name like 'johnsmithwebdesign' helps potential customers to pick you out. And your domain name is one of the things that search engines look at when sorting results into order (after site content, of course). When someone searches for 'watches', a site with a name like 'thewatchshop' will be higher in the results than an otherwise identical site called 'janebrown'. So ask yourself what your customers are most likely to type into a search engine. And consider including that word in your domain name.
Your domain name should also be easy to remember. And it should be spelled the way you'd expect from the way it's said. Lots of people who hear the name 'happydaze' will later type 'happydays' into their browser or search engine and end up on another site.
Don't forget that many people who are looking for a supplier or service provider will be a little nervous about doing business with an unknown company. So reassure them. Go for 'plumbingexperts' or 'qualityflowers' rather than something cold like 'smithandjones'. Quirky names can catch the eye, which is great if you're selling novelties, but not so clever if you're in the insurance industry.
What about the extension for your domain name? (That's the very last part, which comes after the dot.) Extensions come in two main types: country-code extensions (.nl, .de, .uk) and generic extensions (.com, .org). The best type to use depends on your aims. Country-code extensions suggest to people that you are local, speak their language and understand their needs. But, unless your nationality is a selling point, a country-code extension may put off potential customers from abroad. You look less like a big, internationally active organisation.
Nowadays you have a lot of new extensions to choose from too. Many are tailored to niche markets, and say something about the services linked to the name (e.g. .xxx for the sex industry) or about your location (e.g. .london). That can be really useful if you sell specialist goods and services. If you take sight-seers around the famous waterways of the Dutch capital, 'canaltours.amsterdam' may suit you very well. But 'cuthbertsolicitors.ninja' is never going to work.